Diocesian Report 2011

National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report


Harpley Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary SchoolSchool LaneHarpleyKing’s Lynn, Norfolk

PE31 6DY

Diocese: Norwich

Local authority: Norfolk

Date of inspection: 9th November 2011

Date of last inspection: 17th September 2008

School’s unique reference number: 121092

Headteacher: Ann Beardall

Inspector’s name and number: Vicki McHarrie (578)

School context

This is a very small school that serves the villages of Harpley and Houghton. Many pupils travel to the school from the surrounding area. There are 51 pupils on roll and they are taught in two mixed age classes. The school is situated a short distance from the parish church of St. Lawrence that is in interregnum at the present time. The school is part of the Litcham Learning Community.

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Harpley as a Church of England school is good.

A clear Christian ethos is evident throughout the school creating a very welcoming, caring environment. There is a friendly, family atmosphere and high levels of pastoral care lead to pupils who are happy, secure and confident. Displays are evident throughout the school to serve as a reminder of the Christian foundation.

Established strengths.
  • The teaching of Christian values that underpin the day to day life of the school.
  • The excellent relationships within the school community that ensure pupils feel valued.
  • The vision and leadership of the headteacher who is well supported by a committed staff and governors
  • The good links that exist between the school, parish church and the village community.
  • To implement a system whereby governors can monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the school as a church school and the impact of collective worship.
  • To create an area indoors where pupils can reflect and find peace.
  • To provide opportunities for pupils to lead collective worship.
Focus for development.


The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners

Christian values are evident in all areas of school life and promoted exceptionally well by every member of the school community. Pupils flourish within the supportive environment and there is a genuine sense of everyone ‘looking after each other’. Success is celebrated frequently leading to pupils who feel valued and confident. They report that the school is a ‘happy place where everyone helps each other and is kind’. Parents say the school is ‘amazing’ and praise the way in which Christian values are taught.

The provision for social, moral, spiritual and cultural development is outstanding. This is reflected in pupils’ attitudes and excellent behaviour. Opportunities to reflect and question are built into the curriculum and enhance spiritual development. Pupils show a strong concern for the needs of others and say ‘We should be grateful because many children have very little’. They appreciate having several places outside where they can find peace and quiet.

Playtimes are enjoyed by all and pupils know that if they have any problems the adults or other pupils will always help them. Any conflicts are always dealt with promptly and fairly. Pupils understand the importance of forgiveness and speak maturely about the importance of giving someone a second chance. Through learning about other faiths and cultures they are developing a very good awareness of the wider world.

Relationships between staff, pupils and parents are outstanding. They respect each other and demonstrate the school’s Christian context. A wide range of extra curricular activities are provided to suit a variety of interests.

High quality displays enhance the school environment and celebrate success. Many of them reflect the church foundation of the school.


The impact of collective worship on the school community is good.

Collective worship plays an important role in the daily life of the school and an appropriate atmosphere is created. Pupils say that they like to see the candle lit as it signifies a special time and serves as a reminder that ‘Jesus is the light of the world’. Worship is well planned and a range of approaches are used to gain the interest of pupils. Input is provided by the staff, pupils and a wide range of visitors.

Pupils speak positively about worship and particularly enjoy listening to stories and singing hymns. They are beginning to relate the Christian message to their own lives, for example, not blaming a person for something that wasn’t their fault.  Pupils are regularly involved in evaluating collective worship.

The act of worship observed was very good. The pupils were engaged and responded thoughtfully to the questions asked. They sang the hymn enthusiastically and worship ended with a prayer that was read by a pupil. Pupils speak sensitively about how much they value prayer and of how it is a time ‘to talk to God’. They appreciate being given time during worship to be quiet and to reflect. Prayers that have been written by pupils are always said before lunch and the day ends with a prayer.

By celebrating Christian festivals pupils are developing a good understanding of the Anglican faith. They know the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ and thoroughly enjoy visits to the church which they see as a very special place. Parents appreciate being able to attend services to celebrate key festivals and events.


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

The headteacher and foundation governor have a clear understanding of how the teaching of Christian values has a positive impact on the daily life of the school.   The school’s church foundation is clearly expressed in its documentation and is evident throughout the school. The governors are very supportive and give freely of their time. Self-evaluation of the school as a church school is secure and accurate with staff and governors being involved. The pupil voice is valued and the school council is actively involved in decision making.

Good progress has been made since the previous inspection and the school has a clear understanding of its future development. Governors acknowledge the need to develop their role in monitoring the effectiveness of the school as a church school and the impact of collective worship.

The staff work exceptionally well as a team and realise the important role they play in modelling Christian values. The parents and school work very well in partnership.  Parents find the school welcoming and they are kept very well informed. They appreciate the friendly atmosphere and describe the school as a ‘happy, caring community with a real sense of purpose’

Effective links have been established with the village community and the school contributes to the parish magazine. By regularly raising money for charity pupils are developing a very good awareness of the need to help others both at home and in the wider world.

SIAS report November 2011 – Harpley Church of England VC Primary School, Harpley, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. PE31 6DY

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