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Thank you for taking the time to come to this page and find out more about our school.

I have included the main body of the report below and also a link to the full report.

Beyond those sections I have also included some of my thoughts about areas for improvement that were identified by Ofsted and other observations that they made.

As a school team, we continue to be committed to ensuring that Wateringbury can continue to provide a nurturing and responsive learning environment that cares about individuals and sets them up, emotionally, socially and academically, for the next steps in their lives.

Debbie Johnson – Headteacher

Information About This Inspection

The inspectors carried out this graded inspection under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Inspection dates: 7th and 8th March 2023

  • This was the first routine inspection the school received since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Inspectors discussed the impact of the pandemic with leaders and have taken that into account in their evaluation of the school. 
  • Inspectors met with the headteacher, senior leaders, governors and a local authority representative.  They met with a range of teaching staff, support staff and pupils.
  • Inspectors carried out deep dives into these subjects: reading, mathematics, science and physical education. For each deep dive, inspectors discussed the curriculum with subject leaders, visited a sample of lessons, spoke to teachers, spoke to some pupils about their learning and looked at samples of pupils’ work. They also met with the subject leader for computing and design and technology.
  • Inspectors evaluated the effectiveness of the safeguarding arrangements in the school by speaking with leaders, staff and pupils. They reviewed safeguarding records and the school’s single central record.
  • The views of parents were taken into account by undertaking an online survey and speaking with parents at the start of the school day. 
  • The views of staff were considered through a staff survey and meetings.
  • Inspectors spoke to pupils formally and informally in lessons, small groups and on the playground.


What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy attending this calm and orderly school. They feel safe and quickly develop respectful relationships with staff and with other pupils because staff make expectations about behaviour very clear. In lessons, pupils show positive attitudes to their learning and are proud of their work.

The school’s values weave through every aspect of school life and are important to pupils. Pupils are proud to show tolerance and respect for others. They strive to make sure that everyone is included in activities. They enjoy learning about different cultures and places. They talk with enthusiasm about the books they have read and discussed that have helped them to develop this knowledge.

Bullying is rare in the school, and pupils say that they would speak to adults in the school if it happened. They trust adults to listen to them and to take their concerns seriously.

Though pupils enjoy lessons, not all are learning as well as they could. Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), can struggle because they are sometimes given work that does not match what they can do and what they need to learn next. 

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders are ambitious for pupils and have recently developed a new curriculum to make sure that pupils learn important knowledge and skills to prepare them well for life. In some subjects, this curriculum is still at an early stage of development. In these subjects, teachers are not clear about what knowledge pupils need to learn. Additionally, teachers do not check well enough what pupils can do and what knowledge they remember. This hinders pupils’ learning because it means that activities are not closely matched to what they need to learn next. 

Leaders are keen for pupils with SEND to follow the same curriculum as their peers. Teachers mostly reshape activities to support pupils to access this learning.  However, pupils do not routinely get the precise support they need in all lessons. This means that, sometimes, they cannot achieve what their teachers intend for them.

Children experience a positive start to their school life in early years. This is because leaders have carefully designed the early years curriculum. Staff successfully create a love of learning. They know the children well and match learning activities to their needs effectively. Staff make sure that children have the knowledge they need to be ready for Year 1.

Leaders prioritise the teaching of reading so that children learn to be confident and fluent readers from Reception. Leaders have made sure that extra support is given to pupils who struggle to read well. However, they have not made sure that all staff who listen to children read know what specific support each pupil needs. This means adults do not go back to revisit and recap these gaps in learning to help pupils become fluent readers.

From Reception onwards, pupils follow the well-established routines in the classrooms and around the school. There is a calm and orderly atmosphere, which pupils and staff recognise as being typical of the school. In the early years, this makes it easy for children to select learning activities and to cooperate with each other through play.

Leaders support pupils to develop their talents and interests through the wide variety of extra-curricular activities. The variety of clubs encourages pupils to be active, thoughtful and creative. The comprehensive trips and visits programme provides pupils with opportunities to enjoy and appreciate art, music and the benefits of being outdoors. 

Pupils enjoy leadership roles within the school. These include the ‘positivity prefects’, which has been set up by pupils to recognise kindness by other pupils, and ‘leading lights’ who are the ‘spiritual leaders for their class’, involved with planning and delivering worship for other pupils.

Leaders and governors have high ambition for the school. They have identified where the curriculum needs to improve and have put processes in place to address this. Parents and carers believe that the school is improving and speak highly about the work of the headteacher and the care shown by all staff for their children.

Governors have an accurate view of the school. They use information from school leaders, external adviser reports and visits to the school to check this. They hold leaders to account and support them well, where needed. Staff at the school are positive about the work of leaders. They recognise that leaders are mindful of staff’s workload and care about their well-being. As a result, staff enjoy working at the school and are proud to do so.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have embedded a culture of vigilance to make sure that staff know how to identify and report concerns about pupils’ welfare and safety. Robust systems are in place for staff to report worries. Leaders take prompt action to work with other organisations to provide support for pupils and their families, where needed.  

Recently, new staff have been appointed to provide additional support. These staff build positive relationships with parents.  This is beginning to have an impact on improving the attendance of some pupils where it is low.

