Local parents listing The Dolphin School as one of their choices of primary school for children starting school in September 2015 will be interested to hear that the school recently received “Good” in its first Ofsted inspection.
The report explained that “Pupils across the school achieve well and attainment is rising rapidly,” and that “Relationships throughout the school are highly positive.”
Inspector Hazel Callaghan visited the school in Cheltenham Road in July, when it had 60 reception-class pupils and 30 in Year 1. This academic year, another 60 children have joined The Dolphin, which is part of the Colston’s Girls School Trust. Eventually the school will have places for 420 pupils aged four to 11.
Ms Callaghan reported that expectations were high at the school and said that staff and pupils benefited from the support and expertise of staff from other schools in the trust.
“Partnerships with parents and carers are good and strengthening daily as they get involved in the work of the school and their children’s activities.
“Pupils achieve well and make generally good progress in developing a wide range of skills and knowledge. Many pupils make outstanding progress in Year 1 especially in reading.
“Teaching is typically good through the school and some outstanding practice is used to help pupils understand how they can make their work even better.”
Ms Callaghan noted that pupils were happy at school, collaborated effectively, behaved well and were proud of their work:
“In all classes the pupils are given lots of praise and encouragement and their styles of learning are recognised and supported so they become confident learners ready for the next stage of their learning.”
“An exciting range of visits and other activities enhance children’s experiences and extends their knowledge and understanding of the world.“
The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups at The Dolphin School is much higher than in most primary schools.
Ms Callaghan highlighted the carnival club in which 40 children with their parents, led by two staff members, developed costumes and dances for the St Paul’s Carnival.
“They had great fun and the impact of the experience was immense for all who took part. One girl in reception was heard to say, ‘It was the best day of my life.’”
The report noted that the higher than average number of children with special educational needs and disabilities and those with barriers to learning because of difficulties in their lives were supported well.
It also said that children eligible for the pupil premium – additional funding for those on free school meals – had achieved well and the gap between their attainment and that of other pupils in the school had closed for many of them.
Ms Callaghan rated the school as good in all categories and said that head teacher Naomi Triggol, who took up her post in January 2014, was the driving force for improvement.
Ms Triggol said: “We have invested significantly in developing the curriculum beyond the classroom walls as we believe passionately that real experience accelerates and deepens learning, catering for all learning styles in a fun and fabulous way.”
She added that one area for development identified in the report – improving outdoor play and learning areas – had already been addressed and facilities would be further enhanced with the opening of a forest play area.
Chair of governors Sonia Mills said: “The governors were very pleased with the outcome of the assessment as we have high aspirations for the children at our school. With the team of very able teachers we have we know that all children are progressing well, and we aim to continue to improve as the school grows.”
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For more information about The Dolphin Primary School and other local primary schools, please see the Bishopston Mum Primary Schools Education page.