How We Evaluate our Performance
We were delighted that Ofsted judged our school to be ‘Outstanding’ in October 2008 but that was just the beginning of our journey. Since that moment in time we have continued to look for ways to improve our performance and ensure that we continue to meet the high standards that enabled us to gain our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgment and therefore provide our children with the best education possible. Every year Ofsted undertake a risk review of the school to ensure that children's outcomes remain high, the leadership continues to be strong, there are no safeguarding issues and no complaints.
Internal Monitoring of Performance
During the school year we are continually monitoring children’s progress and attainment to ensure that planning and interventions enable all children to make good progress. The Senior Leadership team and Subject leaders are observing and monitoring teaching and learning to ensure that the education provided to the children is of a high standard. There are regular discussions with children about their learning and the children’s books are scrutinized to ensure that a high standard is achieved. The school governors receive regular reports from the school team and visit the school regularly to validate reports. We listen to parents, children and staff through our questionnaires and are always looking for ways to improve our service.
We also look for outside validation of our performance therefore we take part in a number of external inspections.
Each term we employ an Educational Consultant to undertake a rigorous review of all aspects of teaching and learning across the school. We are members of the SWAN Trust which is made up of five local schools and each term all of the Headteachers spend a day in school comparing our performance with the Ofsted criteria. During both visits a number of activities are undertaken to ensure that our School Self Evaluation and School Development Plan are fit for purpose and will result in improvement across the school. The activities undertaken will include; learning walks to observe teaching and learning, attainment and progress data discussions with members of the Senior Leadership Team, looking for evidence of children’s learning in books and discussions with children and teachers. At the end of each visit strengths and areas for development are agreed.
The Primary Quality Mark Award
We also pay to take part in the national Primary Quality Mark Award Scheme. The Primary Quality Mark complements and supports the principles underpinning national education strategies, inspection frameworks and the drive to improve standards in literacy and mathematics. This is an award that celebrates and supports continuous improvement in literacy and numeracy in good schools. It is awarded to a school as recognition of their provision, practice and performance in literacy and numeracy, and is valid for three years. At each assessment we have demonstrated a whole school approach to improving standards in literacy and numeracy, with evidence of the impact our approaches have made on children’s learning. We undertake the required framework for self-evaluation and continuous improvement of the basic skills for all children in the school, including those who under-achieve and those who under-attain.
We are delighted that after our recent inspection by the Primary Quality Mark Basic Skills assessor we have once again be awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark for the 6th time. Mrs Karen Simpson the assessor undertook our renewal assessment on the 21st May 2018. She met with parents, governors, children and staff as well as our Maths, English, Well-being and SEND leaders. She undertook a learning walk during the day to observe teaching and learning and discussed data with the Senior Leadership team. We were pleased that Mrs Simpson agreed with our self-assessment points. We were particularly pleased with the comments from the parents interviewed, which make up element 9 of the report.
‘Good practice’ identified in relation to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark
Suggested areas for development in preparation for the next Quality Mark visit and links to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark:
The Context of the School
Updated November 2018
The Oaktree School is located on the Hermitage estate, which is an area just outside Woking with a mixture of private and local authority housing. There are several schools serving this community, in close proximity to one another. The school is situated on the same site as The Hermitage School (junior). For the last two years there has been a low birth rate and families have started to come from a wider area. The low birth rate and poor Ofsted obtained by the attached junior school has resulted in low class numbers in reception for the last two years. Our past and existing parents are overwhelmingly positive about the high quality of education provided and as a result our school.
Since the last inspection the catchment area has changed and we find that generally our baseline data in reception is slightly below national. A higher proportion of children now enter the school below the expected levels; with a variety of special needs in particular speech and language and social skills. Over the last few years we there have been a higher than expected level of children with special needs due to school’s reputation in the community of successfully catering for children with complex needs.
Our school community is predominately of White British origin although there are a growing number of children from a variety of other backgrounds especially European. As a leadership team we acknowledge the need to widen our children’s cultural understanding so that they learn to live in a multi-cultural society. To this end we teach our children about Great Britain and a range of other countries. The children explore a variety of religions and work closely with our local Muslim community to organise visits and talks and celebrate within school the special events of our ethnic minority children.
