Holywell News - Holywell School

Holywell News - Holywell School
Holywell News
                                            REMEMBER PUPILS
                                           ARE BACK TO SCHOOL

Issue No: 141
                                        MONDAY 16TH APRIL
March 2018                                HAVE A GOOD HOLIDAY

From Mr Simpson:

Holywell continues to be a GOOD school.
On the 6th March, 2018 we were visited by Ofsted who conducted a 1-day Section 8
inspection. The outcome of that inspection was to confirm that Holywell continues to be a
GOOD school and that there is much of which we can be very proud. The inspectors were
hugely impressed by our pupils who they described in their feedback as ‘brilliant’.

In the report, it is stated:
“Pupils are well behaved and have very positive
attitudes to learning. They are proud of their school
and they are excellent ambassadors both in and out of
the classroom. They value the high quality of teaching,
from which they benefit, and they welcome the wide
range of extra-curricular opportunities available to

                                    Inspectors were particularly impressed by our
                                    Christian Values-inspired approach:
                                    “You are rightly proud of the impact of your school’s
                                    values-driven philosophy. Your values, including
                                    tolerance, forgiveness and kindness, are displayed
                                    prominently around the school site and they permeate
                                    the school’s ethos through assemblies, charity work
                                    and roles such as values ambassador. Pupils speak
                                    very proudly of the impact of these values on both
themselves and the school. They say that the school’s values make them think and act
more thoughtfully and positively as well as making the school a better place.”

Inspectors also acknowledged our high expectations of both staff
and pupils and they appreciated the positive support from
governors and parents. Safeguarding was identified as a real
strength of the school:
“Pupils are unanimous about the fact that they are safe at
school, as are all of the staff and parents who responded to the
Ofsted surveys. Pupils say that, on the rare occasions it
happens, bullying is dealt with swiftly and effectively. They state
that they attend a caring school and that there is always
someone to help them if needed.”

Holywell News - Holywell School
The feedback from Ofsted for a Section 8 inspection is in the form of an inspection letter –
the full letter is at the end of the newsletter.

There is much to celebrate and inspectors are confident that we are aware of the areas
on which we need to work. We will continue to build on our successes and our aspiration
is to be an outstanding Church of England school with superb outcomes for all learners
and a reputation for care and sector-leading learning. We hope that you will continue to
support us and work with us on the next phase of our exciting journey at Holywell School.

The Ofsted inspection was just one small part of an action-packed half term! On the day
of the inspection we held one of our well-attended and successful Tutor-based Parents’
evenings. Attendance at these events has been excellent and we do appreciate the time
parents and carers take to support our pupils in their learning.

Other key events this term have included:
    World Book Day
    STEM challenge at Cranfield University
    British Science Fortnight
    Big Band Concert
    Sport Relief
    Sports fixtures
… not to mention all the extra-curricular activities and events that run throughout the term.
You will find details of all these events in the newsletter.

Our Year 6 students are busily preparing for their SATs in May. They have been working
hard with their teachers to achieve the highest standards possible in their reading, writing,
maths and science tests. Regular practice will help … as will attending our fantastic
Easter School.

                          This year, our Music department and some Year 8 volunteers
                          led our annual Easter Service which re-enacted the passion of
                          Jesus through drama and song. It brings to an end our Lenten
                          work focussing on: Prayer, Reflection and Action. This year, we
                          have been taking on the challenges of 40acts as well as
                          following the Church of England’s ‘#Live Lent: LET YOUR
                          LIGHT SHINE’

At this Easter time, we are reminded of God’s love, the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus
and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus challenged his disciples to go out
into the world and to teach people as Jesus taught them. His journey was driven by love:
‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’ Love must shape our journey too.
Our challenge this Easter is to take on
that challenge and to teach people
about love, generosity and faith … not
through lectures or lessons but through
our actions and words of kindness,
hope and peace.

Whatever your faith and belief, let love
guide us at this Easter time. I wish you
all a peaceful and restful break.

