We were delighted with our most recent Ofsted Inspection report which praised the nurturing ethos of our school, our belief in the children we work with, our 'aspirational' curriculum, that our children achieve well with 'no limits' placed and that the way they behave and convey themselves is 'impressive'. We are delighted with the affirmation that we are 'a small school with big ideas'.
‘Every child is known and believed in at Aston Rowant.’
I am delighted to be able to share our fantastic Ofsted report with you. It celebrates the very nature of our wonderful school, the children who attend and continue to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner, the hard work and positivity of the staff team and the support structure of the Governors, OCC and the Diocese.
Ofsted have judged Aston Rowant CofE Primary as a ‘Good School’. This is an incredible achievement within the new framework, following the pandemic and especially given the journey we have been on as a school. The inspection was extremely positive and useful in terms of looking at school improvement and the inspectors were very thorough in their analysis of our school.
The inspectors talked very positively about the ethos of the school and our wonderful children. The opening line of the report captures it beautifully, we know and believe in every child. Although we are a small school, there is ‘ambition for every child to achieve well with no limits placed’. Quite simply, the children grow and flourish under our care.
Our vision of ‘Growing Together’ was evident and acknowledged. We have been ‘courageous’ in our work to improve the school. It has been a team effort with the whole staff team, together with the other stakeholders including Governors, OCC and the Diocese, working tirelessly and determinedly together to provide the pupils at Aston Rowant School with high quality inclusive education. We are all incredibly proud of the verbal feedback given throughout the day itself as well as the final report.
We are very proud that Her Majesty’s Inspectors have recognised the wider context and being a pupil at Aston Rowant: ‘It is easy to spot as Aston Rowant pupil. The way they convey themselves is impressive.’ We are very lucky that we work with children who: ‘work hard, do the right thing, speak eloquently to visitors, happily look out for each other, recognise that it doesn’t matter if a person looks different to another and affirm that bullying has no place here.’ They are not only friendly but they ‘go out of their way to make everyone feel welcome.’
And everyone is welcome at our school. Communication between the school and families with special educational needs is ‘excellent’ the systems in place to quickly pick up a child’s learning needs are ‘efficient’. ‘Leaders involve parents from the start. It is a partnership’ and ‘children’s views are well considered’.
When children are at our school they are all very well looked after. Ofsted described our safeguarding culture as ‘exceptional’ noting that ‘adults care and look out for every child.’ This is because ‘leaders ensure safeguarding is threaded through every aspect of school life.’ Ofsted acknowledged the unique design of the school site and the challenges that this presents but celebrated that, ‘leaders and governors have meticulously risk assessed so that everyone is kept safe.’
The report also highlights other work of our Governing Body. The Governors are ‘streamlined, focused and ask the right questions’. This provides oversight, challenge and integrity for the work that we are doing as well as key areas such as safeguarding.
We are also grateful to our parental body for your continued support throughout the year, as well as during the inspection. Your commitment to your children’s education is essential and your belief in the work that the school is doing, working hard to provide a balanced and well-rounded education in a safe environment for everyone, was clearly reflected in the overwhelmingly positive online responses on Ofsted Parent View and at the school gate. One Inspector told us that the word ‘phenomenal’ when she chatted with parents.
Most importantly, at the heart of the incredible successes celebrated by both Ofsted, and you as parents, is the staff team. I am incredibly grateful for and proud of the hard work put in by every staff member every day. It is a privilege to lead such an amazing team. I would like to use this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for providing our children with an exciting, rounded education. Whilst we know that we have work to do Ofsted recognised the team spirit as ‘buoyant’ and with that positivity we can continue to achieve great things together.
Our strong staff team means that we are well placed to work on the areas that we need to make stronger. What is very satisfying is that all the areas identified were already within our school development plan prior to the inspection and there were no surprises during the day. We know our school well and the steps that we need to take to continue to improve.
It was recognised that the school’s curriculum is well thought out and aspirational and that our leaders identified precisely the knowledge that pupils must learn in each subject. However, we have been challenged to sharpen the connection between Early Year’s content and what is then taught in Key Stage 1, which the team are already looking at.
Again, it has been acknowledged that teachers’ own subject knowledge is generally strong and that they pick up pupils’ misconceptions quickly. We have been challenged to improve the lesson activities set to ensure that we secure pupils’ knowledge in the best way possible. This was something that we have been working on and will continue to do so. We already have some exciting lessons and tasks planned for the new academic year and look forward to sharing them with the children and you.
Finally, we were aware that our current approach to assessment needs to be progressed further. It is something that both leaders and governors have been reviewing and developing. What the report doesn’t capture is that the whole school team meet every half term to discuss the progress of every child in our care which in turn informs our teaching. Governors also meet regularly with the school leaders to ensure accountability in this process. It is a detailed and dynamic process. Where we need to improve is the efficiency and structure of the process without compromising its integrity.
I am delighted to report that we have already been working on the targets that we have been set and we are confident about meeting them quickly and in full. As the inspectors recognised:
‘The school continues to move from strength to strength.’
We agree. Long may it continue!
Please see below the link for the full report.
Please find below our most recent Ofsted reports and relevant information from the Department for Education Performance Tables.