Alder Bridge School

Name Alder Bridge School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Inadequate
Inspection Date 26 February 2019
Address Bridge House, Mill Lane, Padworth, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 4JU
Phone Number 01189714471
Type Independent
Age Range 3-12
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 61 (58% boys 42% girls)
Local Authority West Berkshire
Percentage Free School Meals 0%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0%

Information about this school

Alder Bridge School provides Steiner-based education for pupils aged three to 14. The school is located in Padworth, near Reading in Berkshire. The school consists of Bridge House, which contains the school’s administrative department and kindergarten. The lower school is located in a separate building which is reached by walking through the ample school grounds. The school aims to provide an education that accords with the principles of Rudolf Steiner. This is based on staff, pupils and parents working closely together in establishing a learning community in which pupils’ learning and achievement are developed in tandem with their self-esteem and self-confidence through a strong emphasis on experiential learning. The kindergarten provides early years education for children in Nursery and Reception. The school has an exemption from the literacy, mathematics and assessment aspects of the learning and development requirements of the early years foundation stage. Year 1 pupils are also taught in the kindergarten. In the lower school, there is a separate Class 1 (Year 2), while Classes 2 and 3 (Years 3 and 4), Classes 4 and 5 (Years 5 and 6) and Classes 6 and 7 (Years 7 and 8) are taught in mixed-age classes. The school is led jointly by an education manager and an operations manager. They act as the day-to-day leaders of the school and provide a link between the trustees and the college of teachers. The proprietor is the Alder Bridge Association for Steiner Waldorf Education, which is led by a board of elected trustees. Some trustees have had long associations with the school, and most trustees are current or past parents. The school does not use any alternative provision. The school was last inspected by Ofsted in 2008 and was judged good. Since 2008, the school has been inspected by the Schools Inspection Service (SIS). The last full standard inspection was conducted by SIS in 2017, when the school’s effectiveness was judged as good.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an inadequate school Trustees and leaders have not ensured that all of the independent school standards are met. The curriculum does not take into account pupils’ previous attainment, knowledge, understanding and skills. As a result, pupils make poor progress, especially in English and mathematics. This is particularly true for the oldest pupils in kindergarten. Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is too low. Overall rates of attendance are poor. Teachers do not make effective use of the time available in lessons to help pupils make adequate progress over time. Teaching, especially of early reading, does not take account of pupils’ previous attainment. As a result, pupils, including the most able, make limited progress. Pupils are not taught how to stay safe out of school, for example when using the internet. Older pupils do not receive the impartial careers guidance they are entitled to. The school has the following strengths Changes in the school’s leadership have given the school more structure and professionalism. Current leaders have a determination both to improve the school and to maintain the Steiner ethos and values to which the school adheres. Parents are very happy with the education and care their children receive at Alder Bridge School, especially in early years. Pupils have many positive opportunities to enhance their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. They behave well. Pupils make stronger progress in some areas of the curriculum, such as handwork and modern foreign languages. Children’s social and physical development is effective in early years. Compliance with regulatory requirements The school must take action to meet the requirements of the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 and associated requirements. The details are listed in the full report.