Greenbank School


Focused Compliance Inspection 2017

Educational Quality Inspection 2017






Greenbank Preparatory School

by the

24th – 27th April 2007



Greenbank Preparatory School


Full Name of the School Greenbank Preparatory School
DfES Number 356/6005
Address Heathbank Road, Cheadle Hulme, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 6HU
Telephone Number 0161 485 3724
Fax Number 0161 485 5519
Email Address
Headmaster Kevin Phillips
Chair of Governors John Kennedy
Age Range 0-11 years
Gender Co-educational
Inspection Dates 24th – 27th April 2007

This inspection report follows the framework laid down by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). The inspection was carried out under the arrangements of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) Associations for the maintenance and improvement of the quality of their membership. It was also carried out under Section 162A(1)(b) of the Education Act 2002, as amended by the Education Act 2005, under the provisions of which the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has accredited ISI as the body approved for the purpose of inspecting schools belonging to ISC Associations and reporting on compliance with the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003.

The inspection does not examine the financial viability of the school or investigate its accounting procedures. The inspectors check the school’s health and safety procedures and comment on any significant hazards they encounter: they do not carry out an exhaustive health and safety examination. Their inspection of the premises is from an educational perspective and does not include in-depth examination of the structural condition of the school, its services or other physical features. 



The Educational Experience Provided
Pupils’ Learning and Achievements
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of Pupils
The Quality of Teaching (Including Assessment)

The Quality of Pastoral Care, and the Welfare, Health and Safety of Pupils
The Quality of Links with Parents and the Community

The Quality of Governance
The Quality of Leadership and Management

Overall Conclusions
Next Steps




Characteristics of the School

Greenbank is a co-educational school, with a day-care facility for children from 0 to 4 years. It was founded in 1951 and is located in the residential area of Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire. It educates girls and boys from the ages 3 to 11 in the school. The day-care pre-school facility opened in 1994. In 1999, the school built a new nursery classroom and an information and communication technology (ICT) suite and library. This allowed the day-care to be entirely located in the house, which was the original school building. The new nursery is next to the reception class thus creating an Early Years Unit.

The school aims "to educate the pupils in the fullest sense so that they begin to realise their academic and personal potential; to create a happy and caring environment within which pupils can develop a sense of personal worth; to develop a clear understanding of what is right and wrong and a respect for others to make a worthwhile contribution to the community; to develop initiative, confidence, independence and self discipline."

At the time of inspection the school had 163 children on roll in the school (92 boys and 71 girls) and a further 66 in the day-care unit. Most pupils come from Cheadle Hulme itself, or from local villages such as Bramhall and Wilmslow. The majority of parents are from a professional background. Entry into nursery and reception is on a first come basis. In other groups prospective pupils are invited for the day and are formally assessed.

The analysis of standardised tests data provided by the school shows that pupils’ average ability is well above the national average. If pupils perform in line with their ability, their results will be well above the average in maintained primary schools.

There are four pupils for whom English is an additional language. No pupil has a statement of special educational need, though the school has identified 22 as requiring special attention. These pupils receive formal learning support.

National Curriculum nomenclature is used throughout this report to refer to year groups in the school.


The Educational Experience Provided

The educational experience provided by Greenbank is outstanding. The high qualities of the educational experiences offered by the school are well suited to the needs, aptitudes and abilities of all pupils. The firm foundations provided through the curriculum and the outstanding programme of activities prepare pupils extremely well for the next stage of their learning. The careful academic preparation and nurturing of personal development throughout the school from nursery upwards results in happy, friendly children.

The development of the premises since the last inspection has significantly enhanced the educational provision of the school.

The wide-ranging curriculum stimulates pupils and successfully meets their needs. It underpins the school aim of being a ‘place of encouragement’. The outstanding quality of artwork and the many opportunities to take part in musical activities and speech and drama are clear evidence of how well the school nurtures pupils’ aesthetic and creative skills. The curriculum provides ample opportunities to develop a range of linguistic, mathematical and scientific skills. Throughout the school, the provisions for speaking and listening skills are plentiful. The curriculum contributes well to the development of pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills.

