Thornbury junior school’s values and ambitions praised in Ofsted report

A THORNBURY junior school’s “safe and nurturing environment” and ambitions for all pupils have been praised by an inspector.

Crossways Junior School in Knapp Road has been rated ‘good’ overall in its first inspection by regulator Ofsted since the start of the pandemic.

The watchdog visited in February this year, and said school leaders ensured that the school values of “contribute, aspire, respect and equality (CARE)” were at the heart of everything they do. 

However the inspector said that while the grade had not changed since the previous inspection, there was evidence the school might not get such a high grade in a more detailed inspection, which will be carried out next time round.

Inspector Alan Derry said in his report: “Staff are ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs or disabilities.

“Pupils work hard, enjoy learning and take great pride in their achievements.”

The inspector said pupils are friendly and welcoming, and supportive of each other. 

He added: “As they grow in this safe and nurturing environment, pupils develop confidence and self-esteem.”

The school has 241 pupils aged seven to 11, and is run in a federation with Crossways Infant School at the same site.

The report says pupils behave well, and are polite and courteous. It also says staff are passionate about providing the best learning opportunities, and reading in particular has a high priority. 

Robust leadership of the provision for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities ensures that pupils with the greatest level of need learn well in school, the inspector said. 

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective, and leaders place a strong emphasis on the well-being of their staff team. Staff feel valued and are proud to work at the school. 

However, the report identifies some areas for improvement, and says that in the wider curriculum, teachers do not always focus sharply enough on the important knowledge pupils need to remember. 

It says: “Leaders must complete the curriculum work they have already started in conjunction with the local authority and ensure consistent implementation across all classes.

“Not all pupils who are struggling to learn to read are achieving as well as they could.

“Leaders have correctly identified the next steps for improvement.”

It also says some pupils, currently working below age-related expectations, are not achieving as well as they could, adding: “They are not always supported sufficiently to catch up in core areas of their learning such as mathematics. Leaders should continue to embed the agreed teaching approach and where necessary support teachers to implement proven interventions to help these pupils catch up quickly.”

Headteacher Jo Geoghegan said: “I am pleased that Ofsted recognised that Crossways is a safe, nurturing environment where pupils develop well.  

“I am incredibly proud of our pupils and staff and the work they do every day to make Crossways a great place to learn.   

“There are always things schools can do better and with the support of our community I am confident that the school will go from strength to strength.’

Picture: The Junior Choir from Crossways School won two trophies in the Thornbury Eisteddfod. The choir, made up of children age from seven to 11, performed a number of songs including the Gary Barlow hit, Sing, before an audience of parents and residents. Crossways pupils also performed in the speech and drama, and musical theatre categories.