Mr Simpson


Holywell News - Holywell School
Y6 Easter Revision School returns once again
                                  9th -11th April, 2018
This is a wonderful opportunity for Year 6 students to do some fun, focussed and final
revision for the forthcoming SATs. This year students have the opportunity to work on
their English and Maths skills. The sessions run from 9.00 in the morning until 12.00.

                 Homework / Enrichment Policy
We are in the process of reviewing our current homework/enrichment policy. We are
aiming to create a draft policy by the end of the summer term which we will trial in
September 2018, having collected as many views from our school community as possible.
Please see letter emailed to parents and also available to view on the school website
under the News and Events / Letters Home tabs.

                            Summer Uniform
At the start of the summer term (after Easter) students will have the following
two options re: uniform:

   a) Either continue to wear blazers, white shirts and ties.
   b) Wear a white polo shirt (without a tie) and a blazer

                         Uniform, Hairstyles,
                        Make-up and Jewellery
Please remember that extreme haircuts and colours are not part of our school uniform!
If you are in any doubt about the acceptability of a hairstyle, please contact the school

Make-up (including nail varnish) is not allowed.

To avoid loss and any dangers or accident to the wearer or another pupil, expensive
items of jewellery must not be worn.

                   Parent Pay – School Dinners
Please can parents / carers check regularly that there are sufficient funds in
their child’s Parent Pay account to cover the cost of their school dinners. It
is only in emergency situations that the school office can override this at the
parent’s request. We are able to restrict your child’s spend per day if required.
Please contact Mrs Fuller, Office Manager, if you would like us to do this.

Holywell News - Holywell School
PE Department News
Arsenal Women FC training session – 9th March: We were luckily enough to have
Lucy from Arsenal Women FC come and join us on Friday 9 th March. She spoke to Key
Stage 2 in assembly about the life of a professional footballer and we heard an interview
with a current Arsenal player. 20 Year 5 and 6 girls then had a training session with her,
where she showed them some of the drills that the professional players do during their
training sessions. The girls had a great time and hopefully it has inspired some of them to
take up football outside of school.

Athlete Mentor Visit – Lesley
Owusu: On Friday 23rd March, we
had a visit from Lesley Owusu, a
former Great British athlete, who has
performed at European and World
championships, in the 400m. She
delivered a motivational assembly to
our KS3 students and then took our
‘Couch 2 5K’ girls for a relay training
session. This was a great experience
for the girls as they prepare
themselves for their own 5K event in the summer.

Year 8 Netball Tournament: We took 9 Year 8 Girls over to Bedford Academy to play in
this years Under 13 netball tournament. The girls all represented the school well, with
superb performances from all of them. Some special mentions to the captain Alannah
Turner who organised and lead the team with confidence throughout the whole
tournament. We had some excellent shooting from Chloe Lawrence and Rhiannan
Pearson. This was the girls last netball fixture at Holywell and we finished on a high
confidently beating Henlow. Well done and thank you to the girls.        Mrs Simpson

Year 6 Boys’ Football: This year the boys played 4 games, finishing with 1 win against
Parkfields, a draw against Alameda and 2 losses against Etonbury and Marston Vale.
Unfortunately, this meant that they did not qualify for the finals but in all the games the
boys played very well and were unlucky especially in the very close games against
Alameda and Marston. Thank you to everyone who came to training and everyone who
played and we look forward to continuing to improve in preparation for next year.
Year 7 Football – Season Report

Year 7 Football: The year 7 football team have had a great season. In their first game,
away against Etonbury, Holywell won 6-1. The scorers in that game were AJ, Joe, Cieron
            (2) and Akshay (2). After this, there was meant to be a game against
            Henlow, but it was cancelled due to the snow.

             The next game was also away, against Robert Bloomfield and Holywell won
             again! The final score was 6-1. The scorers were James (after saving
             Albara’s free kick that was destined for the top corner), Josh, own goal and
Akshay with a hat-trick. Sadly, in the next game, Holywell narrowly lost 4-3 to Woodlands
after being 3-0 up at half time thanks to an AJ hat-trick.