Our full report can be read here on the Ofsted website


My thoughts about the report

Whilst I am disappointed by the overall grade outcome, I am pleased that the vast majority of the report is positive. The words of the report generally represent where our school is on its journey and also the things that the school do well. I am particularly pleased that the inspectors quickly identified our nurturing, respectful culture and that pupils feel safe. Additionally, the report highlights the strengths of our early years provision. 

Ofsted recognised the areas we had already identified on our school improvement plan and the progress we are making in these areas. 

It is true to say that the new framework does not compare ‘like for like’ with the old framework and, although this may feel like a drop in grading, Ofsted would ask that you look at the content of the report and not the headline judgements in isolation.

I am, however, going to comment here on a couple of the observations such that I might respond to some concerns, that may arise from the report, as I wish to maintain your faith, confidence and support in myself, in the school and in our devoted and capable team. We are committed to rapidly turning around our current rating and, working alongside the local authority and the diocese, we will continue to build on our very strong foundations as we further embed our inclusive practice and develop our wider curriculum. 

Ofsted said:

The main knowledge that leaders want pupils to learn and remember is not coherently planned and ordered from Year 1 onwards. Leaders should ensure that curriculum planning allows staff to know how to build up pupils’ knowledge and skills so that learning builds in a systematic way.

What we are already doing:

(but the impact was not seen or was not embedded or consistent enough)

Over the past year or so, we have completely redesigned our curriculum so that it is relevant for the children in our school as well as being linked to our school’s Christian values and vision.  

We have brought in some well-respected, published curriculum schemes to support staff workload while we are personalising are own curriculum. This year was the first year of trialling them so that we could see what works for our school and how we can adapt the schemes to meet the needs of all our pupils. We had not completed that process in all subjects when Ofsted came so they could not say we were meeting all the criteria for ‘good’ in all subjects.

Some of what we propose to do:

It was already in our school plan to review and finalise our provision documents at the end of this academic year so that progression of knowledge and skills is clear in each subject. This will mean that they learning is clear and systematic for pupils, parents and teachers. 

Ofsted said:

Assessment information is not used consistently to identify gaps in pupils’ learning. This means that teachers cannot plan next steps in learning nor plan to recap and review gaps in pupils’ knowledge. This hampers pupils’ progress across the planned curriculum. Leaders should ensure that teachers know how to identify precisely what pupils know and can remember and adapt learning activities accordingly.

What we are already doing:

(but the impact was not seen or was not embedded or consistent enough)

We have robust and accurate systems for assessing and planning for pupils’ knowledge in our core subjects (maths, English, science and RE). Whilst Ofsted acknowledged this in the feedback on our visit, it is not reflected in the short, written report. We acknowledge that this practice is not so developed in some of the foundation subjects that Ofsted looked at, but, again, there were plans in place to ensure that robust assessment was in place in all subjects. 

Some of what we propose to do:

Using our milestones for each subject we are creating clear expectations for every subject for each phase of a pupil’s learning. We will also be developing strategies for assessing knowledge over time, not just in the short term. 

Our current assessment system is adaptable enough to incorporate all subjects but we are looking at online alternatives with a view to reducing teacher workload.

Ofsted said:

Sometimes, staff do not adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils with SEND. Consequently, this group of pupils are not learning as well as they could. Leaders should ensure that all staff have the knowledge to meet the needs of all pupils and do so as part of their routine processes.

What we are already doing:

(but the impact was not seen or was not embedded or consistent enough)

We have worked hard over the past 12-18 months to develop the inclusive practice at our school which is now streets ahead of where we were. All staff have had significant amounts of training on how to adapt teaching and learning to meet the needs of all pupils in the classroom. 

The inspection team, in a feedback session, recognised the work that had been done and commented that that 'this school is inclusive - absolutely'. They also said that in most of the classrooms, teachers were so adept at adapting their teaching that it was hard to recognise which pupils had SEND as all pupils were engaged and working independently. There were one or two occasions where they saw pupils having to ask for help (which they were given) in order to be able to access the same learning as their peers which meant they could not say that all work was adapted to allow pupils to work independently. 

They could see that the implementation and ambition was there for our SEND pupils but that there was not the same level of evidence in our planning and progression documents. 

Some of what we propose to do:

We are continuing with our Inclusive Leadership project which involves working with other schools and leading practitioners to develop our inclusive adaptive practice in school. This includes robust training for teaching staff. 

We will ensure that our planning documents (including provision plans) make the adaptations to the curriculum and pedagogy clear.

Ofsted said:

Leaders prioritise the teaching of reading so that children learn to be confident and fluent readers from Reception. Leaders have made sure that extra support is given to pupils who struggle to read well. However, they have not made sure that all staff who listen to children read know what specific support each pupil needs. This means adults do not go back to revisit and recap these gaps in learning to help pupils become fluent readers.

What we are already doing:

(but the impact was not seen or was not embedded or consistent enough)

Staff who support pupils with additional reading have had significant amounts of training and are skilled at adapting catch up programmes and intervention resources to meet the needs. There was a misunderstanding that the reading ticklists used by some staff and volunteer readers was the reading assessment used to plan provision for individual pupils.

Some of what we propose to do:

We are going to develop our reading records so that they are more informative for volunteer readers and staff who do not regularly work with those pupils. We have researched and purchased new resources to support the reading of older pupils so the interest level is high whilst the reading level matches the child’s phonics stage. All staff will be trained on the effective delivery of these programmes. The assessment tools that accompany the schemes will ensure that gaps in learning are identified, revisited and filled.