Here is the final report of the Ofsted inspectors following their visit to Cheriton Primary School on 13th and 14th September 2022.
We would urge you to read the whole report before forming a judgement about the grades that the inspector has given the school.
Whilst we all share a sense of disappointment that the school has been assessed as “requiring improvement”, it is clear from the report that there is much to be celebrated in the positives identified by the inspection team. Requires improvement is not a formal category of OFSTED concern. The school is not judged as a failing school. It is a judgement that means the inspection team did not feel the school met the criteria to be judged securely good when they visited.
The inspectors recognised that behaviour and attitudes as well as personal development of the children was “good”. A headline for us is that the school is recognised as having a “culture of kindness.” During the inspection, it was noted by the team how kindness was shown by and between children and staff and is embedded in the culture of the school. The behaviour of our children was exemplary during the inspection and examples of “low level disruption” in classrooms were barely identified. This, coupled with the good attitude they showed to learning in the lessons observed should be celebrated as a key strength of the school. The impact of the Leader in Me programme was recognised in the attitudes and behaviour of the children with one child quoted as saying that the school is a better place because of it.
Three years ago, a senior HMI spent two days carrying out a full Section 8 inspection of the school under the label of a monitoring visit. As a result of this, he judged the school to still be outstanding. The features of the school that he identified as strengths, have continued to blossom since his visit but the changes to the inspection framework has altered the focus of inspections and the expectations for schools.
Work to develop our curriculum began last year and is a work in progress, rather than fully embedded across the school. The completion of this curriculum development work is an important criteria for inspectors to judge a school as being good. It is, in fact, a limiting judgement that outweighs many other aspects evaluated. If the curriculum is not fully developed and embedded across the school and if subject leaders are not able to demonstrate a deep understanding of their subject, then the Quality of Education judgement cannot be “good” or “outstanding” and neither can the Leadership and Management judgement. Our Quality of Early Years Education judgement was also severely impacted upon by this curriculum judgement. We were delighted by the very positive comments the inspectors made about what they had seen in our Early Years classroom which, when you consider that this was only the second and third mornings that these children had been in school, is something to be celebrated. Unfortunately because the precise expectations of the Year 1 curriculum were not fully developed across all subjects, it was decided by the inspectors that the Early Years’ curriculum was not sufficiently tailored to prepare the children for the expectations of Year 1 and so, by default the grading of requires improvement was placed upon our Early Years.
This is how we are addressing the areas for development specifically identified in the report:
• Building on the work begun last year, we are focussed on developing a curriculum which clearly identifies the precise learning which will take place in every subject, at every stage, as children move through the school. This will then inform the assessment process in all subjects. This work has been, and will continue to be supported by members of the Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service where necessary.
• The process of developing the curriculum will provide opportunities for all subject leaders to develop their knowledge of the subject as well as improving their subject leadership skills. We are confident that this work will quickly strengthen our middle leadership.
• Arrangements for recording safeguarding concerns and the actions taken have been made more robust and will be regularly monitored to ensure the highest standards are maintained.
Please find below previous Ofsted reports and relevant information from the Department for Education Performance Tables.