Handford Hall Primary School

Name Handford Hall Primary School
Website http://www.handfordhall.suffolk.sch.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 25 November 2010
Address 57 Gatacre Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2LQ
Phone Number 01473251603
Type Academy
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 329 (47% boys 53% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 21.9
Academy Sponsor Orwell Multi Academy Trust
Local Authority Suffolk
Percentage Free School Meals 12.5%
Percentage English is Not First Language 76.6%

Information about the school

Handford Hall is a larger than average urban primary school. It admits mostly White British pupils from the local area. In addition, a very significant proportion arrive from Eastern Europe, and other parts of the world, with little or no understanding of English. Mobility is high, into and out of the school. Minority ethnic groups include those from Bangladesh, some having no written means of communication. There is a small group of Roma pupils. An above average proportion of pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities with a well above average proportion having a statement of special educational needs; speech and language difficulties predominate followed by moderate learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders. A very few pupils are dual registered with other schools, or attend part-time. The school has Healthy Schools status, Silver Eco-School and the International School awards. In September 2010, the deputy headteacher became the acting headteacher.

Main findings

This is a good school, steadfastly focused on raising learning standards and individual pupil outcomes, however diverse the learning needs and ethnic heritages. There is a very strong drive to embed basic skills, empowering pupils with confidence in their learning abilities, so that they make good academic and personal progress. Behaviour and attitudes to learning are good. Pupils’ spiritual and moral development is outstanding in the tolerance and respect they have for each other and for the adults who provide them with outstanding pastoral care and guidance. Parents express their satisfaction with their children’s education by saying, ’I cannot praise the school enough, my daughter really enjoys it here and is making good progress,’ and ’Keep up the good work!’ The acting headteacher is moving the school forward rapidly, well supported by her senior leaders, staff team and the governing body who monitor the school’s performance rigorously. They all share the school’s aim ’Ambition, Believing, Celebrating’ and put this into practice successfully. Attendance is satisfactory with persistent absence reduced, although too many families take term-time holidays which limits their children’s learning. Pupil mobility is high as is the proportion of pupils with English as an additional language. Pupils arrive from many different countries, often at short notice and with little or no knowledge of English. The school is skilled at meeting their needs, using trained teaching assistants with home language skills or partnering with pupils who speak the same language and already fluent in English. If pupils stay at school for more than a few months, the vast majority who start with no knowledge of English make outstanding progress in their speaking and understanding. Fluency in reading, writing and using language in other subjects takes longer. Almost all children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are at a very early stage of learning English and basic skills. Nonetheless, they make good progress especially in their speaking, social and physical development. They move into Year 1 mostly at below average levels in reading and writing but perform better in mathematics. Good progress continues for all pupil groups with Year 6 doing particularly well in the 2010 science sample, with standards at or above those nationally. Writing was slightly behind reading and mathematics. Current standards are broadly average. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities make good progress from their lower starting points. This is due to a well-adapted and flexible curriculum, good teaching and teamwork using well-trained assistants. Despite pupils’ accelerating progress, learning objectives are not always precise enough for different abilities and some lesson activities have no time limits to ’raise the pace’ for pupils. Assessment is good; pupils know their targets and what to do next. However, some pupils find it difficult to work independently and are not always confident to ’have a go’ at new work. Senior leaders closely monitor, evaluate and review the school’s performance, setting targets agreed with staff. The school is committed to increasing the proportions of pupils reaching the higher levels in English and mathematics at the end of Year 6. Previous inspection issues are resolved, standards are broadly average, progress and pupil outcomes are good with some outstanding aspects and leadership and management is good at all levels. The school has good capacity to improve further.