The quality of the activities programme is outstanding. Within their activities, pupils participate enthusiastically; concentrate hard and are physically and intellectually challenged. Pupil and staff enthusiasm for activities is evident in the enjoyment they experience and the animated way they talk about their chosen activities. The scope and quality of these activities greatly enriches the life of the pupils.

The formal curriculum is well enhanced by a very varied programme of visits, visitors and events that extend pupils’ learning. Recent visitors to school have included local authors and an artist. Destinations for outings include Chester for a history topic on the Romans and The Catalyst Museum for science, while extended educational visits include Year 5’s annual residential trip to an activity centre and a Year 6 excursion to France. During the course of the year, pupils perform in school plays and concerts, extend their oral skills through speech and drama and represent the school in a wide variety of sports.

The school meets the curricular needs of the full range of ability, including those of pupils requiring support with their learning and those who are more able. Once pupils with learning difficulties have been identified and assessed, they receive one-to-one support, small group support, or in-class support. Individual education plans (IEPs) are drawn up by the qualified learning support teachers who liaise with class teachers. The system is thorough and fully supports the needs of all pupils. Pupils who are gifted and talented are identified through a wide variety of measures to ensure that opportunities for these pupils are provided. These include enrichment activities in mathematics and English. 

Throughout the school pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education. Pupils in Year 6 move on confidently to the senior schools of their choice. Excellent planning complements the clear curricular frameworks for each year, which clearly state what is to be taught. Lessons are well planned with clear objectives and detailed specification of activities and resources.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for the curriculum [Standard 1].

Pupils’ Learning and Achievements

The pupils at Greenbank are excellent learners and achieve well in all areas of the curriculum. They are very well grounded in the knowledge, understanding and skills required. They almost universally want to succeed and take their studies seriously.

Pupils’ skill levels are good in relation to their age and ability, and the pupils use their ability well to make progress in all areas. Literacy and numeracy standards are good throughout the school and pupils apply their skills with competence and confidence. This was seen in the pre-school and Foundation Stage where children were observed working in small groups describing their feelings and counting objects combined with painting a picture of the animals they were counting. Pupils write well in a variety of genres and their creative and imaginative writing is well developed. Pupils display good oral skills. They are articulate and able to respond to open-ended questions, thereby extending their knowledge and understanding. Pupils think their way effectively through problems in mathematics, as in a Year 5 mathematics lesson where the task was to explore pattern in number and pupils worked energetically to solve problems, create hypotheses and test their theories. They worked quickly and confidently. They show a well-developed understanding of concepts such as the study of muscles in the human body.

Teachers, in the main, have high expectations of pupils who respond accordingly. Pupils are very well grounded in the knowledge, understanding and skills which they need. They are focused on their work, able to sustain concentration and enthusiastic in their learning. Above all they enjoy their work. Year 6 pupils gained satisfaction from sharing ideas in a poetry lesson using syllable patterns and Year 3 pupils were very focused on their painting skills in a design technology lesson.

Pupils gain results which are good for their ability at age seven, since they have been well above the average for all maintained primary schools over the last three years. Their results are high for their abilities at age eleven, where they are far above the average for all maintained primary schools.

There is all-round excellence in sport. Recent achievements include girls winning the two ‘High 5s’ netball Independent Schools Association (ISA) competitions held this term, and success for the cross country team.

Learning is excellent and pupils develop outstanding skills for, and attitudes towards work and study. Pupils listen attentively, discuss thoughtfully and write well. They write for a very wide range of purposes and in a wide range of styles. The children in the Foundation Stage are consistently articulate. Older pupils use language sensitively and appropriately and, by Year 6, show a well-developed and mature feel for it in written work. For example, in poetry about feelings after receiving examination results, their responses showed relief, excitement and anticipation. Pupils are articulate, listen effectively and read and write both intelligently and fluently. Speaking and listening skills are good. Pupils listen carefully to each others’ comments. They articulate their ideas clearly and learn to discuss effectively. They also reflect on each others’ ideas and develop them.

