Full Ofsted report for school where pupils 'come happily each day'

Hartsbourne Primary pupils celebrate the result with headteacher Danni Harte. <i>(Image: Hartsbourne Primary School)</i>
Hartsbourne Primary pupils celebrate the result with headteacher Danni Harte. (Image: Hartsbourne Primary School)

The full Ofsted report for a Bushey primary school has described how pupils “come to school happily each day”.

Hartsbourne Primary School in Hartsbourne Road has kept its ‘good’ rating after its latest inspection outcome was published on May 10.

Headteacher Danni Harte said she and the staff were “very pleased” with the result which highlighted many positive points for the school. Check out the full Ofsted report below.

Watford Observer: Headteacher Danni Harte celebrates the result with Hartsbourne pupils.
Watford Observer: Headteacher Danni Harte celebrates the result with Hartsbourne pupils.

Headteacher Danni Harte celebrates the result with Hartsbourne pupils. (Image: Hartsbourne Primary School)

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at Hartsbourne Primary School get a well-rounded education. Adults are ambitious for them. Pupils achieve well, especially in mathematics and reading. They enjoy a multitude of experiences that support their well-being, expand their horizons and teach them new talents and skills. These include spending time with the school’s therapy dog and exchanging letters with children in Sri Lanka. Pupils loved building a puppet theatre where they staged a show, using the puppets they made.

Pupils come to school happily each day. They make the most of the school’s extensive outdoor environment. Pupils build fires, climb trees and learn about fungi in the forest area. In Reception, children hunt for bugs and set up a ‘bug museum’ to display their discoveries.

Classrooms are calm learning spaces. Pupils behave well in all areas of the school due to consistently high expectations from adults, clear boundaries and well established  routines. A range of achievement awards motivate pupils to do their best and aim high.

Strong relationships are at the heart of the school. From the moment children join in Reception, they build warm, trusting bonds with adults and with each other. These relationships continue to grow as pupils move through the school.

What does the school do well?

Curriculum:

Since the last inspection, the school has ensured that curriculum development has moved at pace. The curriculum now reflects the school’s ambitious vision for pupils to achieve well in all subjects. It sets out clearly the key content that pupils will learn and the sequence of learning, from Reception to Year 6. The curriculum ensures that pupils grow their knowledge incrementally. Each lesson builds on the last. In Reception, the curriculum is carefully designed to prepare children for learning they will encounter in key stage one.

Teaching:

The school has developed a consistent approach to the structure of lessons, teaching strategies and the way teachers use assessment. In lessons, teachers regularly check pupils’ understanding and address misconceptions. At the end of a unit of work, teachers assess how well pupils have learned the key knowledge. If adjustments to what is taught are needed, these are made swiftly.

In lessons, pupils use what they already know to access new learning. In geography, for example, Year 3 pupils use their knowledge of symbols to identify local landmarks on a map of Bushey Heath, before going on a field trip. This leads to pupils developing a secure understanding of what is taught. Sometimes, teachers do not always make the best use of learning time, or spot opportunities to move pupils’ learning on as well as they might. Where this happens, some pupils do not fully meet the challenge of the curriculum.

Reading:

Reading is prioritised and the school has invested in its stock of books. This ensures that pupils read high-quality texts, many of which promote inclusivity. Pupils have a rich and varied reading diet. They talk enthusiastically about their reading preferences. In early years and Year 1, expert phonics teaching ensures that most pupils are fluent readers by the end of key stage one. Any pupils who struggle with phonics get the help they need quickly.

SEND pupil support:

The school’s system for identifying the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is robust. Provision for these pupils is clearly set out in their support plans. Teachers are skilled at adapting tasks so that pupils with SEND can achieve the aims of the curriculum. The school’s programme of personal development is exceptionally well thought-out. A series of educational trips and visitors into school are deliberately planned to enrich pupils’ learning and life experiences. High-quality assemblies give pupils a mature understanding of British values such as democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. The school’s strong determination to support pupils’ mental health helps to address the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Behaviour:

Attendance is high. The school takes a supportive and creative approach to promoting positive attendance. Themed days get each term off to a flying start, enticing pupils into school. For example, pupils love ‘Bounce into learning’ day, complete with trampolines, in the autumn term.

Staff and leadership

Senior leaders are highly reflective. They have a shared vision and clear understanding of the school’s priorities for continued improvement. Governors and trustees have strengthened the systems for understanding and checking the school’s work. They provide support and challenge to leaders on their progress towards the priorities. The range of expertise among governors and trustees means they are well placed to do this. The trust provides staff with training and networking opportunities. Staff value these, as well as the strong sense of community at the school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

Teachers do not always make the best use of learning time to address the needs of all pupils. Sometimes, opportunities to move pupils’ learning on are missed. This means that pupils do not progress as well as they might. The school should ensure that all teachers structure learning time in the most effective manner so that all pupils’ progress is maximised.