In the last game Holywell hosted Marston Vale in the big local derby. Holywell came out
on top, winning 3-1 with a quick fire AJ hat-trick.
                                                                       By Josh Russell

Holywell News - Holywell School
Year 8 boys football: The season is coming to a close for the Year 8 team, with a mixed
bag of results. The first game of the season saw a great fightback to secure a 4-4 draw
after being 3-0 down to Henlow. Losses against Parkfields and Marston Vale quickly
followed but a spirited victory against RBA ‘B’ meant the lads finished on a high note. It’s
been a pleasure to coach the boys for 4 years and I wish the team much success at upper

Cricket Tournament: On 19th March we went to the Bunyan Centre
for a Cricket Tournament. First of all, we played Sharnbrook and lost
20-40. We then played Biddenham and won 50-20. We also lost
against Cardinal Newman and Lincroft. They were very close games
and we all worked well as a team. The team was Rachel, Rosie,
Chloe, Alannah, Isla, Tallulah, Tash, Devon and Isabella.

                                                             By Rachel, Rosie and Chloe

The girls have been training every Monday evening since the start of term and have
shown excellent commitment. Well done girls!                         Mrs McEwen

                      Sport Relief – March 2018
              A massive thank you to everybody who ran, walked, jumped, hula-hooped,
              skipped and in some cases, limped around the school field! It was great to see
              so many students being active and looking like they were really enjoying
              themselves! A big thank you also goes to those parents/carers, grandparents
and brothers and sisters that braved the arctic conditions to come and support. In total we
travelled 1276.1 miles…beating our target by 26.1 miles – a fantastic achievement!
Please can you now ensure that sponsor money is brought in as soon as possible…every
little helps! Many thanks for your continued support.                The PE Department

Holywell News - Holywell School
World Book Day
World book day this year was ‘giganticus’! (Roald Dahl’s
made up word for big and spectacular!) We had the
splendiferous book potatoes, the extraordinary costumes, a
fun quiz, a book swap and to top it all off a beautiful snow
day making leaving school like entering Narnia! Everyone
seemed to be enjoying the wonderful day in their fabulous
costumes. We had every book character from Oompa-
loompas to a petrifying rabbit! Overall, it was a fantabulous

During Lunch, on World Book Day all year groups did something called the book
swap. Students (and Teachers) would bring in some books from home and hand
them in in exchange for a token which they then used to get a book that someone
else had brought in. Many people brought in books and it was really fun!

                         During world book day we had many amazing costumes
                         from Harry Potter to the ‘Wishing Chair’. Everyone tried
                         their best to make the greatest costumes they could. The
                         winning costumes for each year group were:

                         Year 8: Elissa Shanley & Rhiannon Pearson (Oompa-
                         Year 7: Jensen Miller (The White Rabbit)
                         Year 6: Henry Adams (Danny the Champion of the World)
                         Year 5: Tegan O’Reilly (The Wishing Chair)

                         There were many more amazing costumes and made the
                         day incredibly colourful and exciting.

                         There was a creative book potato competition with many
                         amazing entries including a cool cat in the hat, a pretty little
                         red riding hood, an awesome Harry Potter, a brilliant
                         Oompa-loompa and the
                         list goes on! The poor
judges had the extremely hard job of choosing
the winners despite them all being phenomenally
imaginative and unique! There were eventually
two prizes: one for Abby Copperwheat’s ‘Little
Red Riding Hood’ and Chloe Ashby for three
separate fantastic entries.

Along with all the other fun and excitement we
held a book quiz, which went very well. All the
students had a chance to find all the teachers
favourite books! It was great; there were people
dressed up in their marvellous costumes and
getting to know the tutors’ favourite reads!

Holywell News - Holywell School
World book day was such a great day and to top it
                                     all off, we got sent home before the end of the day
                                     because of the snow. It was such a cold day so
                                     we all wrapped up warm to come into school. The
                                     English prefects walked around school taking
                                     photos of your costumes and ended up covered
                                     from head to toe in snow! While we were waiting
                                     to go home we read our books and watched
                                     poems. Overall, world book day was the best day
                                     ever! By Niamh Whelan, Amy Wallace and
                                     Molly Davenport.

