National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools Report

Sibertswold Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School Coldred Road



CT15 7LF

Diocese: Canterbury

Local authority: Kent

Dates of inspection: 20 October 2014

Date of last inspection: 23 September 2009

School’s unique reference number: 118691

Headteacher: Mrs E Bird

Inspector’s name and number: Mrs Susan Thompson 714

School contextSibertswold Church of England Primary School is a smaller than average voluntary controlled village school which entered a federation with Eythorne Elvington Community Primary School in January 2012.   The school population represents a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, mainly from White British origins. The number of children who are on the Special Needs Register or who are eligible for pupil premium funding is lower than average. The Head has served the school for twelve years and the Chair of Governors for fifteen years.
The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Sibertswold as a Church of England school are outstanding.

  • The outstanding Christian ethos is understood by the school community and enables all pupils to feel nurtured and special.
  • Collective worship is highly valued by the whole school community and contributes greatly to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC).
  • Excellent links with the local parish church and other denominations locally contribute to a diversity of Christian experience for the school community.
  • The Senior Leadership and Governors are very committed to improving the school as a church school and in securing rapid improvement of outcomes for learners.


Areas to improve

  • Establish an integrated approach to existing links with other countries around the world, particularly focusing on the evolving project with Burkina Faso.
  • Involve a greater range of stakeholders; including teachers, other governors (in addition to the vicar), and more children, in the regular and systematic evaluation of Collective Worship.


The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learnersThe school values, based on five parables of Jesus, are known by all members of the community. The impact of these values on school life is articulated clearly by children and staff; the parents are aware of these values and their biblical roots. In the communal areas are large displays of the school values and the five parables, these are frequently referred to by the learners.   Relationships in the school are firmly rooted in Christian values and based on mutual respect.   This is articulated by the parents who see this as an outworking of the school motto, ‘In caring we achieve’.   Parents and children appreciate being part of a church school and the care that is shown for each individual. This was evident in the support an older child gave the younger children during a pupil discussion in the inspection. Further evidence is found in the way that individuals are supported according to need through effective structures and through the celebrating of achievements both inside and outside of school. The school community are confident that their views are listened to and acted on swiftly. Pupil voice resulted in developments in the Quiet Garden and in confirmation classes running in school. The school’s desire to be reminded of being in a church school is demonstrated through their willingness to suggest improvements, such as having a prayer box in the entrance hall so prayers can be written in different parts of the school.  Children feel safe at school and feel they can tell their teachers about their concerns. The children demonstrate outstanding development of spiritual, moral social and cultural (SMSC) understanding. They are aware of how to speak to each other with respect so keeping the integrity of each other’s value as individuals and make use of the many opportunities around the school for quiet thought and reflection. A number of global contacts give opportunities to develop an understanding of other cultures. However, this is not yet developed in a coherent manner so reducing the impact of this aspect of learning.   Children enjoy Religious Education (RE) and their attainment is in line with other curriculum areas. It is marked in the same way as science, through giving next steps to which the children respond. The school clearly balances the two attainment targets in the curriculum. The end of year two and year six results in summer 2014 were strong and showed much improvement from the 2013 results. This improvement was also evident for children from lower income families and for those who find learning more challenging.   Based on the progress the school has made since its last OfSTED inspection, the Local Authority recently assessed the school to be ‘good’.
The impact of collective worship on the school community is good.The acts of Collective Worship play a central part in the life of the school; they inspire further thought, spiritual development and the actions of the school community. A range of people both inside school and outside of school lead worship, these people represent different denominations and traditions within Anglicanism.   Some Anglican traditions are reinforced in Collective Worship through such things as the Lord’s Prayer and liturgical sentences before prayer. Children understand the importance of prayer in their daily life, they value the opportunity to use the prayer boxes during the day and offer prayers relating to illness, bereavement and areas of difficulty in the world, as well as thankfulness for the world around them. The children mentioned their desire for more use of be made of the prayers in the prayer boxes in whole school Collective Worship. Children particularly enjoy leading aspects of Collective Worship and wish these opportunities were extended.   The Worship Working Party, consisting of Foundation Governors (including a vicar) and two staff members are involved in the detailed planning of worship which is currently exploring the teaching of the Trinity. This group reports to the Full Governing Body who monitors developments. School based Collective Worship is evaluated by the Incumbent, however a wide range of stakeholders are not involved in regular evaluation.   Some children are involved in evaluations through discussions in the Light a Candle group and make suggestions for how aspects of school life can be developed. The long term plans reflect the key festivals in the churches year and show that themes develop through the term. Through conversation it is evident that Collective Worship develops the children’s understanding of biblical teaching and the life of Jesus. This enables the children to talk meaningfully about what they have learnt in Collective Worship and how this applies to their lives.
The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding.Distinctive Christian values are vital to the life of this school and are embraced by all members of the school.   It is as a consequence of putting Jesus’ teaching about service into practice that the Senior Leadership Team and Governors decided to accept the Local Authorities request to Federate with the neighbouring primary school. This has brought benefits to both schools through sharing expertise and experience. The staff, volunteers and governors work together to promote the school. The church and school benefit each other mutually. Recently the focus for school improvement has been driven by the need to address the OfSTED action plan following the last inspection. However, the school’s passion and drive to provide a high quality church school education remains undiminished. This is reflected not only through conversations, evidence seen in parent and pupil questionnaires, but also through the schools own self-evaluation.   The children have an understanding of the world beyond their village; they relate the need to raise money to an awareness of their Christian values of service and kindness based on the teachings of Jesus. These attitudes are evident in how the different members of the school community live in harmony together and resolve any difficulties through an ‘I feel …’ framework of responses.   The school meets its legal requirements regarding RE. The teaching of RE is prioritised by the place it has within the curriculum, it is taught by the class teacher and links are made to Christian teaching. There is a new RE subject leader, who is an experienced teacher; he has supported other members of staff in delivering high quality RE. The school meets the legal requirements for a wholly Christian, daily act of Collective Worship. Different groups of the school community gather each day; the whole school, a year group or a class, to share this time together. The Governors’ role in this regard is clearly explained on the school website. The Governing body are fully engaged in developing the school and are proactive in responding to suggestions; this was demonstrated by the Chair of Governors acting upon a comment about the website during the course of the inspection. The leadership of the school is committed to seeing the school develop as a church school. They seek to enable implicit Christian values to shine through all they do, in order to make a difference to the community.


SIAMS report October 2014 Sibertswold Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary, Shepherdswell, CT15 7LF