Eatock Primary School in Bolton has been successfully assessed for the third time.
A Gem of a School
Eatock Primary School is a fully inclusive and highly successful school. It is judged as ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted (July 2016). This is a gem of a school and my visit has left me with many lovely memories of a warm, friendly and genuinely happy school with children who are afforded top quality teaching and support that enables them to make remarkable progress. The overriding impression is that teaching and learning is led by the needs of the individual child and it is this clear vision that permeates throughout. Eatock Primary School serves its community exceptionally well.
Inclusion and Equality are Central to the School
The removal of barriers to learning, inclusion and equality are central to the ethos and culture of Eatock School. Staff, governors, parents and children collaborate closely to analyse the needs of individual children and implement highly effective interventions. These interventions are measured for impact. Policies are under continual review by all members of the school community. There is a strong collegiate approach and culture which forms a sound foundation for the outstanding practice and provision which exists in the school.
A Thorough Induction Process
All staff, students and volunteers undergo a detailed and very through induction process. This ensures that all adults within the school work within the agreed policies and there is a high level of consistency of approach. The consistency in the approach and the clarity of the policies and procedures ensures that all staff are excellent role models for the children and ensures high standards and high expectations for what all children can achieve.
Success of All Children
Continuing professional development and training is carefully tailored to the needs of the staff, children and school improvement priorities. Teaching and learning has a high focus on all children accessing the curriculum and a commitment to ensuring the success of all children.
“Wings to Fly”
There can be no doubt that this school lives up to its mission statement of “giving children wings to fly” and strives tirelessly to achieve the vision of children leaving Eatock as “well rounded people who are able to do better than their best”. Great emphasis is placed on British values which are constantly reinforced through the ‘hidden curriculum’ as well as through the SMSC curriculum. I looked at several examples of children’s work, beautifully presented in books and pink folders, covering democracy, extremism, different faiths and much more.
In discussion with children, who were so polite and engaging, they told me that they “are included in everything”, that their “voice is heard and suggestions are listened to” and that everyone is “made to feel welcome”.
A Stimulating School Environment
The school environment is inspiring, highly stimulating and purposeful. It provides a safe secure welcoming space for children to learn. Walking around the school including visiting classrooms, revealed an abundance of beautifully presented displays. There is a ‘Learning Environment’ policy which is carried out to a consistently high standard. Amongst the agreed actions are that there should be at least one piece of every child’s work which reflects the very best of their ability; the school’s mission statement and classroom rules; attractive reading areas; examples of high quality cursive writing. There is also the expectation that there are working walls in each classroom. What impressed me about the working walls at Eatock is that they are literally ‘working’ walls as I saw in several lessons where children were actively working on the wall, rearranging words or numbers as part of their learning. The school offers an excellent broad and balanced curriculum that really excites children and contributes to their enjoyment of learning. It is extremely engaging and is often led by children’s own interests. As a result, children feel greatly valued, especially when whole classroom displays are dedicated to the interests they have shared. One such example was a child’s enjoyment of fishing with his grandad which was used to plan lessons for the week.
Generous Outdoor Space
The school has a generous amount of outdoor space and a wonderful, ‘magical’ woodland which is used every day come rain or shine. Outside in classrooms, under cover, there were neatly stored wellington boots and waterproofs showing evidence of the fun children have had learning in that fabulous outdoor space. During my tour of the woodland, there was a group of children learning how to make fire and roast peppers. Children have the opportunity to learn about many things, such as mini-beasts, measuring angles within the shapes of branches, lying in the long grass to find inspiration for a poem or going on a ‘letters and sounds hunt’.
Enhancing Learning with ICT
There are numerous ICT programmes in school that are used to enhance learning, e.g. Reading eggs, iPad apps such as: Puppet Pals, iMovie, Control and coding games, iBook maker, and Education city. Furthermore, effective use of You Tube and Literacy Shed enhances teaching and learning across the curriculum, particularly in reading, writing, science, geography and history. Every classroom has computers and a class iPad. Children with an EHCP have their own iPad to use in school. Year 6 also have an Apple Mac laptop to provide children the opportunity to use Apple’s operating system and develop their skills using Apple programmes such as Garage Band and iMovie. In addition, there is a shared computer suite, used by all classes and shared use of 16 iPads. This is housed in the well-stocked and attractive library.
Communicating with Parents
Facebook is used by all school staff to provide information about children’s learning as well as to communicate with parents on administration details. The school provides an emailing service to parents sending head teacher newsletters, class newsletters, administration letters and parents’ surveys. The school also offers a texting service with updates on school information such as events and trips.
Teaching assistants across all Key Stages are deployed effectively. TAs and additional adults are moved around and targeted to the classes with children with the most need. TAs and other support staff are well trained, experienced, knowledgeable and highly skilled. TAs and other support staff make a strong contribution to the progress of the children and are involved at all stages of planning, delivery and assessment of learning. Professional development of TAs and other support staff are precisely matched to the needs of the children and deployed according to needs of children. The school is access friendly with each classroom having ramp access and there is also access to a disabled toilet.
A Culture of Respect
I was overwhelmed by the politeness of the children of Eatock. During my tour of the school all children we encountered greeted us appropriately; “good morning” or “good afternoon”. The striking feature however, was the intonation with which this greeting was delivered; it was meant! The genuine respect that children have for staff and visitors is uplifting. I was accompanied on my tour by a year 6 pupil who was asked by the Headteacher to interject where she felt able. The manner in which she did this displayed a maturity beyond her years and she was a fabulous ambassador for her school. I was also accompanied by the Headteacher and IQM coordinator and the respect that they displayed for the children was absolute. It is no accident that a culture of great respect is achieved at this school and it is quite evident that all staff act as excellent role models.