Music Department News
Exam Success:
Congratulations to the following students:

Jacob Rowley         Grade 3 Drum Kit              Pass
Oliver Dazley        Grade 1 Drum Kit              Distinction

Instrumental lessons
Quite a number of children are relying on the office to remind them to go for their
instrumental lessons. Whilst our office staff do try to help as many as possible, it is just
not possible to tannoy all children to remind them. As you can imagine it is very disruptive
to the rest of the school.

We would be grateful if you could remind your child that it is their
responsibility to check the timetable (they are always put up well in advance)
and to turn up on time. We recommend that they write the lesson times in
their school planner.

If a tutor is absent a notice will be put up as soon as we are informed and the tutor will
make up the missed lesson at the end of the term. Please do not hesitate to contact me
at school if your child is experiencing any problems with instrumental lessons. Thank you
for all your support.                                                       Miss Love

MK Festival of the Arts

First time attendee, Skyla Lasham (Year 5), swept 3 out of 4 medals at
this year’s 50th MK Festival of the Arts.

Hosted at Walton High School in Walnut Tree, Skyla walked away from
her first ever piano competition with two silvers and one bronze for her
preparatory pieces, Giga, When the Saints go marching in and Fur Elise.

Adjudicated by Barry Clark and Nancy Litton, Skyla was one out of 3500
entrants to take part in the biggest performing arts festival in Milton Keynes.

Enthusiastic at her win, Skyla, home taught by stepmum, Carolyn Gillies, is looking
forward to next year’s festival.

Other success stories from the Milton Keynes Festival included Molly Davenport,
who was 2nd in her category. She sang ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ and was presented with
Holywell News - Holywell School
a medal and certificate and Chloe Ranger gained a 1st place and Distinction with ‘Asian
Tiger Prowl’, a grade 1 piece.

Congratulations to you all.                                                Miss Love

Big Band Night
On 17th March, young, talented musicians and their families
gathered into the gym for an evening of food and great
music. Mr Probert was the host of the evening, as well as
leading the band. A great raffle was held during the interval
giving Miss Warren a huge hamper containing alcohol,
chocolates and other goodies.

We played many songs, such as The Flik Machine, Beauty and the Beast, A Wonderful
World and other great classics. All in all, it was a great night. Thank you to Mrs
Donnellan, Mrs Purves, Miss Warren, Mrs Butchard, Mrs Sheppard, Miss Love and
Mr Probert.                                            by Ben Hardy

                               Exam Success
Congratulations to Ashvin Kaur, who achieved
GCE AS Punjabi at Grade A*.

Well done, Ashvin!

                      Science Department News
It has been a very busy and exciting half term for the
Science department. Please take some time to read about
the exciting events we have carried out for British Science
Week 2018, which both students and staff enjoyed

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the
continuing support of the department in particular with the
core homework and enrichment. The department and I
have been overwhelmed with the standard of enrichment.
The most recent year 6 shadow puppet enrichment was excellent. The year 8
science fair enrichments pieces demonstrated fantastic skill and subject
knowledge. It is clear that all students have applied high levels of effort and
creativity, and it has been a pleasure to feedback on so many outstanding pieces.
A very special thank you to all the department for their hard work, commitment and
dedication to the promotion and delivery of a high quality science curriculum.

On behalf of the department I would like to wish you a happy, restful and peaceful
Easter break with your family and friends.

Holywell News - Holywell School
Summer exam information and dates
Exam information and key dates will be appearing on our HUSTLE VLE page by
the end of this week. This will also include key revision topics as well as
homework, websites and a range of suitable activities to work through at home.
These topics will be discussed with students during Science lessons

Easter Science activities
As we approach Spring and the Easter break it is the ideal time to see Science in
action. From the birth of new-born lambs and spring flowers in bloom to the impact
of the start of British Summer Time, it is a fantastic period to explore the wonderful
world of Science. The department will be adding several activities via our bulletin
tab ideal for family fun and discussion. Activities include “Science from my
window”, “The feelings of spring” and “Plant power”.