Majority of our families have at least one parent working in the household. Although parents are working they are often just managing to meet their commitments and struggle in adversity. This group of children are well cared for but a significant number arrive at school with little independence and need support with self-help skills. We also find that a large number of this group have had very little opportunity to explore and take risks and often have a packed schedule or a lot of time indoors. Having said this there is a smaller number of our parents who have exposed their children to a range of outside experiences and the parents are very ambitious for their children to succeed. We have a very small proportion of families that do not engage easily with the school and we find that these children do not get the required level of support for their home learning and parents are reluctant to come into school to meet with the teacher. We work hard to engage with these parents and we provide a lot of support to both parents and children.
We have a small number of children eligible for Pupil Premium than the national figure. Our families tend to only meet the criteria because there has been a traumatic change in their lives such as a death in the family or a family break up. These families need a lot of support to enable the children to access learning and make progress. Looking at National data for EYFS and KS1 in the PP category our children achieve in line with national or above and most children make good to outstanding progress socially and academically.
The leadership team of the school recognise that the children come to school eager to learn. There has been a rise in the level of attendance since the last inspection due a number of measures introduced by the school. Our attendance figures are now good and we are working towards improving this. Over the last 6 years the school absence levels have been below Surrey and National (2nd percentile). The persistent absence level is lower than Surrey and national. Disadvantaged children absence level is also below the Surrey and national level. With so many working parents on low incomes one of our on-going concerns is the amount of holiday taken in term time. We are working closely with our parents to ensure they understand the importance of their children not missing school and advertising term dates well in advance.
98% of our children have attended a preschool setting and therefore show a high degree of school readiness. Although our children come from over 20 pre-schools or nurseries we have established close links to ensure smooth transitions. As a result the provision for our youngest children has undergone considerable changes since our last inspection and is continually being adapted to meet the specific needs and preferred learning styles of the children. We are confident that, due to the provision, the vast majority of our reception children leave their first year as confident and independent learners, with their needs identified and targeted in order to allow continued progress as they move through the school.
SEND: Since the changes to SEND our SEND register has dropped. Although we have a smaller number of SEND children than nationally our children on EHCP and SEND Support SEND Support often have severe and complex needs. The school works closely with outside agencies to support these children in their next steps for development. We have a small number of children who are receiving support from Social Care. Our more able children are identified and provided with a challenging curriculum.
The proportion of children in the school who come from other ethnic backgrounds is lower than nationally but has risen slightly over the last few years many now coming from Europe. Many of these children speak English as their first language and consider themselves to be bilingual as opposed to having English as an additional language. The school has always valued the rich learning opportunities which can be derived from a celebration of cultural diversity; this is reflected in topics, lessons and special event planning such as visiting the Mosque and learning about the Synagogue.
Although, we have historically had very low levels of pupil mobility at the school the last two years a number of families have moved to cheaper parts of the county to buy more affordable housing. The vast majority any of our children move on to our partner junior school, The Hermitage. We are working even more closely together to ensure that identified groups of children continue to be targeted throughout their primary education. Transition projects are carried out to ensure that the provision children receive at The Oaktree is complimented as they move into Year 3. As a result of The Hermitage School’s last Ofsted we are working even more closely together as school teams.
Our school sets high expectations for behaviour and we work hard to ensure that our children learn the skills to become responsible citizens. We consider our children to be caring, courteous and polite and have respect for our school community and beyond.
The leadership team has defined a series of visionary aims for the school, based on the overall mission of ‘Learning Together to Achieve Excellence’. These aims are concerned with the holistic development of the child. We strive to establish both a love for and an understanding of how to learn; consolidate basic skills in reading, writing, maths and science; enable the development of positive life skills and ensure that every child is trying to ‘Be the Best they Can Be’. We also believe that it is essential that all of our staff are lifelong learners. Since converting to an academy in September 2013 we have continued to deliver a high level of academic excellence which aligns with our core values.
