Cove Infant School - Ofsted report September 2021
Letter sent to Parents / Carers on 3rd November 2021, along with the final report:
Dear Parents / Carers,
Please find below a copy of our Ofsted Report, from our inspection on 14th and 15th September 2021. The inspection was rigorous and forensic, with the inspectors grading the school as Requires Improvement. Whilst this is not a category of concern for Ofsted, we are disappointed with their decision. There were elements from the draft report which we asked to be reviewed, which has led to a slight delay in the final report being published.
However, the report reads extremely positively and we know that you will feel the same when you read it. There were many, many strengths identified by the inspectors during their visit – not all of their observations can be included in the report but some of the quotes we noted down, which were made in addition to those in the report, included:
- There is a warm culture and good relationships. You are welcomed with warm smiles!
- The children adore their teachers; they beam when they talk about them!
- The curriculum is carefully structured and planned, leading to the children gaining composite, integrated knowledge over their time here. There is joined up thinking with the curriculum in Early Years and Key Stage 1, which builds solid foundations for all.
- Teachers have a strong subject knowledge and understand the learning needs of children. They understand progression well and adapt planning for children’s needs
- The children show great disciplinary thinking and knowledge – for example, the children knew about being a historian and possible sources of evidence that they could collect. This is built upon year on year.
- In Maths, there was a strong understanding of sequencing and there is strong curricular thinking in this subject.
- The Early Years Leader is so attuned to Special Educational Needs and the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Coordinator (SENDCo) collects evidence early on in the children’s time here, showing that there is a quick and efficient process in place. Records are diligent. Speech and language support is provided from skilled professionals.
- Remote education was tracked carefully during the partial Covid – 19 closures.
- Children are focused and motivated to contribute. They ask questions, speak politely and have good relationships with one another and staff.
- There is a strong sense of routine within the classroom and in all areas around school.
- Children are playing respectfully and are actively involved. Where there is a need, leaders help and support children with their behaviour, including seeking relevant external support as required.
- Early Years is a mirror of the rest of the school – “it is a powerhouse”.
- Leaders are putting in place relevant training and want to move the school forward, however this has been hampered by Covid.
- Safeguarding is effective. Records are diligent and clearly show rapid actions taking place with leaders acting on concerns appropriately,
Another real strength was our pupils - the inspection team were full of praise for them! This was no surprise to us as we see what our fabulous students can do every day and I would like to thank them for being their usual, amazing selves with the inspectors. May I also take this opportunity to also thank all parents and carers who contributed to Parent View, the online Ofsted survey. The results were overwhelmingly positive and raised no concerns with the inspectors.
The two areas for development identified by Ofsted are Phonics / Early Reading, and Governance. Due to us having already identified these as areas for development, and as such, having plans in place ready to implement we have been able to act quickly as outlined in my ‘Refection on the term so far’ letter of 5th October, which can be accessed below.
We look forward to sharing some of the changes with you around Phonics / Early Reading during our Reading Launch this Friday 5th November at 9.30am (and repeated at 6pm on Thursday 11th November.) I would like to express that the judgements for Quality of Education & Early Years provision are purely based on the development of Phonics / Early Reading. No other concerns were found in these areas.
For many schools, appointing Governors has been a challenge and this has been no different for our school. Following the resignation of a number of our longstanding governors prior to and during the Covid Pandemic we have been fortunate to appoint new governors to fill some of these vacancies. However, as a result this has meant that at the time of the inspection our governors were very new to role and had not yet had the opportunities to embark on the full requirement of their training programme. Alongside this, Covid restrictions meant that school visits for Governors had not been able to be carried out face to face, which for a new governing body made it very hard for their role to have an impact on the workings of the school leading to the overall result for Leadership & Management. You will hear more from our Governors as they build relationships with the children and yourselves as parents / carers, allowing them to become a strong, active and informed Governing Body.
Finally, I would like to thank my wonderful staff team. Understandably, given the two years of disruption from Covid -19 that we have experienced since I have been in post, the timing of the inspection 7 school days into term was rather frustrating, however as always they shone with enthusiasm and professionalism. We are looking forward to our journey of improvement and know that we can rapidly make the changes required to allow for us to be once again recognised as the incredible school that we know we are.
The report will be available on our website from today, 3rd November, and on the Ofsted website from approximately 10th November 2021. It has also been sent out with this letter.
I hope that you, as parents of the school who see first-hand the learning that we are providing to your children on a daily basis, know that Cove Infant School is a wonderful school for your children to learn at and that you are reassured by the positivity of the report.
Mrs Natasha Vass