Topics for term 3

   5       Life processes
   6       Year 6 revision
   7       Mixing, dissolving and separating/Elements, compounds and reactions
   8       Energy needs of the human body/Plants and ecosystems

British Science Week is a national event that aims to celebrate the advancements,
improvements and successes of science across all levels. Schools are encouraged
to step outside of the box and capture the imagination of all learners and staff.
It’s safe to say that we certainly did that! Holywell science week is famous for
creating long lasting memories of our wonderful subject. We wanted memories to
be created and the wonder of science to explode across the school. All of the
money raised from British Science Week went to Sport Relief. They stood out in all
weathers selling a range of items and promoting the department gunging.

Big Bang fair
We went to the Big Bang fair in
Birmingham which was held at the
NEC. It was amazing! My favourite
part was setting the reflect
machine record from 35 to 93 hits
in 30 seconds! The day was
Peter N –Year 8

I had a great time in Birmingham!
We had a chance to try lots of
different activities, 3d scanners,
virtual reality demos, making our
own cars from salt water and meeting people from the Royal Navy. I would
go again! It was fantastic!            Alex H, Aneesa and Luke M-Year 8

Holywell News - Holywell School
Great Scientific Bake off!
Holywell Middle School was hugely proud and positively charged to present the
first Great Science Bake Off – a baking competition with a difference! Competitors
were encouraged to bring along their best baking effort, decorated with a scientific
theme. We saw over 100
bakes of insects, bacteria,
planets, organs and test
tubes. Baking was very
much science in action.
Bakes had to be either
biscuit or cake based. We
linked with the house
system this year and
created colourful cakes
linked to St Andrew, St
David, St George and St

Our very own judging panel consisted of Miss Warren, Mr Crapnell, Mr Smith and
Mrs Cowling who tasted each individual bake. It was a fantastic experience for all!
We are looking forward to next year already!

Quote from the winners

Jasmyn-Year 5
For BSW I entered the science bake and won the overall house prize. I was
so pleased! I had a test tube on my bake and it was the four colours of the
house system being poured in to it. I thought it was really creative!

Mitchell and Shelby White-Creative cake winner (top row-middle picture)
We really enjoyed making our cake. It took us around three hours! We really
liked all the decorations on the cake. It was really nice to win.

Gam-Year 5
I really enjoyed making my cake! It had lots of different planets on and it look
a long time to make. Everyone tried really hard and they all looked amazing. I
am very pleased I took part.

Fancy dress and crazy wigs!
The department was joined by Tim Peake, Mary Anning, Albert Einstein, Marie
Curie and Helen Sharman, the first female British astronaut in space. It was a day
to celebrate the past, examine current issues and imagine what science would be
like in the future. Every group looked at the philosophical question: “Do scientists
all have crazy hair?” Mr Smith had a bright blue wig demonstrating alkalis, and
Miss Butchard matched her hair to the rainbow fizz practical.

Lunch time activities
Lunchtime saw a range of organs being dissected to show the inner workings of
mammals, making slime, bouncing custard balls and the crazy Van Der Graaf

                                       - 10 -
Science week activities were amazing! Something new and exciting
everyday…I couldn’t believe it. Tuesday was my favourite lunchtime slot. I
got to make bouncing custard balls, rainbow fizz, elephant’s toothpaste and
slime! Friday arrived at last! The day everyone had been waiting for! THE
GUNGE! Everyone was cheering….Mr Ulph and Miss B got gunged. It was
awesome!                                                       Ridley-Year 5

I really enjoyed my first BSW at Holywell. I tried lots of different activities
including dissection!                                           Aurora-Year 5

The Weakest Link!
Our very own version of The Weakest Link took place at lunchtime with several of
teachers taking part. We had two special guest competitors in the form of Peter
Nash and Alex Hill. It was a hard fought race with the front runner Mr Brook
surprisingly getting knocked out in round 1 .Alex Hill, who had a tough start,
eventually overcame the outstanding Mr Ulph in the final head-to-head and was
crowned the “Strongest Link”! A very special thank you to everyone who took part.