Mathematical skills are applied well in science, for example when presenting results in a graphical form and in Year 3 geography researching the layers in the rainforest. ICT is used extensively across the curriculum, using the dedicated ICT suite for lessons and independent research. Pupils undertake research on the internet and evaluate the quality of their own work.

Much emphasis is placed on encouraging confidence in the pupils through praise. This confidence is developed throughout the school; pupils respond readily to questions and are increasingly prepared to think and speak for themselves. Impressive reasoning skills were seen in both Years 5 and 6.

Pupils work effectively individually, but also co-operate readily and sensibly when opportunities afford. They are capable of independent work and study and show they can think and argue for themselves. At best they ask and answer questions, discuss ideas well, use their own judgements to analyse data and work problems out for themselves. Pupils collaborate well. They help, support and learn from each other when working in groups, and make effective teams. They are almost always keen to take part and show plenty of enthusiasm and enjoyment; lessons are busy and productive occasions. Pupils persevere when work is demanding and are prepared to perform in front of others as was seen in the Year 6 rehearsal of their forthcoming production.

The attitudes to study and work, both individually and co-operatively, are outstanding. The pupils are all very keen to do well; lessons observed are almost universally purposeful and hard work and concentration commonplace. Pupils work with enthusiasm and purpose and this allows them to achieve highly in all subjects. This is a major factor in the successful national test results.

Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development of Pupils

Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding and is a strength of the school. The school has more than maintained the high standards which were noted in the last report and thus fulfils its aim that pupils should have a clear understanding of right and wrong, a sense of personal worth and a respect for others, and make a worthwhile contribution to the community.

Pupils’ spiritual development is very well nurtured. From the Foundation Stage upwards, pupils appreciate the world around them, for example, showing a real sense of awe and wonder as they gazed at the newly hatched chicks in Year 1. They appreciate their beautiful grounds, especially the willow garden and the birds nesting in the ‘Bell Hotel’ in the Foundation Stage playground. High levels of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-knowledge throughout, are developed through the ethos of the school. Achievement is always celebrated and pupils are proud to see their work displayed around the school. In assembly, pupils are awarded certificates for success in academic work, music examinations and sport. They gain confidence by performing in music ensembles, choirs and in school productions.

Pupils’ moral development is outstanding. From an early age they distinguish between right and wrong appreciating that there have to be rules if people are to live in harmony. In the day-care unit children were observed helping each other by giving out the desserts before eating their own. Nursery children know the class rules about how many children are allowed to use the water play area at any one time. In the junior school pupils consider the golden rules and the meaning of friendship in their personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons.

Pupils’ social development is excellent. In the nursery and reception classes they learn to share toys and equipment and to wait for their turn to speak. They enjoy snack and lunchtimes as social occasions. A wide range of opportunities encourages pupils to relate to each other. They work in pairs and small groups, for example in a Year 1 mathematics lesson pupils discussed their work with each other, and in the hospital role play area in the nursery, the patient was well cared for by the doctors and nurses.

In the junior school pupils become increasingly aware of the benefits of working together in sports teams and drama productions. The various residential trips provide valuable opportunities for social development. Pupils are encouraged to accept responsibility from an early age. They may serve on school council from Year 3, and pupils in Year 4 help set up the tables for lunch. In the upper part of the junior school they can help with the nursery and reception classes at break times, and become house captains or school captains for a term. Pupils also learn to contribute to community life by fund raising for charity. Over £4,000 was raised for one particular charity during charity week.

Pupils’ outstanding cultural development is promoted through an interesting range of activities, visits and studies. Participation in music and drama events, together with theatre visits, broadens and deepens pupils’ cultural knowledge of the arts. In lessons, especially in history, geography, French, Latin and religious education (RE), they learn about their own culture and those of others. The acknowledgement of Christian festivals, together with Hanukkah, Divali, Eid and the Chinese New Year, contributes effectively to pupils’ understanding of celebrations in different cultures. For example, reception class celebrated Chinese New Year with a beautiful classroom display of work and artefacts and then had lunch in a Chinese restaurant. Easter is celebrated in the infant department by making Easter bonnets and having an Easter parade, followed by a small concert in a local department store.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils [Standard 2].

