St. John's

C of E Primary and Nursery School

RE Inspection Report

St John's Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Wombourne Road Swindon

Diocese: Lichfield

Local authority: Staffordshire
Dates of inspection: 13th June 2012
Date of last inspection: 26th September 2007 School’s unique reference number: 124278 Headteacher: Mrs D Calloway
Inspector’s name: Mr A R Gilroy
Inspector's number: 007

School context

St John's is a popular, small rural church primary school situated to the west of Dudley in the West Midlands. Almost all the pupils are from a white British background and a significant number come from outside the school's official catchment area. The number entitled to free school meals around the national average, whilst the number of pupils with identified special needs is above. The nursery has become part of the school since the last inspection. The headteacher took up her position two years ago.

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of St John's Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School as a Church of England school are good

St John's is a good church school where excellent relationships are founded on explicitly Christian values. 'Play, Pray, Prosper,' is the school motto which clearly articulates the vision and motivation of the leadership and is demonstrated by its impact on the pupils, who are keen to do well in school. It is a welcoming, Christian community which endeavours to offer its pupils the best opportunity to grow and develop through the formative years of their education.

Established strengths

The headteacher, staff and governors have a clear, shared vision.
Everyone is valued, nurtured and challenged to do their best.
The Christian ethos, which is having a good impact on the learners who greatly enjoy participating fully in the life of the school.

Focus for development

Involve stakeholders in regularly monitoring the impact of collective worship on the pupils so as to inform future planning.
Develop the planning for collective worship to include regular Biblical teachings.

The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners

The polite, pupils enjoy attending this church school because it is good at meeting their needs. Pupils are very proud of their school and its links with the church. Pupils work and play together very well across the age range both in school and on the playground, showing excellent behaviour. This is directly as a result of the Christian values of love, respect, care and forgiveness which are core to all that the school does. These values nurture and challenge the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of the pupils. They are also ambitious with high expectations for their future lives as adults living and working in the community. There is a relaxed, orderly atmosphere around and within the school building. The pupils have good motivation to do their best, and an enthusiasm for learning which is due to the excellent relationship that they have with their teachers. They say that their teachers are kind and

helpful, that they provide interesting work and that they listen carefully to them and deal with any problems really well. There is a school council which provides the pupils with an opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the school's decision making processes. The pupils involved enjoy the responsibility and feel that they are making a significant contribution to school life. This council regularly identifies the focus for school fundraising for a range of causes and enables their peers to take the lead in the work. The school’s Christian distinctiveness is well supported by symbols and displays around the school. There are focused display and reflective areas in each class area, which highlight the importance of the status of the school as a church school. The school endeavours to cater for the whole child by providing extra curricular activities and clubs. Parents speak highly of the school, the care and concern shown to their children and the very professional way in which staff work. They say that any behavioural issues are dealt with 'speedily and with insight and an understanding of the needs of their children.'

The impact of collective worship on the school community is good

Worshipping together is important in the life of St John's and is enjoyed by the pupils who value being together to hear stories and talk about Jesus.. As one boy said, 'We Know God made us and that he will care for us and be kind to us'. During the collective worship observed during the inspection and led by a class, the vast majority of pupils engaged very well, listening carefully, singing with great enthusiasm, participating appropriately and responsively in prayer. Spiritual development is good and many of the older pupils are developing the skills to discuss and consider the deeper aspects of a personal faith. The planning for worship is effective, covering a wide range of appropriate topics and the presentation of worship is carefully monitored by parents and staff.

Planning and monitoring of worship is an area that the school has identified for further development. Currently the foundation governors do not monitor the impact of worship on the pupils. Pupils celebrate the major Christian festivals in the parish church, with visits taking place at least monthly. The vicar is in school every Friday, taking worship and being involved in the life of the school. . Such actions have helped develop the pupils knowledge of a number of Anglican traditions and rituals. In addition, Christian symbols and artifacts support the teaching of Christianity. Pupils know and regularly say the Lord's Prayer. Pupils have identified the important issues that Christians should pray about and have written their own prayers which focus on these issues. These prayers are normally displayed and accessed from the prayer tree on display in the hall. In addition to the morning collective worship, pupils say grace before lunch and class prayers are said at the end of the day. These actions demonstrate the school's strong commitment to developing the pupils understanding of prayer and its purpose in daily life.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is good

The Christian vision of the leadership has a very good impact on the personal, spiritual and academic progress of pupils. This vision is clearly documented and displayed through the school. The school's ethos strongly influences the pupils attitudes which results in a calm, focused working environment where good teaching and learning can take place. Exemplary relationships throughout the school demonstrate the key role that Christian values play in the community. Everyone feels valued and almost all model the school ethos. There is a real sense of togetherness in the school, where everyone works hard to ensure the pupils reach their potential, equipping them with skills for life. All are clear about the importance of the Christian vision of this church school. There are several pupils with identified needs and good provision is made for them so that they can take a full part in school life. The headteacher has rightly identified significant areas for focus and has instigated a number of changes, including the developing relationship with the clergy and the parish. There are now several pupils from the school in the church choir. The school also has links with the local United Reformed chapel and the minister takes collective worship on occasion. Governors are conscientious and are developing their skills to challenge the school, as well as giving time, encouragement and support in all aspects of school life. The school has links with a city school and the classes from each school regularly visit one another. These actions are helping the pupils to develop a good understanding of their place in the world so developing community cohesion beyond the local to the national perspective. Parents say that are very pleased with the school as a church school and that they like the developments that have taken place over the past couple of years. A significant factor when they choosing the school for their children was 'the friendly family atmosphere where everyone knows your child and looks out for them'. Parents feel welcome in school and enjoy attending special events and are properly involved in the day to day activities -' Adults like to be here too!' The school has good relationship with the local secondary schools enabling effective liaison for the oldest pupils. The good relationship with the diocese, since the last inspection, has led to support to ensure the Christian distinctiveness of this school is secure.