Combs Ford Primary School


Name Combs Ford Primary School
Website http://www.combsford.schooljotter.com/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 04 July 2011
Address Glemsford Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 2PN
Phone Number 01449613112
Type Primary
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 382 (52% boys 48% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 23.6
Local Authority Suffolk
Percentage Free School Meals 18.9%
Percentage English is Not First Language 4.5%

Information about the school

This is a very large primary school. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is below average. The vast majority of the pupils are White British with very few from other ethnic backgrounds. A very small number speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is broadly average but high in some year groups. The school has a Healthy Schools Award, an Activemark Award, an ECO Schools Gold Award and Napta Good Practice Award for the training provided for non-teaching staff. The governing body runs a breakfast club before school each weekday morning for pupils who arrive by bus. The school is one of a number of local schools currently consulting about their reorganisation.

Main findings

This good school has maintained and improved on many of the strengths identified at its last inspection. The school has a good understanding of its strengths and areas needing some improvement. Its self-evaluation is honest and accurate and based on some very rigorous and thorough assessment. For example, after recognising girls’ mathematical skills needed improving a number of measures were successfully put in place to do so. The school has also dealt successfully with a recent reduction in pupil numbers and some uncertainty over future reorganisation plans. Because of the good self-evaluation, and improvements made, it is clear that the school has a good capacity to improve further in the future. Attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is consistently above average at the end of Year 2, and also when pupils leave the school at the end of Year 4. This is the result of good progress from starting points. The school has developed a very detailed and useful system for tracking pupils’ progress. This is used to highlight any underachievement or slower progress in reading writing or mathematics. The data is used by all staff when planning and in meetings with senior leaders to discuss pupils’ progress. The school has worked hard and successfully to improve boys’ writing using a variety of tactics such as more drama and use of film to inspire them. The latest data shows that the attainment of girls in mathematics and that of boys in writing has improved. The new system for homework in Years 3 and 4 has resulted in pupils being inspired to produce some very high quality research and project work. Good learning is also supported by pupils’ good behaviour and above average attendance. The good learning and progress made by almost all pupils is the result of good teaching. The best lessons are lively and pacey and involve pupils in imaginative and active tasks. Teaching assistants provide good support especially for the less-able pupils. However, in some lessons activities do not challenge and extend the learning of the more-able pupils. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children make good progress to reach often above average attainment. However, the outdoor learning areas are not always used as effectively as the indoor areas to enable children to follow their own interests and imaginations. The good, well-planned curriculum supports good teaching especially through the outstanding partnerships with a range of external agencies, especially those supporting the learning of the pupils whose circumstances make them vulnerable. The school’s excellent care, guidance and support have a very positive impact on those pupils’ learning. This is particularly the case through the use of the nurture room and the excellent support staff provide here. The improved system for marking and feedback is helping pupils to understand what they need to do to improve their work and, hence, it is having a positive impact on achievement. The school is well led and managed at all levels. Senior leaders, headteacher and governing body all have a clear vision and ambition to do the best possible for their pupils. This is reflected in the outstanding care provided and also by the school’s desire to improve further the standards attained and the pupils’ basic skills.