Science enrichment fair project
The department held a science fair project to demonstrate the fantastic subject
knowledge of year 8. The posters produced showed a real commitment to scientific
research. Please take some time to look the pictures on HUSTLE. Well Done year

George’s Marvellous Medicine
The year 6 pupils were given the task of creating their own version of George's
marvelous medicine for BSW.

Firstly, pupils looked at getting the colour right and
thought about materials George could use around the
home. They used the water soluble dyes from Skittles
sweets to think about colours dissolving. This task also
introduced the concept of density.

Year 6 then had great fun putting random ingredients
together to make something 'even grandma would drink'.
They layered liquids like washing up liquid, golden syrup
and milk together to make a striking density tower and
then judged the class winner. Fun times were had by all!

Gunging 2018
As time passed, the gunging grand finale drew ever
closer! The votes had been counted and the final number had been submitted to
Mrs Donnellan.

Miss Butchard and Mr Ulph arrived at the gunging site first ready to face the glittery
gunge. The KS3 helpers had worked hard to prepare the gruesome goo. Mr Smith
and Mrs Sheppard took a while to appear, with the crowd chanting their name
when he eventually arrived. Mrs Donnellan announced the final vote totals. First to
be gunged with over 300 votes was Mr Ulph! The second teacher to be gunged
was Miss Butchard with over 125 votes! Screams and cheers filled the air as Mr
                                        - 11 -
Salamon and Mrs Bassett took on
the task of dumping the gunge
and both Miss Butchard and Mr
Ulph were quickly covered from
head to toe.
When Mr Ulph got gunged it
looked like he was an alien! It
was amazing! I loved it       -
Matthew-Year 5

Quote from Miss Butchard
“An     incredibly   successful
week, topped off with an awfully disgusting end. A concoction of vinegar,
flour, honey and food colouring made for a weirdly tasty ‘gunge’.

Our fluffy visitors!
                             Holywell has been host to some fluffy visitors over
                             the last weeks. They have been a delight to host. We
                             have watched them hatch and grow in to young
                             chicks. They are just beginning to develop their white
                             feathers. They are going to be adopted by a friend of
                             Holywell and we will have a chance to document their
                             progress. We will keep the Holywell community
                             updated! Please visit HUSTLE for some more
                             photographs of the chicks. Well Done to the students
who looked after the chicks during their time at Holywell.

The chicks are so cute and I have
really enjoyed looking after them!
Kiara-Year 7

It’s such an amazing experience
having the chicks in school. Seeing
them hatch, eat and sleep is a
massive privilege. It’s also quite fun
just watching them - it relaxes a lot
of people, including us! We can’t wait to have them again. The live camera
was excellent. We got to watch what was going on-seeing them move
around and be cheeky was great. Looking forward to next year already!
Chloe and Keely-Year 6

Science week competition winners will be announced in a special praise assembly
just before the Easter break.

KS3 helpers-student review
Last week it was science week! I was a helper at lunchtime and it was great.
On the first day I helped with the making poo practical. It was looked horrible
but great fun. Everyone enjoyed doing it! My favourite was bouncing custard
balls. We had glue, borax and custard everywhere! I really enjoyed helping
the other students. We had to make the gunge on Friday…EVERYTHING
went in it! It is such a good experience to have.    Peter and George-Year 8
                                       - 12 -
Design Technology Visit to Cranfield University

On 8th March a group of us went on a day trip to Cranfield University, to show off the
amazing ‘Car of the Future’ project.

We were competing against other schools and there were some special visitors there, like
the Duke of Kent, the Head of Cranfield University and the Queen’s Representative. The
day included explaining our projects to everyone there. We also had a look around the
Uni and were even lectured on airplane design and toilets. We saw some old and new
cars, then had lunch.

                                                              After lunch we managed
                                                              to meet a Formula One
                                                              race car driver and even
                                                              had a go on the Formula
                                                              Car Simulator. Awards
                                                              were ten handed out to
                                                              the winners for their
                                                              projects. Everyone from
                                                              Holywell won!