Children are Actively Involved
The excellent promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development means the school is a calm and very considerate environment where children mix happily together. Children are actively involved in the school community, which contributes to developing and promoting the school’s values. There is a very productive atmosphere in the classrooms. Children are encouraged and confident to work without the constant attention of an adult, everyone is attentive and eager to participate in lessons. They see learning as being very important to them, while visibly enjoying their lessons and activities. As a result, children have an excellent attitude to learning. Children’s enjoyment of school is demonstrated by their high level of attendance, currently running above that of other children nationally.
Behaviour was Impeccable
In all the lessons I visited, behaviour was impeccable and there were high levels of engagement and participation. Children were working in different ways, evidence of the astute planning by teachers and TAs and the accomplished delivery of lessons. In two classrooms, I saw evidence of the Pie Corbett approach, ‘Talk4Writing’, which children were clearly enjoying.
Children Spoke Eloquently
I met with a representative group of children who spoke eloquently and confidently about their school. They were clearly very fond of their school and described their teachers and TAs as “joyful and happy”! They also reflected what was becoming blindingly obvious, that in this school everyone is cared for and helped and no one is left to feel alone or isolated. They told me about the clubs, trips and visits that the school organises and the many ways in which rewards and celebration are carried out including the ‘blue jumper’ for children who consistently display the school’s values.
Progress and Attainment Continue to Rise
Over the last three years, progress and attainment percentages have continued to rise. In 2015, the school was placed in the top 10% of schools for progress in English and maths and in 2016 the outcomes for the children placed the school in the top 3% for progress. The school attains above national percentages in maths and English at the end of all Key Stages. In-school data demonstrates a continual rise in attainment because of the very large majority of children making at least good progress or better. The recent results received just days before the visit were once again of very high order and continue the school’s excellent record. Stunning progress is made by the end of KS2 particularly by disadvantaged and SEND groups.
Data Informs Planning
Teachers and leaders check on children’s learning regularly and there are formal assessments and moderation every half term. The assessment systems and analysis of data are forensic, focused upon the individual and which in turn inform planning. The leadership of this aspect of the school’s work is excellent and teachers and TAs use assessment very effectively. The quality of teaching throughout the school is of the highest order and the collaboration between teachers and TAs is a significant factor in this.
Leadership of SEND Provision is Excellent
The leadership of SEND provision is excellent and greatly appreciated by parents. Children perform exceptionally well resulting from extensive screening processes and swift action to put in place appropriate interventions. Examples of outside agencies used to support children and the school include Behaviour Support Service, Ladywood Outreach (ASD & SpLD), Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Educational Psychologist.
Children Involved in Target Setting
Children are involved in their own target setting and are aware of when targets are met. Children add actions to their targets to enable them to learn and there are regular discussions about their targets and why they are important. Books are regularly marked with useful feedback and challenges, WALT and WILF. There is also green pen peer assessment. All books I examined were marked thoroughly, neatly presented and testimony to the high expectations staff and children have.
Teachers Speak Highly of the School’s Leadership
Leaders know their school very well and monitoring standards is a daily occurrence. This has led to consistency and high standards in all aspects of the school. Teachers to whom I spoke were appreciative of the supportive nature of the accountability measures and expressed a shared commitment to excellence. They spoke highly of the leadership of the school. All staff have targets relating to pupil progress, professional development and school need. Staff are aware of the expected outcomes of individual children based on their starting point and making good progress throughout the year and there are clearly defined rates of progress for each year group. The target setting process is very precise. Teachers also told me how pupil voice is sampled regularly through pupil conferencing once per term. There are currently four SLEs.
Parents are Very Positive
Parents are very positive about the school, as Ofsted reported “Parents have nothing but praise for the school”. Parents who came into school to contribute to this assessment told me how the school feels like part of their extended family and how they are welcomed. Two of the parents to whom I spoke described how the school supported the whole family during times of trauma through illness and bereavement.
Governance is Strong
Governance is strong, committed and supportive of the school’s inclusive ethos. Governors have a good range of skills and experience and are able to fulfil their role in holding leaders to account. Governors know the school very well and are involved in all aspects of the school’s development. Governors take the opportunity to participate in relevant training.
A Strong Partnership with Community Groups
There is a strong partnership between the school community and community groups. A Parent Toddler group, Child Minders, and a Karate group are amongst some of the local groups who use the school’s facilities on a regular basis as well as the before and after school Care Club. Children are fully involved in local events where all children are included. For example, the popular choirs singing in Bolton Music Festival. The choirs also perform in the local supermarket, care homes and at Rotary Club functions. Children participate in fund raising events linked to a variety of charities.
The school engages with many other schools and organisations and through SLEs have provided support at many schools. On the day of my visit, the school received notification that they had become the lead school for Schools Direct in the cluster of nine other schools in Bolton & Wigan.
Enriching Children’s Experiences
I was provided with a strategic overview of this year’s trip and visits which included visits to a Hindu Temple, a Mosque, the Manchester Jewish Museum, Halle Orchestra at Bridgewater, The Lowry, Liverpool Slavery Museum, Jodrell Bank and so many more. The school uses the local community and beyond to enrich the experience of its children and does it extremely well. Through Big Lottery Funding, the school is organising “Family Beats!” a project to introduce African drumming to the parents, children and community.
Staff are Dedicated and Hard Working
This is a school that is providing an exceptional experience for its children and their families. All staff are dedicated, work hard and are very skilled at what they do. Outcomes are outstanding and improving. There is a clear sense of warmth and an ethos and culture that ensures that everyone is respected and offered every opportunity to achieve their potential. The school most definitely lives up to its motto of “Giving wings to fly.”
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
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