|Name||George Street Primary School|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Good|
|Inspection Date||08 February 2011|
|Address||George Street, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 5HJ|
|Religious Character||Does Not Apply|
|Number of Pupils||232 (54% boys 46% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||21.7|
|Percentage Free School Meals||12.8%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||15.1%|
Information about the school
This is an average-sized primary school with a higher than average proportion of pupils who are known to be eligible for free school meals. The very large majority of pupils are White British. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average while the proportion of those who speak English as an additional language is average. Very few are at the early stages of learning English. The school holds Healthy Schools status and the Activemark award. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught in the Nursery and the Reception classes.
This is a good school and has improved significantly since the last inspection. Since September 2008, the school has worked closely with the local authority to provide an accurate evaluation of its effectiveness and to implement several strategies to raise standards of achievement, with particular focus on teaching and learning. Recent reviews of the school’s performance by the local authority and the tracking of pupils’ progress show that this work is bearing fruit and inspection findings concur with this view. The school has good capacity to make further improvement. Parents and carers recognise the school’s hard work in its commitment to improving the quality of education and this is reflected in their comments. One stated, ’There has clearly been an improvement over the past two years and the school is much better now than it was a couple of years ago.’ The school is a harmonious community. Pupils behave well, develop good personal and social skills and grow up as confident learners. Staff work efficiently in close liaison with parents and carers, engaging them successfully with their children’s learning and the school’s work. One parent wrote, ’We really enjoy the "shared learning sessions" where we come in and join in a lesson with our children. It is great seeing the variety of ways in which our children are learning.’ A strength of the school is the extent to which leaders, teachers and support staff work in close liaison with outside agencies to support all pupils, including those whose circumstances make them vulnerable. Children enter the Nursery with skills and experiences that are well below those expected for their age and make good progress during their time in the Early Years Foundation Stage. By the time they leave in Year 6, pupils’ attainment is broadly average. Progress has accelerated over the past two years, particularly in reading and mathematics, as a result of the school’s strong focus on raising standards of achievement in these two areas, and standards are beginning to rise. Achievement in writing has not been as good. However, writing has been prioritised for the current year and is already showing an improving trend. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and those who speak English as an additional language also are making equally good progress. Members of staff have good relationships with pupils and have high expectations of their behaviour and work. They engage pupils well in paired and whole-class discussions that support their learning well. The most effective teachers are clear about what they want the pupils to learn and how this will be achieved. Teachers assess pupils’ progress during lessons well through skilful questioning. They mark pupils’ work regularly and ensure that they know how to improve. In the main, assessment is used effectively to plan lessons and match tasks to pupils’ different abilities. Occasionally, tasks in lessons are not sufficiently challenging to extend the higher attaining pupils. As a result, these pupils do not always achieve as well as they can. The expertise, ambition and focus provided by the leadership team have ensured rapid improvement in key areas, including the quality of teaching and the implementation of a good assessment system. Senior leaders’ self-evaluation is analytical and accurate and this successfully informs the school’s priorities for improvement planning. Leadership at other levels is less well developed. The monitoring and evaluation roles of the middle leaders, including the subject leaders, are not sufficiently developed. The leadership team has prioritised this area for development and has begun to address this issue. The governors have a very clear understanding of the school’s performance and provide good support and sufficient challenge to the school.