Oakhurst Community First School


Name Oakhurst Community First School
Website http://www.oakhurstfirst.com/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 11 October 2011
Address Shaftesbury Road, West Moors, Ferndown, Dorset, BH22 0DY
Phone Number 01202871577
Type Academy
Age Range 5-9
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Number of Pupils per Teacher 27.4
Academy Sponsor The Heath Academy Trust
Local Authority Dorset
Percentage Free School Meals 18.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 5%

Information about the school

This smaller than average sized school serves its local area on the outskirts of Ferndown. Almost all pupils are of White British heritage, with a small number who are of Gypsy/Roma heritage. Only a very few speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is rising and is a little above the national average. An above average percentage of pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities; these include behaviour, moderate learning, and speech, language and communication difficulties. Children, including those in the Reception year, are taught in single age group classes. The school has gained several awards including UNICEF Rights Respecting School and the International School awards. A number of governors joined the governing body this term and the Chair of the Governing Body was very recently elected.

Main findings

Oakhurst is a good school. Good leadership and management have promoted significant improvements in the education provided since the school’s last inspection. Pupils’ progress has accelerated and is now good overall and, as a result, attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is now above average at the end of Year 2 and at the end of Year 4. Outstanding care and guidance enable all pupils to be fully supported and this has a particular impact on ensuring that all groups of pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, make good progress. Careful tracking of the progress of each individual is linked with well-planned interventions to successfully promote this. Although boys in the school make good progress overall, school data show that, in some year groups, the progress made by girls is greater than that made by boys and this is an issue that the school is rightly seeking to address. Outstanding, highly effective leadership by the headteacher has provided the school community with the vision, energy and drive to make a wide range of improvements. School self-evaluation is detailed and accurate. The shared commitment to making further improvements, together with the track record of success, shows that the school has good capacity to sustain improvement. The pupils like school. They talk enthusiastically about their work, being particularly positive about exciting days, often at the beginning of a topic, when they undertake activities such as solving the crime of who stole their teacher’s surf board! The school has spent time and effort on developing a curriculum that successfully enables pupils to develop skills systematically in a wide range of subjects. Thought has been given to ways that the progress of all pupils, but particularly that of boys, can be best promoted. Teachers take care to plan interesting and relevant activities in lessons. In the main pupils respond well and are keen to work at these activities, both individually and in partnership with others. In some lessons, the balance of pupil activity and teacher talk is not helpful in promoting good progress as occasionally too much time is given to explanations rather than learning. Boys in particular are affected by this and occasionally a small minority do not listen attentively to their teachers when requested. Although they do not misbehave, this lack of attention slows their progress. Overall behaviour is good. Pupils are well behaved around the school and play a good part in promoting the good behaviour of others. Their contribution to the school and wider community is exceptional. Through activities such as accompanying governors when they are checking safeguarding arrangements, or through monitoring politeness in their own and linked local first schools, they gain a real sense of the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a community. This is further developed through the way they are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their own learning. Very successful development of assessment means that pupils are always sure what they will be learning in a lesson and how they will recognise success. Marking, particularly in English, is precise in showing pupils where they have been successful and where they could have improved their work. The development of systems to include staff, governors and pupils in evaluating the work of the school has strengthened leadership and had significant, positive impact on school self-evaluation and improvement. Although the development of this team remains as work in progress, the number of people involved has allowed the school to improve on many fronts over the last three years. Safeguarding and the support of individual pupils are very well promoted by very good links with parents and carers. In many ways, the information provided for parents and carers is strong. However, although they are given information at the beginning of each half term about what will be taught, this is not frequent enough to be specific in telling them how they could help and encourage their children at home. The school has forged very strong partnerships with others that have had impact in promoting both the outstanding way in which the school safeguards its pupils and in extending the curriculum in a way that otherwise could not have been afforded. Links with the local group of schools have enabled this and been instrumental in raising the quality of teaching and learning through shared professional development.