Dunstable primary pupils praised in Ofsted inspection

Their behaviour at Ashton St Peter's C of E school was described as outstanding

By Lynn Hughes
Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:16 pm
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 5:14 pm

A Dunstable primary school has been described as a warm and caring community where everyone is welcome, in its latest Ofsted report.

Ashton St Peter's C of E school on Leighton Court, was found to be good in all areas, with pupils' behaviour and attitude described as 'outstanding'.

Damian Loneragan, lead inspector, said: "From Reception Year to Year 6, they listen carefully to teachers and are enthusiastic about their learning. Pupils want to do well. Outside, on the playground, pupils play nicely with each other. Younger children take turns and share the equipment.

Pupils at Ashton St Peter have been praised by Ofsted inspectors - Google Maps

"Pupil ‘prefects’ check whether others are lonely and need a friend. If pupils are worried, they know that adults will take care of them.

"The school’s ‘values education’ and religious ethos are an important part of school life. Pupils learn about ideas such as ‘love’ and ‘thankfulness’. Pupils’ caring attitudes spread much wider than the classroom. The school council, for instance, raises money for a range of charities and food banks. Pupils act as ‘rangers’ to look after the school garden and environment."

New headteacher David Bower and his team have focused sharply on improving the school’s curriculum, inspectors found. Leaders reviewed how the different subjects were taught to pupils. Curriculum plans have been reorganised and adapted and in each subject area, leaders consider carefully what is important for pupils to know.

Starting in early years, leaders arrange knowledge clearly so that pupils build on their previous learning and teachers know their subjects well. They pick activities that are engaging and help pupils learn. In Reception Year, for instance, adults support children to learn their number facts so that they are ready for mathematics in Year 1. The Reception Year curriculum is a strong foundation for future learning.

Teachers regularly check on what pupils know. Many subjects, like mathematics, have helpful assessment that supports teachers to spot gaps in pupils’ understanding. Pupils are then given support to catch up.

Reading in the school was also praised with inspectors finding pupils were confident readers and across the school pupils and teachers love reading.

Mr Loneragan said: "Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. Their needs are identified accurately and shared with teachers. Teachers use ‘pupil passports’ to make relevant adaptions to their lessons so that pupils with SEND make the same progress as their peers. If pupils with SEND fall behind with their learning, staff help them so that they are not behind for long."

Governors worked closely with the local authority to ensure that leaders had the right support and challenge to improve the curriculum, inspectors found. They support leaders to keep a close eye on the staff’s well-being and workload and leaders ensure that staff have the right training, support and time to continue to improve the school.

In only one area of caution, Mr Loneragan said in a small number of subjects, assessment is not closely linked to the knowledge that has been taught.

"This means that, in these subjects, teachers are not as clear about what pupils have learned. Leaders must ensure that all assessment matches the knowledge that is in the curriculum plans," he added.