                                                              After heading back, we
                                                              all thanked Mr Salamon
                                                              and Mrs Jenkins for such
                                                              a      wonderful    day,
                                                              experience and insight
                                                              into engineering.
                                                                 By Udoka Fintelmann

                                         - 13 -
Art Department News

        - 14 -
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               SPRING TERM 2018
          End of Term – Wednesday 28th March

              SUMMER TERM 2018
           Term Begins – Monday 16th April
              May Day - Monday 7th May
     Half Term – Monday 28th May to Friday 1st June
             End of Term – Friday 20th July

Please note that dates may differ from other schools


       Year 6 Students - Key Stage 2 SATs
            14th May - 17th May 2018

                  Year 5 Tests
              30 April - 2nd May 2018

                  Year 7 Tests
              30 April - 2nd May 2018

                 Year 8 Tests
             21 May - 23rd May 2018


                        - 17 -
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD
T 0300 123 4234

21 March 2018

Mr Michael Simpson
Holywell School
Red Lion Close
MK43 0JA

Dear Mr Simpson

Short inspection of Holywell School

Following my visit to the school on 6 March 2018 with Phillip Barr, Ofsted Inspector, I write on
behalf of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills to report the
inspection findings. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged
to be good in October 2014.

This school continues to be good.

The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last

You are rightly proud of the impact of your school’s values-driven philosophy. Your values,
including tolerance, forgiveness and kindness, are displayed prominently around the school site
and they permeate the school’s ethos through assemblies, charity work and roles such as values
ambassador. Pupils speak very proudly of the impact of these values on both themselves and the
school. They say that the school’s values make them think and act more thoughtfully and
positively as well as making the school a better place.

You have high expectations of staff and pupils. You have taken decisive action since your
appointment in September 2017 to review the organisation of the senior leadership team and to
introduce new, more rigorous approaches to monitoring, evaluation and improvement planning. As
a consequence, leaders have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and what they
should expect of others. You are currently implementing a number of important developments,
such as a new assessment system, that are rightly focused on your evaluation of the school’s
priorities. You acknowledge that it is still too early to see the full impact of these actions.

Pupils are well behaved and have very positive attitudes to learning. They are proud of their
school and they are excellent ambassadors both in and out of the classroom. They value the high
quality of teaching, from which they benefit, and they welcome the wide range of extra-curricular
opportunities available to them. Pupils’ positive views of the school are shared both by their
parents and your staff. An overwhelming majority of staff who completed the Ofsted questionnaire
state that they are proud to work at the school, while a very high proportion of parents say that the
school is well led and that they would recommend it to others.

Leaders have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and they are
committed to its continued improvement. As a consequence, the quality of teaching has improved
since the school’s previous inspection. Pupils value the enhanced support that they are now given
by teachers to improve their work and this has had a marked and positive impact upon their
                                                - 18 -
progress. You acknowledge that, although approaches to homework have improved since the
previous inspection, a further review of the school’s current homework policy is needed.

Governors provide you with support and accountability. They know the school well and are
passionate about its inclusive approach to education. Governors provide challenge through their
various committees, full governing body meetings and visits to the school. They are keen to
review their approaches to school visits to enable them to link more closely with school leaders.
You, leaders and governors are in agreement about the need to ensure that disadvantaged pupils’
progress continues to improve and that these pupils attend school more regularly. You also
acknowledge the need to embed your new approaches to assessment, so that they further
accelerate pupils’ progress.

Safeguarding is effective.

The leadership team has ensured that safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose.

Pupils are unanimous about the fact that they are safe at school, as are all of the staff and parents
who responded to the Ofsted surveys. Pupils say that, on the rare occasions it happens, bullying
is dealt with swiftly and effectively. They state that they attend a caring school and that there is
always someone to help them if needed. They value their personal, social and health education
(PSHE) curriculum that covers topics such as sex and relationships education, e-safety and

Governors have a clear understanding of their safeguarding duties and they are effective in
carrying them out. Leaders undertake all appropriate recruitment checks and ensure that staff are
well trained and know how to identify any signs that pupils are at risk. Staff understand the
school’s systems for reporting concerns and they state that safeguarding is a fundamental part of
the school’s culture. Safeguarding records are well kept and any child protection referrals are
monitored robustly.

