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Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report 2009

Stone with Woodford Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Stone, Berkeley, Gloucestershire GL13 9JX

Diocese: Gloucester

Local authority: Gloucestershire

Dates of inspection: 6th July 2009

Date of last inspection: 3rd November 2005

School’s URN: 115625

Headteacher: Mrs K McCalmont

Inspector: Mrs Val Hoskins NS 620

 

Context

Stone with Woodford Church of England Primary School is a small village school with 86 pupils on roll. The children come from an extensive rural area surrounding the village of Stone. Most are of White British heritage. The percentage of children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above the national average. The majority of these children have moderate learning difficulties or behavioural problems.

Summary Judgement

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Stone with Woodford as a Church of England school are outstanding. Stone with Woodford school has a revised mission statement “To educate all children for life”. The school provides a very caring and harmonious environment where every child feels valued and special. The children are given a wide range of experiences within a Christian framework so they have the opportunity to develop their own spirituality and positive moral attitudes. The qualities of relationships in school give it the strength to reach out to the community and to develop its international links.

Established strengths

A head teacher and staff who live out the mission statement “to educate for life”.
A very caring community with a strong and fruitful relationship with the local church.
Leaders who are themselves good role models and understand how Christian principles can impact on the lives of children.

Focus for development

Involve governors and children in monitoring and evaluating collective worship.
Use outcomes of monitoring and evaluation to inform planning of collective worship.

The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners

At Stone with Woodford School everyone is valued and made to feel special. This quality is quietly but clearly seen throughout the school and makes for a delightful environment. Everyone works collaboratively and co-operatively and staff act as good role models. The Christian values impact on personal development and all learners make good progress. The children understood that some of the values learnt helped them in their daily life - such as the eldest children caring for the younger ones. The children also recognised the need “for everyone to get on with everyone and if not you have to sort it out”. Relationships in school are very strong and children say that the teachers “are nice and you can talk to them about home or anything”. The excellent behaviour is rooted in the values of care and respect. Any conflicts that do arise are dealt with swiftly and with compassion. The school seeks to give children as many hands on experiences as possible and this creates an exciting curriculum. As one child says “you could never be bored at this school”. The school uses some of these experiences to develop the spirituality of the children. An example of this was the project that saw every classroom watching caterpillar’s turn into butterflies. In a carefully chosen field each child was given a butterfly to set free. As one child wrote “it was very special”. The children’s spirituality is also helped by their readiness to ask questions. One of the displays on creation invited children to write questions they would like to ask God. Questions asked were “What do you look like” and “Why did you let dinosaurs become extinct?” The school reaches out to the church and the local community and gives children many opportunities to meet people of other nationalities. This has given some members of the school council an opportunity to visit the European Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. Each year the school holds an international week and this year the children have opportunities to cook Chinese food and learn some Chinese music and dances.

The impact of collective worship on the school community is good

Worship occupies a place of central importance in the life of the school and is used to promote the Christian values. Despite the lack of space care is taken so that worship is meaningful to the children and impacts on their lives. Prayer and opportunities given for reflection are appreciated by the children. One child commented “it gives you time to think about what you’ve done that day and how you could do it better”. Once a week a group of people from the local church and community come into school to share Bible stories with the children, following the ‘Open the Book’ scheme. The group meet regularly to plan and pray for the collective worship services that they lead and the children talk very enthusiastically about these times. The worship observed during inspection saw all children involved in the drama through role play. They became the crowd as the miracle of the Feeding of the 5000 was enacted in the playground. During further collective worship for Reception and Key Stage 1, children were less attentive because they were not so actively involved. The children found it difficult to recall what had happened in this act of worship. As most members of staff are involved in leading collective worship a more formal system of monitoring and evaluation is needed to ensure high standards that will develop children’s faith and understanding. The children were keen to recall the memorable Easter worship when the stations of the cross were set up between school and church. At each of these stations parts of the Easter story were shared with the children. Comments from them included “I remember the upper room where we shared the grapes and the bread”. Another said “It was absolutely great, I wish I could go back again”.

One of the parents commented, ”So nice to hear them talk about why we celebrate Easter, not just eat chocolate”. The adults who come into school as part of the Open the Book team include one of the schools supply teachers and the foundation governor. This link serves to strengthen the relationship between church and school. The local church is used for some services especially the festivals and also when teaching some parts of the RE syllabus. The vicar takes worship regularly which gives him the opportunity to get to know the children and further develop the links.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding

The revised mission statement has had a very positive impact on the school. It recognises the need to educate the whole child and the school seeks to do this in a holistic way. The head teacher is committed to providing the experiences children need within a Christian framework. She is very ably supported by staff and governors and all members of staff feel valued. Everyone is signed up and committed to the Christian values adopted by the school. Training, in the form of professional development, is available and sought after to help staff develop the skills they need. The caring relationships amongst the staff feed down to the children and their parents. The foundation governors play an exceedingly important role in the life of the school, particularly in worship and in supporting parts of the RE curriculum. They give a very strong lead and realise the importance of monitoring and evaluating. The RE coordinator has a real commitment to the subject and this makes a contribution to the development of the children’s spirituality. She recognises the need for more formal assessment of children’s work in RE. The parents appreciate the strong Christian values that the school promotes. They also appreciate the care and value that each child is given, through the commitment of all the staff. The strength that the school has through its good relationships means that that they are confident of sending out the message of a Christian school. The school choir goes regularly to sing to the elderly in the village and senior citizens are invited to have lunch at school on Wednesdays in the winter months. The school is an important part of the local community and is held in high regard by all. As one parent commented ”There is only the school and church in this village and they work well together”.

SIAS report July 2009 Stone with Woodford CE School Stone GL13 9JX