Kingfisher Academy in Wichelstowe branded 'requires improvement' by Ofsted inspectors

By Jamie Hill - 26 March 2024


Kingfisher CE Academy in Peglars Way in Wichelstowe has received an overall assessment of 'requires improvement' in its very first Ofsted inspection carried out late last month.

The primary school, which only opened in 2021, is part of the troubled Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust, which has come under fire recently after The Deanery CE Academy, the trust's flagship Wichelstowe secondary school was put into special measures late last year.

Last week it was announced that The Deanery Academy and Kingfisher primary school and nursery in Wichelstowe are to join the Swindon-based Park Academies Trust in September.

The inspection was carried out on 20 and 21 February with the subsequent report stating that overall the primary school 'requires improvement'.

According to the report the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, and leadership and management all 'required improvement' whilst personal development and early years provision were reported to be 'good'.

The report states...

What is it like to attend this school?

Kingfisher wants the best for all pupils and aims for them to be successful. Together, the trust and the school have prioritised the development of the curriculum. While leaders have taken steps to improve the quality of education pupils receive, it is still early days. The curriculum does not yet support all pupils to build their knowledge well.

The behaviour of some older pupils impacts the atmosphere across the school. As a result, some pupils report being a little worried by this. The school is aware of this and is taking appropriate action to address it. 

Pupils get off to a positive start in the early years. They learn routines quickly and behave well. The curriculum meets younger pupils’ needs well. However, some older pupils in key stage 1 engage less well with their learning. 

The school is at the heart of the community. Staff know pupils and families well. The school is quick to identify when families need extra support. Parents comment positively about the school’s efforts to engage with the community.

The school provides many opportunities to promote pupils’ personal development. Pupils learn the importance of the school’s values. They learn how to stay safe. The school ensures that all children have full access to a broad range of extra-curricular experiences.

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

The trust and the school have recently taken steps to improve how well the curriculum is designed. These curriculum developments are at an early stage. The curriculum now identifies the knowledge pupils need to know and remember. However, the implementation of the curriculum lacks precision to ensure that the needs of all pupils are met well enough. As a result, pupils find it difficult to remember important knowledge and to talk about their learning.

Learning is not adapted quickly enough to enable pupils to develop a deeper understanding. Assessment is not used with enough precision. Staff do not routinely check what pupils know and remember from previous key learning. As a result, some pupils develop gaps in their learning, which are not always addressed. This prevents pupils from building their knowledge based on what they already know and remember. 

The reading curriculum is well designed and sequenced. Children learn phonics as soon as they start school. Books are matched to the sounds they have learned. Staff are well trained in the programme, and they deliver it according to agreed strategies. Reading is a high priority in the school. Pupils enjoy reading. They vote to decide the books that adults read to them in class. Pupils recommend books to each other in ‘rave about reading’ sessions.

In the early years, adults know the needs of the children well. They reinforce language and model key vocabulary. Adults support children in the early years to think for themselves and share their own ideas. The early years foundation stage curriculum is well designed. The school has decided on the most important knowledge that children need to learn. Children in the early years learn how to stay safe and healthy. For example, a group of children in Nursery wore gardening gloves when planting some flowers. They explained the importance of keeping their hands clean to ‘avoid getting germs’. 

The school has developed an inclusive environment. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are identified at an early stage. The school ensures that parents of pupils with SEND are fully involved in their children’s education. Pupils with SEND participate in all aspects of school life. However, pupils with SEND experience the same weaknesses in the curriculum as their peers. Learning is not always adapted to meet pupils’ needs. 

The school has designed an effective curriculum to develop pupils’ personal development. It is underpinned by the school’s values. Pupils learn about healthy relationships and know what it means to be a good friend. Pupils know the importance of eating a healthy diet. A child in Reception commented, ‘Fruit is healthy and makes you strong’, while painting a still-life picture of a pear. The curriculum teaches pupils how to keep safe online. 

The school understands its community well. It involves the parents and the local community in the life of the school at every opportunity. Pupils can attend a variety of clubs. They enjoy the extra-curricular opportunities that are available to them. Older pupils take on responsibility as school librarians. Pupils learn about fundamental British values, such as democracy. 

Trustees and local governors understand their roles well. The trust has correctly identified the school’s priorities for improvement. Support from trust leaders has had a recent impact. There is an honest recognition that there is still much to do.  Safeguarding The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

- Work to improve the curriculum is recent. It is not yet being implemented well enough to ensure that pupils learn the precise knowledge they need. As a result, pupils do not build their knowledge as well as they could. The trust needs to ensure that the curriculum is implemented effectively to ensure that pupils learn well over time.

- Learning is not adapted to deepen pupils’ knowledge and understanding. This is particularly the case for some pupils with SEND. As a result, pupils’ knowledge is not as in depth as it could be, and pupils develop gaps in their learning. The trust needs to ensure that learning is adapted when necessary to enable all pupils, including those with SEND, to progress as well as possible through the curriculum.

- Assessment is still being developed. It is not yet used well enough to check that pupils have remembered the knowledge they have been taught. Therefore, pupils move through the curriculum unable to recall their prior learning and make links with their current learning. The trust needs to ensure that assessment is used to inform teaching, to ensure there are no gaps in learning and to consolidate pupils’ understanding. 

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