Praise for school where children ‘flourish and thrive’

INSPECTORS have praised a school where staff are “tenacious” in helping every child succeed.

Ofsted said pupils’ personal development at Old Sodbury C of E Primary School was ‘outstanding’ and the school was ‘good’ in all other areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and early years provision – as well as overall.

Two inspectors visited the school in Church Lane in November – the regulator’s first visit for 12 years.

Their report, published in January, said: “Pupils love attending Old Sodbury school.

“Parents describe the school as welcoming and say that their children flourish and thrive.

“The school has high expectations of what every pupil can achieve.”

The inspectors said pupils are keen to learn, well-behaved, friendly and courteous and “demonstrate the school values of courage, compassion and respect in their actions”.

They were given confidence-building leadership roles and “know that they are valued as unique individuals within the school community”.

The inspectors praised the school’s “broad and ambitious” curriculum, saying: “Staff have the subject knowledge they need to teach all areas of the curriculum.

“They explain new learning clearly and expertly answer the questions that pupils have.”

As a result, pupils achieve well and produce high-quality work, the inspectors said, being able to recall what they know and successfully build on it.

The school’s work on reading and adapting learning for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities was highlighted.

Children helped to develop talents and interests outside curriculum

The inspectors also praised the school’s “plethora of wider enrichment activities that help them to develop new talents and interests”.

They said performing arts are a “particular strength”, with many pupils learning instruments and singing.

The report said: “The annual musical productions are eagerly anticipated. All pupils have a role to play in these, as they do in the wider life of the school.”

School trips, to museums, outdoor and residential centres gave pupils “a rich set of experiences”. The inspectors said: “The school is tenacious in helping every pupil to find something that they enjoy and can feel successful at.”

The school currently has 105 pupils aged from four to 11 on its roll, drawn not just from Old Sodbury but from a wide area, including Chipping Sodbury and Yate.

To improve further, the inspectors recommended that the school identify areas of the curriculum that need further improvement, and ensure all teaching activities across the curriculum build knowledge and skills “consistently well”.

Ofsted’s last visit had been in November 2011, when the school was rated ‘outstanding’ under the a previous grading system.

Inspection was three years late

This meant the regulator should have returned for another routine inspection by the end of 2020. But a backlog caused in part by the pandemic meant the latest inspection was three years late.

Head teacher Bernice Webber-Brown said: “I am so proud of our school community, children, parents, staff and governors, who have worked together to create an environment where outstanding provision for our pupils’ personal development ensures that all children here thrive.”

Picture: Head teacher Bernice Webber-Brown with pupils from Old Sodbury Primary School.