Inspection Report

Finaghy Primary School

Inspection Summary

October 2012

The accommodation and resources in this school and the wider campus are outstanding. They are used extensively to enhance the experiences of the families within the school and are clearly valued by the wider local community.

Finaghy Primary School is situated at the centre of a large seven acre site which also accommodates a wide range of community services which include a public library, sports facility, community playgroup and day-care. These additional services are all linked to deliver a comprehensive extended schools facility. The enrolment in the school has remained steady over the past four years rising slightly in the current year to 423 pupils. The quality of the children’s achievements and standards is very good.

Almost all of the children display positive attitudes to and dispositions for learning. The younger children are independent, imaginative and creative during their play-based activity sessions. As the children progress through the school they can engage effectively during group and paired work. They are confident to take on roles and responsibilities through involvement in the pupil council, team sports, music and drama. The children are developing very good ICT skills. They use a very wide range of modern equipment, software and programmable devices with increasing confidence and independence as they progress through the school.

Most of the children attain very good standards in literacy and mathematics by the end of year 7. The children listen attentively, read with fluency and can produce extended pieces of writing across a range of genre.

During the inspection, the younger children showed a knowledge of important ideas and concepts By the end of KS2, the most able children talk with enthusiasm and very good understanding about their work in mathematics across a broad range of areas including number, measure, shape and space and data-handling.

The children in the school who have been identified with special educational needs make good progress in their learning in line with their ability.

Throughout the school, the children attain very good standards in ICT.

Most of the teaching observed was very good or better with almost half of the lessons observed being of a very good or outstanding quality. In the most effective practice the teachers use skilful questioning which encourages the children to think clearly and give good quality, extended responses. In addition there are well-planned learning opportunities which engage the children fully and challenge them appropriately. The teachers provide the children with good oral or written feedback to help improve their work and the children themselves peer and self-assess their work. The teachers use ICT and digital media with confidence to support teaching and learning.

The quality of the arrangements for pastoral care is very good. There is a caring and inclusive ethos throughout the school and a strong commitment by the staff to the welfare of the children.

The dedicated staff facilitate an excellent range of extra-curricular activities which enhance the children’s learning and development. The behaviour and attitude of the pupils is of a very high standard. The school actively promotes and celebrates the children’s wide variety of cultural backgrounds.

The quality of the provision for special educational needs is good. As a result of the Reading Recovery support, the small number of the younger children involved have all shown improvement in their reading. Daily withdrawal sessions in literacy for target groups of children from years 4 to 6 are of a good quality, and improvements are evident.

The school gives very good attention to promoting healthy eating and physical activity. The children’s involvement in environmental activities through the Eco garden and the wide range of sports available encourages the children to adopt healthy lifestyles.

The leadership and management of the school is characterised by the high proportion of staff holding positions of responsibility, giving a shared approach to whole school improvement. A very good start has been made to gathering and discussing a range of assessment data and designing methods to monitor and evaluate aspects of the teaching and learning.

The parent-teacher association actively supports the school and parents are also encouraged to be involved as volunteers. The school continues to develop ways to keep parents informed through for example the school website and a text messaging service.

The governors bring a wide range of professional expertise and enthusiasm to their work. They support the Principal effectively by sharing responsibility for aspects of the management of the extended services and through regular communication with the staff and the children.

On the basis of the evidence available at the time of the inspection, the school has comprehensive arrangements in place for safeguarding children

The responses from the parental questionnaires indicated a very high level of satisfaction with the provision in the school. In particular, the parents expressed their appreciation of the extended services, the caring staff and the support for children identified with a range of additional needs.

In discussions with the governors they reported their appreciation of the hard work and dedication of the Principal and the whole staff team.