The BWI Archives

1962 ~ HMI Inspection Report


Prior to the establishment of Ofsted in the late 1980s, Her Majesties Inspectors of Schools were the main body carrying out periodic 'in-depth' inspections of schools in addition to occasional liaison visits.  Two HMI inspectors, Miss Raymond (a regular visitor to the school) and Miss Weemys, carried out an in-depth inspection over the three days 7th - 9th May 1962.  Their report, issued on the 28th August of that year, was very positive but could not overlook the extreme pressures of overcrowding and consequent poor facilities.

We reproduce a transcript of the Inspection Report below with permission of the School's Governing Body.


[Cover Page]                     


Report by H.M. Inspectors  



Inspected on

7th, 9th and 9th May, 1962



1.  This Report is confidential and may not be published save by the express direction of the competent authority of the School.  If published it must be published in its entirety.

2. The Copyright of the Report is vested in the Controller of H.M. Stationary Office.  The Controller has no objection to the reproduction of the report provided that it is clearly understood by all concerned in the reproduction that Copyright is vested in him.






[Page 1]

            This Voluntary Aided Church of England Junior Mixed and Infants School serves a compact residential area and also accepts from outside its zone some children whose parents wish them to attend a denomination school.  At present there are 343 pupils on roll organised in eight classes of approximately equal size.  Because of an increasing roll in the lower part of the school there are now four infant and four junior classes.  This trend towards higher numbers will cause further problems of organisation and accommodation.

A detailed description of the premises was given in the previous report on the school and there have been no major changes since tht time except the erection of a block of offices in the infants’ playground.  Serious shortcomings exist: the shortage of teaching and storage space, the unsuitability of two improvised hall classrooms, the extreme pressure on the hall, restricting its proper use, the lack of toilet facilities in the infant annexe, poor sanitary provision for boys, the insufficiency of playing space (aggravated by the large unfenced stocks of coke kept in the larger playground and by the lack of a surrounding high chain link fence) and the badly sited and inadequate school means scullery.  These defects have a marked effect on the organisation of the school and the range of work which can be attempted.

            The usefulness of every piece of equipment has to be balanced against the space it will occupy and the needs of the school have on the whole been sensibly assessed.  Much of the classroom furniture is due for replacement and great care will be needed in the selection of new items to ensure that they will be suitable for small classrooms.  There is a shortage of cupboards, book-cases, display areas and large realistic infant apparatus because of storage difficulties.

            The Head Master is a man of integrity and quiet purpose who sees his school as a vital part of the religious and communal life of the district.  When he came to this school five years ago it had only had one previous Head Master and it was served by some very long established members of staff.  He has gained the confidence and loyal co-operation of these older Masters and Mistresses and has worked with them to preserve the good traditions of the school and gradually to introduce a broader and more flexible approach to some of its work.  Two younger Mistresses who have recently joined the staff have been welcomed, encouraged and helped to develop into very promising teachers.  This a most conscientious and hard working group of teachers whose pleasant relationships amongst themselves and with the children set good standards of friendliness and helpful behaviour throughout the school. The work of the Welfare Assistant is of great value in the infant classes.

            Most of the boys and girls appear to come from good homes where there is a genuine interest in education and a desire for the children to do well. While the school is not faced with any serious problem of backwardness it has the equally challenging and difficult task of ensuring that many intelligent children are developing their potential abilities without stress and strain.  

            The school maintains a reputation for good competent teaching at all stages, and for hard work on the part of pupils.  The time table, although partly dictated by the inadequate premises, is well balanced, and specialist teaching is carefully planned to make good use of individual talents without undue dislocation of class work.  Against this background there have been a number of interesting developments and there are possibilities for future experiment and expansions. There has been a steady increase in the quantity of free writing on a variety of subjects and a decrease in the number of formal exercises unrelated to the needs of the children as shown in their individual work.  The more gifted children need to be constantly encouraged to exercise the clarity of expression and independence of thought of which they show themselves capable when stimulated by particular interest and enthusiasms.  In arithmetic, emphasis on neatness, speed and accuracy of computation hides in some cases a basic lack of understanding.  It is important for each individual to be confident and secure at every stage of development in order to avoid strain and confusion when the speed and complexity of work increases.  The excellent progress in reading through the school makes

[Page 2]

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heavy demands on the supply of books of all types.  There is a good selection of county Library books in every classroom, and each year a reasonable proportion of the capitation allowance is spent on text books and books of reference. There is still some shortage of suitable poetry books (including good selections, modern anthologies and collected works of the major poets) and of attractive editions of the children’s classics.  A high proportion of pupils are regular and enthusiastic users of the local branch County Library. Art and craft have been given impetus by the enthusiasm of one or two members of staff and a steadily increasing range of crafts is being made available.  Needlework continues to be taught with interest and imagination.  An effort has been made to arouse interest in nature study and science but more emphasis is needed on the basic principles of direct observation, recording and deduction if the teaching is to have reality. A very welcome development has been the growth of musical education under the leadership of the Head Master.  Suitable books and music have been provided and a thoughtful scheme of work gives clear direction to all concerned in the teaching.  It is good to find that the children are taught to read musical notation; provision of hymn books with melody would help to give regular practice in this.  

            The school day starts well with a simple and dignified Junior Assembly which is followed on two days a week by an assembly for Infants; on the remaining days the Infants have class prayers.

            Despite unattractive furniture and lack of proper facilities for serving and washing up, school meals are served pleasantly and with a minimum of fuss.  Between 180 and 190 boys and girls take dinners which are transported from another school kitchen; older children act as monitors and effective supervision by the teaching and part-time staff results in a peaceful and orderly meal.

            In addition to a number of inter-school festivals, exhibitions and sports, the older pupils take part in such out-of-school activities as a weekly dancing club, a monthly social club organised by the top class, and the independent production of a school magazine.  The staff willingly give time to these activities and parents are interested and helpful.

            This is a sound and happy school where children are being helped to concentrate, to take pride in good work, to accept some responsibility for others and to become aware of their part in the religious and social life of their community. The Head Master and his staff set an example of cheerful and ungrudging service which must have its effect on the development of the boys and girls in their care.



First uploaded: 08 August 2016