Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware we were recently inspected by Ofsted. The inspection took place a few weeks into the new academic year. Our children and staff proudly demonstrated as much of what we have to offer as they possibly could in the limited time given. Overall, the school was judged as ‘Requires Improvement’, with ‘Good’ judgements in behaviour and attitudes and personal development. Although it is disappointing not to have had a ‘Good’ judgement overall, we are mindful of the fact that this inspection comes under a new, more rigorous framework and after an extended and challenging time of school closures.
Anyone who has ever visited Buckland St Mary C of E Primary School would agree that it is one of the most wonderful places in Somerset, and that the warm welcome and positive energy that the school gives out is what makes it so.
As always our children’s behaviour and attitudes towards their peers and their learning were a strength. The children talked with pride, confidence and passion about their school and the strong sense of place that they have in their village community.
Making sure that the children feel safe and that their needs are met is always our priority. Our Early Years setting creates a nurturing, engaging and loving environment that is constantly adapting to meet the social, emotional and educational needs of our children. In light of the current circumstances and the missed opportunities for this group of children to socialise in nursery and pre school settings over the last 18 months, our highly skilled staff planned a more graduated approach to formalised lessons and we took steps to meet the needs of each pupil using teaching strategies focussed on nurture first. Inspectors have a specific lens through which they observe and comment. They were not able to see the benefits of our approach due to the very early stage of the year that we were inspected. We do see the benefits of this. Our children are settled and now much better placed to learn due to our approach and consequently we are now seeing higher levels of engagement from all the children and they arrive each day ready to learn.
Over the past few years the school has been engaged in crafting and improving its curriculum. Unfortunately the the global pandemic and school closures slowed the rate at which we were doing this. This process has involved professional development and research that has enabled the staff to redesign a curriculum that offers a deeper understanding of each subject and allows the children to know more and retain more. The teaching of the core subjects of English, Reading (including Phonics) and Maths continue to be strengths and the training and support given to new members of staff to ensure seamless transition where noted by the inspection team.
Our existing wider curriculum also has many strengths but we continue to refine and improve it. All the areas mentioned in the report that were not yet where we would want them to be, had already been identified and work was underway to address them. For example:
- The school has already implemented a new scheme of work for Computing which began in September. And is already impacting positive on pupils knowledge and understanding
- We are developing a robust assessment process that will align with the redesigned curriculum.
- We have implemented a new 2 year rolling programme of study for both History and Geography This is already making a positive impact but will take a bit longer to be fully embedded
Our whole timetable of continued improvement was slowed due to the already mentioned current events.
We are very proud of all the children and staff who have worked tirelessly to keep education and wellbeing at the forefront of what we do. The school continues to be a beacon of light to support the children, their families and the wider community.