Junior Inspection Report
Junior School British Schools Overseas (BSO) Inspection, February 2016 - Highlights from Report
Tanglin Trust Junior School is an outstanding school. It provides an excellent quality of education for all its pupils and meets the standards for British Schools Overseas. The vast majority of pupils start the school with attainment which is above the standards expected for their age.
Standards in English
Pupils’ attainment is exceptionally high and progress in English is outstanding. From typically above average starting points in the development of their basic skills, pupils in Year 3 make rapid progress. Most listen carefully, speak clearly and use an increasing range of high quality vocabulary. For example, a recently hatched but missing dragon was described as, ’a vile, bloodthirsty and fearsome beast’. Pupils make excellent progress in reading because the regular teaching of phonics helps to ensure that all pupils’ basic reading skills are firmly established. This also provides a secure platform for the development of writing skills which are well above those expected for their age.
Standards in Mathematics
Pupils’ attainment is exceptionally high and progress in mathematics is outstanding. By the end of Year 6, the overwhelming majority of pupils reach standards that are significantly higher than those expected of pupils of the same age in England. Standards, by the end of Year 6, have risen significantly every year since the last inspection. Pupils’ work is characterised by their conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge. In lessons, pupils confidently tackle the challenges set; they are given time to talk through their learning and to learn by their mistakes. A strength through the school is the way in which pupils use their mathematical and number skills to help them in other subjects across the curriculum. Pupils in Year 5, for example, use what they know of measuring mass and angles to predict and evaluate the impact of a meteor strike, as part of their space topic in science. They use flour trays and balls of modelling clay of different sizes and weights to replicate the possible impact of such a strike. They cooperate well and carefully measure and interpret the results to determine potentially where to site a space station on a distant planet. The pupils are assured users of mathematics, confident to take risks, using trial and error methods, persevering in seeking solutions and ‘thinking harder’
Standards in Science
Pupils’ attainment is exceptionally high and progress in science is also outstanding. Since the last inspection, standards have risen year on year. All pupils make at least expected progress and a very large majority make considerably better-than-expected progress. The most able pupils also achieve exceptionally well. Pupils are very effective in harnessing their natural curiosity and developing skills of enquiry. For example, pupils in Year 3 use their highly tuned skills of scientific enquiry when testing egg shells to explore the impact that various fizzy drinks, fruit juice and water may have on tooth decay. Pupils also use their excellent subject knowledge, building upon prior learning in other subjects such as mathematics and computing, to ensure tests are robust, fair, accurately measured and recorded. Pupils respond very positively to the support and guidance provided by members of staff. Pupils consider questions thoughtfully before giving a well-considered and reasoned answer. Pupils also understand the concept that different skills are needed by different people for different investigations. This was clear, for example, when Year 6 pupils were exploring the forensics of fibre analysis in their crime-scene investigations work. The lead detective understood her role was very different from that of the criminal profiler and so needed to establish different hypotheses and different lines of enquiry.
Standards across the curriculum
The school meets the requirements for this standard. The quality of the curriculum is outstanding. It is vibrant, rich and exciting. Detailed schemes of work follow the English National Curriculum and pupils are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage in their education or to enter or re-enter the English education system. The school is successful in delivering a curriculum that inspires and motivates pupils who say they ‘really enjoy everything Tanglin provides for us’. The curriculum also reflects very well the school’s international setting and celebrates diversity; pupils say they appreciate topics, such as ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Rise of Modern Singapore’. In addition, themed topics are used well and often include a whole school focus, such as the one on entrepreneurship. The school regularly reviews provision and takes into account the views of parents and pupils. This has resulted, for example, in Mandarin Chinese being taught as a foreign language for all pupils and the introduction of mother tongue lessons. The curriculum provides exceptionally well for pupils who speak English as an additional language.
The curriculum is outstanding in all respects. It provides exceptional breadth and balance, which enables pupils to excel academically and personally. They engage fully in the school’s extended range of learning activities and develop excellent attitudes to learning through adoption of the Learner Profiles and engagement with the Our World curriculum. The former promotes reflection and development of learning behaviours and the latter provides access to extended learning opportunities, which enable pupils to succeed. The curriculum and its associated methods of assessment prepare pupils very well for transfer to British Schools or other leading International Schools.
Teaching and Learning
The quality of teaching and assessment is outstanding. Carefully recruited teachers have access to high quality professional development, accurate and skilful monitoring and feedback. Consequently, the quality and consistency of teaching are extraordinarily high. Across all subjects, teaching promotes pupils’ learning and personal development exceptionally well. This is seen in the work in pupils’ books, the varied examples of completed work and the records of their progress. As a result, all pupils make outstanding progress and achieve high standards in every subject. Pupils make rapid progress because teachers have a highly secure knowledge of the subjects they teach and an excellent understanding of how children learn. They make effective use of a wide variety of resources to create a highly stimulating learning environment and are ably supported by highly trained teaching and learning assistants. Teachers use an extensive range of strategies to deliver carefully planned, imaginative and relevant lessons. Pupils meet teachers’ high expectations of behaviour and this lays the foundation for their exemplary attitudes and mature conduct.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development
The school meets the requirements of this Standard. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding. As a result, pupils thrive in a supportive, safe environment which develops confident and collaborative learners who are resilient and not afraid to take risks. Pupils’ attendance is above average and they are punctual and well prepared for their lessons. All members of the Tanglin Junior School community model, through the high quality of relationships and interactions, a keen understanding of the principles they wish to promote; for example, tolerance and respect. School values are reinforced through assemblies, posters and displays. On arrival in school, everyone is greeted by the ‘Faces Wall’ where the faces of all pupils, and every member of staff are displayed, with the flag of their choice painted on their face, to represent the country with which they are associated. This is just one of many examples where school leaders have developed a climate within which all can grow and flourish, respect others and be respected. This is evident in the way pupils conduct themselves in lessons, listening to each other’s views, taking turns in a debate, working as a team and collaborating. Leaders also promote a teaching style which promotes and values pupils’ questions and gives time for reflection so as to develop curiosity in learning. In one lesson, there was a whoop of delight when pupils were told they were going to be set another challenge. Spontaneous applause for the classmate who succeeded in this challenge showed a real passion for learning.
Welfare, Health and Safety
The safety and security of pupils is of the highest priority. Arrangements for child protection and safeguarding match current requirements in the United Kingdom and the requirements of Singapore. In the event of concerns for a pupil’s welfare, all staff know what to do and to whom they must speak. Safety arrangements meet local requirements. Regular drills ensure that staff and pupils know the procedures to be followed during evacuation of the buildings and lockdown. Evacuations are completed speedily and efficiently. Security for visits outside the school has a high profile and risk assessments are integral parts of the planning of all visits. An admissions’ register and an attendance register are kept up to date; both conform to local regulatory requirements.
Leadership and Management
The leadership and management of the school are outstanding in every regard. The highly effective headteacher, together with the deputy headteacher and assistant headteacher, has a vision for excellence and passion to deliver the highest possible standards. The school’s self-evaluation is robust and accurate. As a result, the plans for future improvements are focused on the correct priorities. Senior leaders have dynamically led this school from strength to considerable strength, since the last inspection. There is a clear expectation that everything that is done should be done outstandingly well because the pupils deserve nothing less. There is excellent capacity and determination to improve still further. The headteacher is also skilled at developing the potential of leaders at all levels, as well as in making highly successful key appointments.