Orchard Vale Community School

Name Orchard Vale Community School
Website www.ovschool.co.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 02 November 2011
Address Westacott Road, Whiddon Valley, Barnstaple, Devon, EX32 8QY
Phone Number 01271375074
Type Academy
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 347 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 19.4
Academy Sponsor Ventrus Limited
Local Authority Devon
Percentage Free School Meals 10.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 3.7%
Persisitent Absence 7%
Pupils with SEN Support 13.8%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

This is larger than the average-sized primary school. Most pupils live in the local community and are of White British heritage. There are no other groups of significant size in the school. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is below average. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is high, as is the proportion of pupils with a statement of special educational needs. This is because the school has an allocated resource unit for pupils whose needs relate to speech, language and communication learning difficulties. The school provides day care for children from birth to three years of age and after-school care for its pupils through the Arts Play Club. These are run by private organisations and were not part of this inspection. The school has achieved a number of nationally recognised awards, including Healthy Schools status, the Green Flag Award for International Eco-Schools, and the International School Award. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught in the Nursery and in the Reception class. The school converted to academy status on 1 November 2011.

Main findings

This is a good school. As a consequence of the strong leadership and management of the headteacher, significant improvements have been made since the last inspection leading to consistently high attainment and outstanding achievement for pupils at the end of Key Stage 2. These improvements have been recognised by most parents and carers who hold the school in high regard. Several commented, ‘This school has strong leadership’. At the heart of the school’s work are excellent levels of care and support for every child. As a result, there is mutual respect between adults and pupils. The latter say they are extremely happy and feel very safe at Orchard Vale. They behave well and they enjoy school life. Pupils’ well-being is further enhanced by the exceptional effectiveness with which they are encouraged to live healthy lifestyles, recognised in a national award. The school is particularly successful in nurturing the few pupils who have speech, language and communication learning difficulties taught in the resource unit. Pupils contribute exceptionally well to the school and wider community demonstrating their skills as responsible citizens through embracing numerous roles, such as play leaders and fund raisers. They respect one another’s differences extremely well and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Learning is good overall. Children settle quickly into the Early Years Foundation Stage and make satisfactory progress, and pupils continue to do so in Key Stage 1. However, their progress accelerates rapidly and is outstanding in Key Stage 2. Consequently, their attainment in English and mathematics is significantly above average by the time they leave in Year 6. Learning is not outstanding overall because : of some unevenness in progress across the school. This unevenness is the result of the inconsistencies in the quality of teaching and assessment. However, the school is aware of this and has put strategies into place, in particular in Key Stage 1, to accelerate progress in English and in mathematics. These strategies, such as ‘talk partners’ and ‘Talk for Writing’, are beginning to impact positively, especially on the attainment of more-able pupils. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities make good progress. This is as a result of focused additional support. The high-quality individual programmes of work for those with complex speech, language and communication learning difficulties taught in the resource unit similarly result in good progress. Teachers have strong relationships with their classes and plan interesting activities which mostly engage and motivate learners of all abilities. In a few lessons, in both English and mathematics, the match of work to pupils’ abilities is not precise enough, and consequently it is too easy so that progress slows. There is variation in the quality of marking in English and in mathematics throughout the school. Where it is good, pupils are given clear, subject-specific guidance in terms of next steps for improvement. The pursuit of excellence is evident at all levels of the school community and school leaders have high expectations of pupils. They have a clear view of where improvement is needed, based on thorough monitoring and self-evaluation. This has resulted in improvements in many aspects of the school’s work since 2007, including the creation of a stimulating outdoor environment to support learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. The governing body plays a key role in establishing the strategic direction of the school. Consequently, the school has good capacity for sustained improvement.