Ofsted rules 'vibrant' primary school requires improvement over curriculum concerns

A "vibrant school community" in Bridgwater has been told it requires improvement by Ofsted amid concerns about the curriculum. Kilmersdon Church of England Primary School was rated "Good" for behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and early years provision, but weaknesses were identified in the quality of education as well as leadership and management.

Inspectors began their report positively: "The vision of ‘belong, believe, succeed’ demonstrates the school’s ambition for the pupils of Kilmersdon to do well. The school recognises that there is work to do to improve the curriculum.

"It has taken steps to rapidly improve the early reading curriculum. This is having the desired impact on pupils. Pupils are now reading confidently."

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"However, there is more to do in other subjects. This is to ensure the curriculum is taught as leaders intend so that pupils develop their knowledge well across all subjects."

The report continued: "Pupils' gaps in learning are not always addressed well. This means pupils develop larger gaps in knowledge and they can repeat the same mistakes. The school must ensure that assessment is used well to identify and address any gaps in pupils' learning."

Concerns were also raised about leadership at the school: "In some subjects, leaders have accurate oversight of how well pupils are learning the curriculum. In these subjects, pupils are developing their knowledge well.

"However, in other subjects, leaders do not have a full understanding of how well the curriculum is being implemented. On occasion, there are examples where leaders have an accurate understanding of the development of their subject. However, they have had limited opportunities to address the variability they have found."

Nevertheless, the school was praised in other areas. Pupils were found to have a good sense of belonging: "Pupils develop a strong sense of belonging within this vibrant school community. They play an active role in events, such as creating a lemonade stand to raise money for worthy causes.

"Pupils care for one another and listen attentively to the views of others. They behave well during lessons and at social times. Warm relationships between staff and pupils mean pupils feel safe at school."

Inspectors were particularly impressed by extracurriculars at the Kilmersdon: "Pupils benefit from a range of opportunities to enhance their experiences. For example, they visited Whatley quarry to learn about fossils. Book club, yoga and the songbirds choir are on offer to pupils to broaden their interests. Pupils take part in competitions, for example in cross country and dance".

Pupils were found to be conscientious, caring and well-behaved: "Pupils take their leadership roles seriously. For example, wellbeing ambassadors organised a pyjama and hot chocolate day. Pupils show their care for the environment by litter picking."

The report continued: "Pupils know the ‘golden rules’ well. They rise to these behaviour expectations. Pupils have positive attitudes towards their learning and enjoy school."

Staff at the school were also found to be making strides towards improving attendance: "Although attendance is slightly below national levels, the school analyses reasons for this. Leaders support pupils so their attendance improves."

Kilmersdon Church of England Primary School teaches 142 pupils between four and 11. The school was approached for comment.