Gilsland C of E Primary

Gilsland C of E  Primary School Ofsted Report

23 pupils -  June 2011 - Overall Achievement : Grade 1 - Capacity for sustained improvement Grade 1

Pupil Outcome Grades 9 x 1 : 2 x 2

The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is below average. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is high- in some year groups as high as 100 per cent. The proportion of pupils with a statement of special educational needs is also high.

This is an outstanding school. Pupils' achievement is outstanding as a result of outstanding provision and the vibrant and warm environment created for their learning. Staff nurture successfully an ethos of self-esteem and respect for others, which is central to the school's harmonious learning community. At the heart of the school's work are outstanding levels of care and support and a very creative, stimulating curriculum, which is supported by outstanding partnerships and engagement with parents and carers. The school's work in safeguarding pupils is excellent. Consequently, pupils feel very safe, know how to adopt healthy lifestyles, behave impeccably and have outstanding attitudes to school. Pupils have developed a deep understanding of how they can contribute to cohesion within their school, the local community and the wider world. They are exceptionally well prepared for the next stages of their education.

Throughout the school teaching is never less than good. Much is outstanding. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make an excellent start due to outstanding planning, in which children play an active part. Teaching and support staff work together exceptionally well. In targeted areas, such as writing, pupils make outstanding progress. Teachers provide pupils with a real purpose for their work and every opportunity is taken to put the knowledge and skills gained into action. Although good, progress in mathematics is not yet as rapid. The school has identified that older pupils do not always use their basic skills, for example place value, well enough in new learning. Teachers are beginning to use the lessons learned from the improved provision for writing to increase the rate of pupils' progress in mathematics.

High mobility and very small pupil numbers make comparisons with national averages difficult but inspection evidence indicates that attainment at the end of Year 6 is generally above average and overall progress is outstanding. A strength of the school is how well pupils, whenever they arrive, are integrated into the school family. They rapidly gain in self-confidence and make very fast progress because teachers use assessment of pupils' individual abilities exceptionally well to ensure they are provided with a curriculum tailored to their individual needs. As one recently admitted pupil commented, 'I feel like I have been here for years'. The school is highly effective in ensuring that all pupils have equal opportunities for success. Those with special educational needs and/or disabilities also make outstanding progress.

Pupils thoroughly enjoy school and their achievement is outstanding. Children generally enter the Reception class with attainment levels below those expected overall, although attainment in personal, social and emotional development is increasingly higher. Throughout the school all pupils take great pride in their work and generally present it well. Pupils of all abilities have an excellent understanding of how to work independently. They respond exceptionally well to opportunities to direct their own learning. They sensibly reflect whether or not they have met their objectives within lessons and, with support from staff, set targets for their next steps in order to progress as well as they can. This moderation of their own work is particularly effective in contributing to their outstanding progress in writing. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities make outstanding progress from their starting points. As a result, many attain the expected level for their age by the time they leave the school in most aspects of their learning.

Pupils have a strong voice in the life of the school and develop skills which prepare them exceptionally well for the future. They make very good use of information and communication technology to research, investigate and present their ideas and relish the opportunities provided to engage in enterprise activities, such as how they will generate a profit on 'funds day'. Pupils feel very safe and have a well-developed understanding of how to avoid unsafe situations. They have an excellent understanding of the importance of a healthy diet and are keen to participate in sporting opportunities, for example, those available through the sports partnership. Pupils' behaviour is outstanding and their contribution to the school and local community is extremely good. They have a deep sense of fairness and an astute understanding of their own and others' place in the world. They express themselves maturely and confidently when they talk about social and moral issues. They relish the opportunities to explore the natural world provided through the locality of their school and develop a deep understanding of their responsibility to sustain this beauty and its resources for others.

Under the exceptional leadership of the headteacher all staff have developed a shared philosophy and desire to provide each pupil with the best possible chance to succeed. As a result of rigorous and accurate self-evaluation, improvement strategies have been highly effective in bringing about rapid improvement in every aspect of the school's work. This demonstrates the school's outstanding capacity for sustained improvement.