Blue Gate Fields Junior School


Name Blue Gate Fields Junior School
Website http://www.bluegatefields-jun.towerhamlets.sch.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 10 June 2009
Address King David Lane, Wapping, London, E1 0EH
Phone Number 02077903616
Type Primary
Age Range 7-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 345 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.5
Local Authority Tower Hamlets
Percentage Free School Meals 29%
Percentage English is Not First Language 98.6%

Information about the school

Blue Gate Fields Junior school is larger than average. Almost all pupils come from Asian or Asian British-Bangladeshi backgrounds. Almost all speak English as an additional language, although less than 10% are at the early stages of learning English. About a quarter of the pupils have learning difficulties and/or disabilities, which is above the national average. About half of these pupils have either moderate or behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. An unusually high number of pupils are recognised as having impaired hearing. Very few pupils leave or join during the school year. Staffing, although stable, represents some challenges and currently four full-time posts are being filled by short-term contracts, which represents about 10% of teaching staff.

Main findings

Blue Gate Fields is an outstanding school in almost every respect. It has sustained a very high level of performance since the previous inspection and academic progress has been consistently outstanding since the last inspection. A key factor to this is the remarkable leadership of the headteacher. She has an exceptional understanding of the local community and parents and pupils hold her in very high regard. They are right to do so. Parents told inspectors that they were ‘extremely happy’, that they received ‘excellent support’ and that this is a ‘brilliant school’ that ‘goes the extra mile’. The school has a wonderfully calm atmosphere that allows children to really learn but also have fun both in and outside of lessons. During the inspection a large group of older children returned from a local football academy, clearly having had a great day. Another younger pupil excitedly told an inspector about a trip outside of the city to the local countryside where it ‘was pitch black and you can see the stars’. A vital element to the school’s continued success is the exceptional work of the home-school liaison team. They work in a highly personalised fashion with families to ensure that any problems affecting them that might create a barrier to the children’s success are overcome. They actively establish long-lasting relationships with families, but also readily respond to requests for assistance. A number of parents told inspectors how appreciative they were of this. Some parents clearly felt that the school had improved their families’ lives immeasurably and that it provided a service that they could always rely on. A particularly noteworthy feature is the way in which the development of language skills is embedded across the school. Opportunities to develop speaking and listening were consistently seen across all subject areas and teachers never seem to miss a chance to ask a question or to interact with pupils. As a result, pupils can express themselves confidently in a range of situations. Writing is a high priority and even the least able produce work that is not only well presented but demonstrates thought and intellectual engagement. The well-resourced library, run by a full-time, highly committed librarian, is central to the school’s successful promotion of reading. Many children take books home not only for themselves but for siblings. To continue this high level of performance the school needs to improve in two areas: governance and the monitoring of academic progress. Governance remains