The school has been awarded:
Outomes for pupils
Outcomes overall are better than ‘good’ because the progress of the vast majority of pupils including those supported by the pupil premium is expected or above. Compared to national data achievement has been at or above national for the last 10 years in core subjects with the exception of reading which was slightly below in 2016 when the new assessment system was introduced. We are disappointed that writing is only meeting national expectations again this year although there has been a year on year improvement. Therefore, writing will continue to be our main focus for development in 2018-19. We have risen to the challenge of the new curriculum and assessment expectations and shown improvement year on year in reading, writing and maths. The curriculum has been adapted to meet the new National Curriculum and Long Term and Medium plans reviewed to ensure that the curriculum remains broad and balanced. The end of key stage assessment has been continually changing over the last three years but we have in place a system for rigorously monitoring progress and feel that we are able to ensure that children are quickly identified if they are not making good progress and effective interventions put in place. The key priorities for 2018-19 are to improve attainment in writing ensuring that all children make at least expected progress and that children who are working below expectations make better than expected progress. We will continue to embed the mastery curriculum in maths with a particular focus on reasoning.
The Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
The teaching is good or better overall across the school and all teachers are working hard to ensure that teaching is better than good and that children make better than expected progress in all lessons. To achieve this aim we are providing teachers with individualised training packages so that the teaching and subsequently learning in their classes is consistently better than good overall.
Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare
Our self-evaluation shows this to be an area in which we excel. This has always been part of our holistic approach to education and we therefore teach what we consider to be ‘Life Skills’. The children are taught these skills directly during using SEAL materials, life skills assemblies, circle time activities and by adult modelling. The whole school team ensure that 'The Oaktree Way' is always followed therefore behaviour is very good. We encourage the children to ‘Be the Best You Can Be’ the children respond to the challenge. The children have an excellent attitude to learning across all subjects and make good progress in lessons. They are engaged and excited about their learning and behaviour and safety is outstanding across the school. We have always thought of personal social and emotional development as our fourth core subject and this year we will continue to embed our mental health programme across the school which teaches the children mindfulness to enable them to be able to understand how to be become calm and a variety of relaxation techniques such as yoga, gardening and exercise.
Quality of Leadership in and Management of the school
The school judge leadership and management to be solidly good with many aspects of outstanding because we are continually looking for ways to improve performance in every aspect of school life. Our strong personnel monitoring system ensures that all members of staff are effective and ensures that the quality of service is high. The school provides an overall good standard of education. The school community is committed to continuous improvement and we work with parents and carers to improve our service. The leadership and management has a clear understanding of the needs of the school community and are able to put in place plans to achieve the highest standards. There is a record of excellent school improvement which delivers improvement on time and within budget. The outstanding progress made by our children is due to the dedicated school teams who are continually looking for ways to improve teaching and learning. Assessment underpins all learning opportunities and children and parents are encouraged to work towards agreed targets. Pupils learn in a safe and supportive environment and as a result of good or better teaching engage well with learning.
Children benefit from an enriched curriculum which integrates art, music and drama into the core subjects. The curriculum is enhanced by visiting places of interest and welcoming visitors to the school. The children learn for a high proportion of the time in the outside learning areas. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to become independent learners. Our hands-on- learning approach ensures that children learn through experience and quickly become independent learners.
The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils is outstanding. Children are taught the skills to become lifelong learners throughout their time at the school. The children are proud of the school and strive to achieve ‘The Oaktree Way’ to care for everyone and everything which results in excellent behaviour in and around the school. The RE curriculum develops children’s understanding of spirituality, other cultures and the celebration of diversity. There is a close relationship which the local church which results in the children visiting the church and members of the church family visiting the school on a weekly basis.
As children move through the school they are encouraged to take on more responsibility for the smooth running of the school by becoming Friendship Friends, door monitors, Eco monitors, members of the School Council or Eco Committee. The School Council and Eco Committee enable children to understand the principles of democracy first-hand. The school provides an opportunities for children to take part in community, artistic, sporting and cultural events.
The school’s overall provision ensures that pupils are very well prepared for the next stage of their education. The school team work hard with parents to support children to meet their personal, social and academic potential.