Howe Park School

Name Howe Park School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 14 February 2011
Address Bowland Drive, Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK4 2SH
Phone Number 01908526294
Type Primary
Age Range 4-7
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Milton Keynes
Percentage Free School Meals 7.5%
Pupils with SEN Support 10.8%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available Yes

Information about the school

Howe Park is a larger-than-average infant school. The school has two Nursery classes which take children from the local area. The majority of children in the Nursery move into the Reception class, while the rest join from other local play groups. The children come from White British families and a wide range of other ethnic backgrounds. Almost a fifth of the pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities, including those with a statement of special educational needs, is below average and represents a range of needs. The school has gained the Healthy Schools accreditation, the Inclusion Mark and the Quality Mark. Over the last two years, there have been many changes to staff, with three new teaching staff appointed from January 2011.

Main findings

This is an outstanding school. Since the last inspection, staff and the governing body have worked hard to maintain the tremendously high levels of care, guidance and support provided for pupils. There is a very strong focus on every aspect of the school’s pastoral care which ensures that pupils and their families are extremely well supported. All staff work effectively to ensure that pupils achieve well in their learning and develop exceptionally as mature and caring individuals. Pupils benefit from very supportive relationships with all staff and display a great deal of enthusiasm for learning. Because of the school’s exceptionally strong focus on its pastoral care, pupils contribute extremely effectively to the school and wider community. This is demonstrated well through their readiness, even from the very youngest age, to be involved in how the school is run. Pupils participate enthusiastically in the school council as well as willingly taking on responsibilities such as ’playground pals’ or simply tidying up in their classrooms. The school has very effectively focused on maintaining good teaching and learning for the pupils throughout a period of staff changes and recent appointments. Senior leaders and the governing body have an exceptionally clear awareness of the school’s effectiveness and look constantly for ways to improve pupils’ attainment and personal development further. For example, there is a strong shared commitment among all staff to raising attainment still further for all pupils. The school has focused very effectively on systematically developing pupils’ writing and has been particularly successful in engaging and encouraging boys to write through the wealth of experiences provided in the curriculum. While this has yet to be seen in the results at the end of Year 2, achievement has risen steadily. This constant striving to reflect on outstanding practice and still look for ways to improve, together with leaders’ accurate self-evaluation and actions to maintain and build upon the high levels of pastoral care seen at the time of the last inspection, show the school has an excellent capacity for further improvement. Pupils’ achievement is good because the school adapts its exceptional curriculum particularly well to ensure that every individual’s needs are met and pupils are thoroughly engaged in their learning. Although there is a small degree of variability between different classes, all groups of pupils make at least good and sometimes better progress from their starting points in the Early Years Foundation Stage to when they leave to join the junior school. All staff know the pupils’ abilities extremely well. This is because of the highly effective checks regularly made on their progress and the considerable skill with which the school adapts and targets the well-focused support it gives individual pupils. Teachers and other adults mark pupils’ work alongside them and discuss the next steps in their learning. However, some inconsistencies remain and, as a result, opportunities are sometimes missed to ensure pupils always have a clear understanding of what they are working on next and how to get better.