A Herefordshire Primary School has been rated as ‘good’ following a recent Ofsted inspection.

Pencombe Church of England Primary School received a visit from Ofsted on 10th April 2024.

The report said:

“The pupils, their parents and the staff agree that Pencombe Church of England Primary School is like one big family. There is a strong sense of community and belonging here; pupils don’t just attend ‘this’ school, they attend ‘their’ school.

“Pupils behave well in class and during playtimes. They are kind and considerate towards others and social times are harmonious. 

“Pupils of all ages play nicely together and older pupils relish helping their younger friends. 

“Pupils say that incidences of unkindness or poor behaviour are very rare. They have complete trust in the adults to sort out any issues and to keep them safe. 

“This is a very happy, inclusive place to learn. Pupils are rarely absent because the school works hard to encourage high attendance.

“Teachers have high expectations of what pupils can achieve. Pupils work hard to meet these, enjoying their learning along the way.

“Despite the school being very small and geographically isolated, pupils receive a wealth of opportunities and cultural experiences in this outward-looking school. 

“They are well prepared for their next school and for later life.

“The school has put in place a curriculum in all subjects, which is carefully organised to build pupils’ knowledge over time. 

“Teachers present information clearly and they have good subject knowledge. 

“They use questioning effectively to ensure all pupils are involved and to develop pupils’ thinking. Teachers skilfully adapt learning to make sure all pupils can access the curriculum.

“They quickly identify if pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities and provide additional support.

“The school has ensured that key learning is revisited regularly so that pupils develop a secure understanding. 

“For example, in history they revisit key concepts, such as cause and consequence. 

“This means pupils gain a deeper understanding of the periods of history they study. Older pupils, for example, are able to explain in detail how and why the Second World War started.

“In mathematics, teachers provide short revision sessions at the start of each day. 

“This helps clear up pupils’ misconceptions. Pupils become confident, successful mathematicians who love a challenge. They are skilled at talking about their mathematical reasoning.

“Younger pupils enjoy learning phonics in daily lessons. Each lesson revisits sounds pupils have learned before so, over time, pupils become secure in their phonic knowledge. 

“Pupils read at home regularly to their parents and the school supports parents well to make this effective. Staff who teach phonics have good knowledge of the school’s approach.

“However, the school has not been explicit enough about how adults hear pupils read and this is inconsistent. As a result, weaker readers do not get the quality of reading practise they need to develop fluency as quickly as they could.

“There is a strong culture of reading at Pencombe. Teachers regularly read aloud to pupils to introduce them to high-quality literature. 

“Pupils enjoy reading widely and are enthusiastic about sharing their recommendations with others. Reading even continues in the playground, helped by ‘Susan’ the pink ‘book wheelbarrow’.

“The curriculum beyond the academic is extensive, despite the size of this school. 

“Pupils take on active leadership roles, such as becoming school councillors and reading ambassadors. They play an active role during collective worship at the local church and organise charitable events. They even attend community coffee mornings. 

“The school has been careful to ensure that pupils learn about diversity and equality. 

“The school makes deliberate decisions to challenge stereotypes. These include such things as the books pupils are read and the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum which the school follows. 

“As a result, pupils are understanding and respectful of difference, being well prepared to become active citizens in modern Britain.

“The school has been proactive and effective in making use of close links with a group of local schools. This collaboration has brought many valuable opportunities to the school. For instance, teachers can share expertise with colleagues from other settings. Also, pupils benefit from taking part in a range of inter-school activities, including sporting competitions.

“Parents have high regard for this school. 

“The school has been successful in engaging and working alongside parents in the best interests of their children.

“Parents appreciate the information they receive and the dedication of school staff. 

“Governors and leaders are mindful of staff workload and well-being. Staff feel valued, are very proud to work here and to be a part of the Pencombe family.”

You can read the full report by visiting – https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50246430