Inspection findings

      We pursued a number of lines of enquiry to ascertain whether the school continues to be
       good. Our first question related to the extent to which the quality of teaching is improving
       and its impact on the progress of the most able pupils.
      Leaders have improved the quality of teaching since the previous inspection through a
       combination of effective training, collaborative work with other local schools, increased
       expectations and greater consistency among teachers. Teachers’ strengths and
       weaknesses are now evaluated using a wider range of evidence and training is tailored to
       teachers’ individual needs. As a result of close monitoring and support, leaders accurately
       identify the strengths and weaknesses of teaching. They demonstrate impact when helping
       teachers to improve their practice.
      As a result of leaders’ actions, the overall progress of the most able pupils currently in the
       school is good and improving. Where progress is particularly strong it is as a result of
       planned learning activities that are closely linked to the most able pupils’ starting points
       and where teachers’ deep subject knowledge enables them to question the most able
       pupils critically and challenge their thinking. High-quality relationships between the most
       able pupils and their teachers mean that they are confident to take advice from their
       teachers and make further improvements to their work.
      The most able pupils’ improving progress over time is seen in regular assessments that
       are benchmarked against other pupils nationally with similar starting points. The work in
       the most able pupils’ books also demonstrates that they are making good overall progress.
       However, there are examples, both in lessons and in the most able pupils’ books, where
       their progress is less rapid. The most able pupils say that, occasionally, tasks in lessons
       and homework can be repetitive or lack challenge.
      A second line of enquiry related to the impact of leaders’ actions to improve progress in
       mathematics at key stage 2. Effective leadership, monitoring and support of both staff and
       pupils has resulted in pupils making improved progress in this area. Pupils have a clear
       understanding of what they are studying and how it fits into the mathematics curriculum.

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   The standard of work in pupils’ mathematics books is high and leaders’ assessment
       policies are implemented consistently. As a result, pupils benefit significantly from the
       conversations that they have with their teachers that outline their strengths, weaknesses
       and targets for improvement. Teachers’ subject knowledge and questioning are a
       particular strength. From when they join the school, pupils make at least good overall
       progress by the end of key stage 2 and this continues through to the end of Year 8.
      Finally, we wanted to check how effective leaders have been in their work to improve the
       progress, attendance and behaviour of disadvantaged pupils. Through carefully planned
       strategies, strong pastoral care and the establishment of high expectations, leaders have
       been successful in their actions to improve the behaviour of disadvantaged pupils.
       Disadvantaged pupils display the same very positive attitudes to learning as their non-
       disadvantaged peers. The number of disadvantaged pupils receiving fixed-term exclusions
       is low.
      Leaders’ work to reduce the absence of disadvantaged pupils has been less successful.
       The absence rate of this group of pupils remains higher than both their non-disadvantaged
       peers their non-disadvantaged peers within the school and non-disadvantaged pupils
       nationally. There has been a reduction in the proportion of disadvantaged pupils who are
       persistently absent from school but it is still high. Leaders acknowledge the link between
       attending school and making good progress. Although leaders are able to demonstrate the
       improving progress of many disadvantaged pupils, their progress is less consistent than
       their non-disadvantaged peers.

Next steps for the school

Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that:
    they further reduce the differences in progress and absence between disadvantaged
      pupils and all pupils nationally
    the recent changes made to assessment systems are embedded, so that pupils’ progress
      is further accelerated.

I am copying this letter to the chair of the board of trustees, the director of education for the
Diocese of St Albans, the regional schools commissioner and the director of children’s services for
Central Bedfordshire. This letter will be published on the Ofsted website.

Yours sincerely

Daniel Gee
Her Majesty’s Inspector

Information about the inspection

During the inspection, inspectors met with you, school leaders, other school staff, trustees and
groups of pupils. Together with you and other school leaders, we made short visits to a wide
range of classes to observe teaching, look at pupils’ books and to see pupils at work. We
reviewed school documents about self-evaluation, development planning and safeguarding,
including the single central record and records of child protection. We also considered the 81
responses to the Ofsted online questionnaire, Parent View, from parents and the 31 responses
from staff to the Ofsted questionnaire.

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