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SIAS Report

National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report

Type of school (Infant, Primary, Middle, Secondary etc)

Primary

Status (VA, VC or Foundation, CTC or Academy)

Voluntary Controlled

Diocese

Oxford

Local Authority

Oxfordshire

Dates of inspection

11th October 2010

Date of last inspection

28th November 2007

School’s Unique reference number

123123

Name of Headteacher

Mrs Karen Metcalf

Name of Chair of Governors

Mr Nicholas Ruscombe-King

Inspector’s name and NS inspector’s number

Lynne Chillingworth   NS 429

Context

Garsington Church of England School mainly serves Garsington, neighbouring villages and suburbs of the City of Oxford.  A few pupils are from other faith backgrounds.  Some parents are students at Ripon Theological college.  The school enjoys a close relationship with the parish church. 

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Garsington as a Church of England school are good

Established strengths

§  The strong yet sensitive leadership of the headteacher in developing the Christian vision and core values for the school that, when fully developed, have the potential to influence all aspects of the life and work of the school

§  Strong and supportive relationships throughout the school community that are based on implicit Christian values ensure all stakeholders feel included, safe and valued

§  A strong and mutually supportive relationship between the school and the church

Focus for development

§  Foundation governors should ensure that the Christian motivation for the school’s recently agreed core values is clearly defined, fully embedded and recognised by all stakeholders

§  Foundation governors, in partnership with senior leaders, should ensure systematic monitoring and evaluation of the distinctive Christian character of the school includes all stakeholders with outcomes informing future strategic planning. 

The school through its distinctive Christian character is good at meeting the needs of all learners

An implicitly Christian ethos is shared by the whole school community and significantly supports pupils’ good personal, moral and spiritual development.  They are happy at school and show great care and kindness to one another.  The school’s ethos enables strong and supportive relationships with staff providing good role models for pupils that enable them to feel safe and valued.  The school’s core values or “Golden Goals” are clearly important to the pupils who discuss how these influence their lives.  Some are beginning to recognise the Christian motivation for these values that underpin their development and what it means to belong to a church school.  Pupils are keen to take responsibility for themselves, one another and their environment and are proud to have achieved an ECO Green Flag.  Many pupils make good academic progress and the school judges that they make similar progress in religious education.  Attractive religious education displays are prominent in some classrooms and in the corridors, mainly reflecting the recent focus on harvest.  Pupils discuss these with interest and a developing understanding of their significance.   Pupils are enthusiastic about their learning in religious education and this makes a significant contribution to their developing knowledge of Christianity.  This is well supported by visits to the local church.  The subject also contributes effectively to pupils’ developing understanding and respect for those from other faith backgrounds, including some of their school friends, and contributes well to an inclusive and cohesive community.  Christian symbolism on the worship table in the hall support pupils’ developing understanding of the Christian status of the school.  Pupils are proud of their fundraising efforts enabling them to be increasingly aware of their responsibility to support those less well off than themselves, both locally and globally.  The school is said to be at the heart of the community and pupils benefit from and contribute to mutually strong community links.

The impact of collective worship on the school community is good

Most pupils enjoy collective worship and discuss it with enthusiasm.  They value it as a time to meet and share together, particularly enjoying singing and active participation.  Some older pupils have valued opportunities to plan and lead class worship and many would welcome further opportunities.  Pupils appreciate celebration assemblies, which contribute effectively to their self-esteem.  Pupils behave well in assemblies, responding respectfully to the worshipful atmosphere created.  They are well supported by staff whose participation contributes significantly to the sense of a community worshipping together.  Staff express appreciation for worship as an opportunity for reflection during the day.  Planning for collective worship is developing effectively, ensuring a secure Christian foundation is provided for values promoted by the school.  It includes celebration of key Christian festivals as well as acknowledging important festivals for some other faiths.  However, as yet, there is insufficient detail to effectively support class assemblies or visitors.  Class based assemblies are not consistently recognised by pupils as worship.  Pupils have benefited from opportunities for parents from other faith traditions to share their worship practices.  Pupils reflect well on how the school’s “Golden Goals” influence their personal and spiritual development and some are beginning to recognise the Christian motivation that underpins these values.   Pupils enjoy celebrations of key Christian festivals in the church and speak enthusiastically of the stained glass windows and the special quality of sound in the church.  These occasions are well supported and appreciated by parents.  The school is taking active steps to provide further access to worship in the church for parents because space is limited.  Pupils welcome and enjoy the vicar’s regular leadership of worship and this contributes effectively to their developing understanding of Anglican tradition.  During worship pupils make good use of well established opportunities for reflection and prayer to reflect on how the values promoted impact on their lives, however, there few other opportunities for them to regularly contribute to the prayer life of the school.  Evaluations have begun to take account of pupils’ views although few recognise they have opportunities to influence worship.   

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school are satisfactory

An implicitly Christian ethos is well established in the school.  Recently, however, under the strong yet sensitive leadership of the headteacher significant work has been undertaken to review the school’s Christian vision and core values.  This process has received the invaluable support of the diocesan adviser and included representative views of all stakeholders.  The new vision and core values are prominent in the prospectus and are beginning to inform school policies.  These core values are implicitly Christian, however, some stakeholders recognise the distinctively Christian motivation that underpins them.  Further work is required to ensure the distinctively Christian motivation for the core values is well defined, fully embedded and recognised by all stakeholders.  However this is prioritised in the current strategic plan.   Parents confirm that pupils are able to identify how these “Golden Goals” influence their attitudes, relationships and behaviour.  Parents are very supportive of the school and are appreciative of the happy, caring ethos that significantly supports their children’s personal development and well being.  Parents’ views are valued and they confirm that issues raised are promptly and effectively addressed, however as yet there have been few opportunities for them to systematically contribute to the evaluation of the school’s distinctive Christian character.   Foundation governors, including the vicar, are enthusiastic to develop their roles and responsibilities to support and monitor the development of the school’s distinctive Christian character.  As yet, however, their role is underdeveloped, as they have no systematic monitoring and evaluation in place to inform future strategic planning and very limited progress has been made in addressing issues raised at the previous inspection.  The school gives appropriate priority to religious education.  The new and enthusiastic subject coordinator has benefited from diocesan training.  She has an effective action plan in place.  The development of assessment with the support of the diocesan adviser has been appropriately prioritised.   The headteacher has benefited from training in leading worship but as yet there have been no similar opportunities for other staff. The school is committed to providing a thorough staff development programme, however, there have been no opportunities for staff and governors to explore their own spiritual development.   The school enjoys a close and supportive relationship with the church, which provides some practical and prayer support for the school.  A foundation governor provides good links with the Parochial Church Council.    There are limited opportunities for links with other denominations and faiths; however, a Muslim parent has made valuable contributions to pupils’ understanding of her traditions.  Under the leadership of the headteacher, and with the continued support of the diocese, the new Christian vision and core values have the potential to significantly influence all aspects of the life and work of the school.

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