Reading strength recognised at Our Lady of the Rosary

Three things that surprised us about our inspection:

  1. We had one inspector for a two form entry school.  The inspector was happy for the telephone call to be a conference call.  The call was not as gruelling as we had feared – the 90 minutes flew by! Our inspector gave us plenty of opportunity to talk about the strengths of our school and the journey we had been on since the last inspection.
  2. The deep dives were very deep. They were very thorough and really focused on how well the subject leader knew what was happening across the school, from Nursery to Y6, as well as age related expectations in reading and phonics.   The whole of the first morning was devoted to reading and phonics.  The inspector was happy for us to schedule phonics lessons, as she wanted to see the teaching of phonics in all classes from Nursery to Year 2.  Similar questions related to reading were addressed to SLT, subject lead, teachers, governors and pupils and cross-checked with books.
  3. The inspector was very interested in talking to leaders and a cross section of staff about teacher workload and well-being.  Everything that we said as leaders was cross checked when she talked to six members of staff – teachers and TAs.  We have established a staff well-being committee and this led to her talking to staff about the difference it has made to them – she also checked that there was a governor on the committee.

One strength identified by the inspectors was the curriculum:

Reading is a high priority in our school and this was recognised by the inspector.  We have developed a whole school reading plan that runs alongside our phonics plan.  Our reading scheme has been reviewed by our Early Years Lead and Subject Lead, to ensure that the children have access to a range of texts at the right level of challenge, whilst matched to their progress in phonics.  Reading for pleasure has also been a focus, with investment in book areas, quality texts, reading incentives for pupils and extra-curricular activities linked to the enjoyment of reading.

The inspectors were able to identify this strength because everyone could talk confidently about reading – pupils, teachers, TAs, subject lead, SLT and governors.  Our pupils make good progress in reading and this is monitored carefully.  Expectations for different phases and groups are clear; appropriate intervention and support is available for reading.  The importance of reading is evident through the classroom environments, outdoor environments, the quality of resources and systems within the school to celebrate and develop a reading culture.  The inspector was impressed with our school libraries, classroom book areas and the quality of our reading scheme books, as well as the range of books available for children to enjoy outside of the scheme.