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SIAMS October 2017




Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) Report

Stratton Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Thessaly Road Stratton Cirencester Gloucester GL7 2NG

Current SIAMS inspection grade




Previous SIAS inspection grade


Local authority


Date of inspection

18 October 2017

Date of last inspection

15 October 2012

Type of school and unique reference number



Cerys Towler

Inspector’s name and number

Karen Surrall 842


School context

Stratton is a slightly smaller than average primary school with 211 children on roll. Children are mainly drawn from the immediate area on the edge of the town. They come from varied socio-economic backgrounds. The number of families claiming free school meals is lower than the national average. The majority of children are from a white British heritage. The number of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities is above the national average overall although there are significant variations within year groups.

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Stratton Church of England (VC) Primary School as a Church of England school are good

  • Relationships within the school are strong and supportive so that all children and staff are enabled to ‘unlock their potential’.
  • The headteacher, who knows Stratton well, has a strong vision that clearly sets all aspects of the school’s work in its Christian context.
  • Prayer, following the recent prayer day, has a real impact throughout the school so that all stakeholders understand its value and relevance to everyday life.

Areas to improve

  • Conduct a thorough review of collective worship so that biblical teaching enables all stakeholders to make unambiguous links between the teachings of Jesus and the schools Christian values and supports the school’s Anglican heritage.
  • Embed explicit Christian values across the curriculum, including in RE, so that pupils can develop an understanding of their own spiritual journey.
  • Ensure that policies, newsletters and the school’s website overtly reflect its distinctive Christian character, vision and values.


The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is good

at meeting the needs of all learners

The school’s vision, ‘Unlocking potential for lifelong learning, grounded in Christian values’ underpins every aspect of work at Stratton. The five core Christian values are clearly expressed by pupils and staff and are celebrated throughout the school. They are generally understood by children and staff to reflect the school’s distinctive Christian character. Pupils and parents readily acknowledge how the values make a difference to the daily lives and achievements of all pupils. Pupils, whatever their starting points, achieve well at Stratton. This is because the headteacher makes a very clear link between the school’s vision and its duty to enable all pupils to reach their potential. The school works closely with those involved with children in danger of exclusion. The headteacher explained that, ‘These children have the right to have their potential unlocked too.’ As a result, there have been no exclusions since the last inspection.

The ‘buddy system’ where Y6 pupils and those in the Reception class are paired up, is an excellent example of how pupils care for one another. Parents speak about how the teachers know the children well and they like how the staff model the values so that children know what is expected of them. ‘There is a good balance between nurture and education. Stratton is all about the children,’ described one parent. As a result, attendance is high and there is a very low level of persistent absenteeism.

The Christian character and the core values of the school contribute to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development of the learners. This is exemplified by how well children are able to discuss the values in relation to their own behaviour, which is excellent. Year 6 pupils are trained in peer mediation so that they assist other children to untangle disagreements at playtime using the values as a foundation for discussions. This empowers the children, who are intolerant to bullying and confident that the adults around them will support them in this.

Leaners universally enjoy their religious education (RE) lessons and recognise why it is important in their lives. The rich experiences that the children have in these lessons means that RE contributes well to pupils’ SMSC development. This includes visits to the cathedral and the mosque. Learners have some understanding of Christianity as a multi-cultural world faith. Learners show respect to other faiths and communities and give powerful reasons for this. At present, RE makes an inconsistent contribution to the Christian character of the school because the values are not referenced clearly enough in RE lessons. Staff have a clear definition of spirituality but as yet planning across the curriculum does not enable pupils to routinely have time to develop, or to reflect on, their own spiritual journey.

The impact of collective worship on the school community is satisfactory

Collective worship is recognised as being important in the life of the school and pupils generally have a positive view of this time together. The Open the Book team and other visitors help the children to understand about the life of Jesus, but He does not have a central role in worship. As a result, learners see this time together as a ‘big lesson’ rather than a time of prayer and reflection. Links with the school’s Christian values are not consistently explicit enough for the children to really see that they reflect the teachings of Christ.

Although elements of Anglican liturgy are present in some worship times, these are not frequent enough for the children to see the link between these and practice at their local church. Children know that the lighting of three candles refers to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit but the significance of this has not been made explicit to learners. Leaders do not currently plan times of worship in sufficient detail and consequently there is a lack of coherence in the development of Christian themes. Monitoring of collective worship, by both leaders and governors, is not yet frequent enough to bring about the rapid changes that are required.

Children respond enthusiastically in the service of others. They are excited about bringing gifts for the Harvest service which will then be given to the local Foodbank. The children understand this as being part of being thankful to God for all the good things he has given them.

The school has recently held a whole day focused on prayer and reflection. This has really opened the children’s eyes to the possibilities of prayer and has encouraged them to be far more spontaneous. Consequently, learners have a growing understanding of the relevance and value of prayer in their daily lives. They were encouraged to write prayers about worries for themselves and for other people. Inspiring activities such as ‘blowing bubbles to blow trouble away’ have enabled learners to understand some of the mystery and power of prayer. As a result, the children are eager to use prayer both in school and at home. They acknowledge that the prayer and reflection areas in each classroom are not routinely used as a focus throughout the day. Children already use the spiritual garden for contemplation but as yet do not use the prayer areas inside the school in the same way.

Learners generally behave well in collective worship although they rarely take any lead in these times, beyond simple organisational roles. When children do lead worship times, it is under the clear guidance of the class teacher so pupils do not have sufficient occasions when they can plan and lead worship independently. The children are eager to use their new understanding of prayer to regularly contribute to these times.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is good

The headteacher has a clear vision for the school, based on the school’s Christian values. This vision is gradually being understood by all governors and there has been rapid progress in the last twelve months so that the new vision statement is beginning to lead the strategic direction of the school. Governors are now more closely involved in monitoring subject areas of the school, working with staff to ensure the very highest standards across the curriculum. As yet, there has been little formal monitoring of Stratton as a church school. This means that the website, policy documents and the weekly newsletter to parents do not readily proclaim the school’s distinctively Christian character. It is difficult at present to see the vision of the headteacher properly rooted in the school’s policies.

However, in practice, this is a very caring, supportive community with the welfare and wellbeing of all its pupils taken very seriously indeed. This is repeatedly ascribed to the school’s Christian ethos by all stakeholders. All stakeholders attribute the success of the school to the Christian values, and can articulate how the values impact on the daily lives and achievements of all learners. Standards of attainment and progress for all groups of pupils are high because all staff seek to give of their very best. One parent of a child who left last year remarked that, ‘The teachers all know our children well and we are proud of the ‘finished product’ when they leave Year 6.’

Leaders, including governors, have worked hard to ensure that all staff who have leadership roles within the school are given the proper resources to fulfil them. This has included being released from the classroom to complete monitoring tasks and draw up action plans. This has led to clear benefits for the current leadership, with many staff taking responsibility for key areas of the school’s improvement plan. The development points from the last inspection have been sufficiently well addressed so that the school has made good progress in these areas.

There are excellent links with the local church, which has continued to support the school through an interregnum. The newly appointed incumbent is keen to build on this so that the school has a better understanding of its place in the wider world. The leaders for collective worship and for RE are given good support to fulfil their roles and these areas meet statutory requirements. Through visits to other parts of the country, including visits to London and a variety of places of worship, children have a growing understanding of local, national and global communities.


SIAMS report October 2017 Stratton Church of England VC Primary School Cirencester GL7 2NG