Katherine Semar Infant School


Name Katherine Semar Infant School
Website http://www.katherinesemar.co.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 06 October 2010
Address Ross Close, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB11 4DU
Phone Number 01799521720
Type Academy
Age Range 4-7
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 180 (47% boys 53% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.0
Academy Sponsor Saffron Academy Trust
Percentage Free School Meals 6.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 13.3%

Information about the school

This is a smaller than average infant school. A below average proportion of pupils is known to be eligible for free school meals. Although few in number, there are pupils representing a wide range of different minority ethnic backgrounds, some of whom are at an early stage of learning English. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. There is a privately run nursery sharing the school’s site which is inspected separately. The school has an Activemark award and Investors in People status.

Main findings

This is an outstanding school. Staff have raised standards and improved the provision significantly since the last inspection. The school is successful because the excellent leadership and management provided by the headteacher and senior staff create a climate of continuous improvement and ensure a lack of complacency. Extremely accurate self-evaluation highlights strengths and weaknesses and is used to develop teachers’ skills further. The improvements since the last inspection and the use of self-evaluation to make the provision even better shows the school has an outstanding capacity to improve. Pupils make excellent progress from their starting points and reach high standards in reading, writing, mathematics and science. Children get an excellent start to their school life in the Reception classes where they develop outstanding attitudes towards school. They make progress that is well above that expected. Throughout the school, writing skills, and especially those of the boys, have improved significantly. This is due in part to curricular improvements, such as practical activities that encourage boys to see a purpose for their writing. However, the curriculum provides limited opportunities for pupils to use their knowledge and skills in more creative ways to, for example, solve problems, or to learn about art and music in their own or other cultures, especially those represented in the school. Pupils are extremely happy at the school and, together with their parents and carers, they say how safe they are and how well looked after. Care, guidance and support are excellent. Pupils’ behaviour in school and in the outdoor areas is exceptional even when working without direct adult supervision, and this has a major impact on their learning. The teaching is outstanding and this results in the pupils’ rapid progress. Lessons are very well planned and delivered and teachers are very effectively supported by other staff. The effectiveness of the governing body has improved since the last inspection and governors are now offering good support and challenge to the work of the school. They are aware that their strategy to promote community cohesion, whilst meeting basic requirements, lacks detailed analysis and is patchy in its results. The excellent level of engagement with parents and carers has an outstanding impact on pupils’ learning. Communication between home and school is much improved and parents and carers are more knowledgeable about the curriculum and their children’s work. As one said ’I feel the school aids my child in all the necessary learning activities and I am up-to-date with all of his learning progression.’