The Quality of Teaching (Including Assessment)

The quality of teaching, including assessment is outstanding. It has a positive effect on the pupils’ learning and fulfils the school’s aims to educate the pupils in the fullest sense so that they achieve their potential.

Teaching enables pupils of all abilities to acquire knowledge and make progress. There are no statemented pupils but those who have been identified by the school as needing learning support are well supported through one-to-one sessions, support from classroom assistants and by the special educational needs teachers. Pupils on the gifted and talented register are also well provided for to ensure that they continue to make progress. In the Foundation Stage and infant classes pupils work in ability groups for literacy and numeracy, and new individual reading programmes have been introduced recently.

Teaching encourages pupils to think, to be creative and to learn for themselves. It also inspires effort. Displays around the school show great creative effort. The clay figures inspired by the work of Henry Moore and the beautiful water colour spring flowers and 3D daffodils in the infant corridor are but two examples out of many. Year 6 pupils produced some very colourful accounts of school events; a particularly vivid one was entitled ‘Foul Filled Football.’ Year 2 pupils thought for themselves when they wrote their own English targets at the top of piece of writing on comparing life in Mexico to their own lifestyle. Year 6 pupils put a great deal of creative effort into their song and dance routines for their forthcoming production of ‘Bugsy Malone’.

The best teaching is well planned with learning objectives clearly stated at the beginning of the lesson and reinforced as necessary. Pupils are involved in a number of activities such as discussions, theory and practical work. The lessons end with a plenary which enables teachers and pupils to assess what has been learnt. For example in a Year 1 mathematics lesson, clear instructions were given to each of the three ability groups with the result that all pupils quickly settled to their work and concentrated on their tasks without help from the teacher.

Teachers know their pupils well and have a good understanding of their aptitudes and prior attainments. Very detailed records of achievement are kept from nursery throughout the school and assessment is integral to planning. It is used in the preparation of day to day lesson plans and is being used for curriculum development. For example new infant reading schemes have been introduced together with individual reading programmes and a whole school reading certificate scheme.

Teachers have a real enthusiasm for their subjects and have good subject knowledge. They are very committed. Staff in the day-care and Foundation Stage classes are very knowledgeable about the six areas of learning and form teachers have secure knowledge of all the subjects they teach. Good liaison between subject co-ordinators in the infant and junior school and the sharing of good practice has proved immensely valuable.

Teaching is supported by the use of good quality resources throughout the school. The nursery and infant classes are particularly well resourced. The new library and ICT suite are very well used. Some classrooms have interactive whiteboards, valuable assets used well by both teachers and pupils. Outdoor resources are good. The day-care unit has its own enclosed attractive play area, as have the Foundation Stage and infant classrooms. Resources in the day-care room for three to five year olds are not as plentiful and varied as those in the Foundation Stage classroom. Facilities for sport are good. The all-weather pitch is particularly valuable when the field cannot be used. The grounds are beautifully kept and a very special feature is the willow garden.

The standard of teaching encourages pupils to behave responsibly. Good behaviour is expected and is always praised. Relationships between staff and pupils are warm and friendly and based on mutual respect. The staff are good role models. Good relationships are evident among the pupils themselves.

Teaching includes regular and thorough assessment of pupils’ work. The school uses a wide range of assessment procedures. In the day-care unit progress and development are assessed against the Government’s guidelines contained in the Birth to Three Matters document; in nursery and reception classes the Early Learning Goals are used. The school makes good use of standardised tests to track pupils’ progress and to identify those who need additional support or are gifted in some way. Examinations in all subjects take place twice a year. National tests are also taken at ages 7 and 11. All data is carefully recorded and used to help in the selection of appropriate senior schools. Marking is thorough and detailed and includes regular target setting.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for teaching [Standard 1].


The Quality of Pastoral Care, and the Welfare, Health and Safety of Pupils

The care that the staff devotes to the well-being of their pupils is a great strength of the school. The school has maintained its high standard of pastoral care since the time of the last inspection.

Staff know their pupils well and relate easily to them. The very impressive pastoral care system produces open, honest, confident and articulate young people. They clearly love their school. The strong sense of mutual respect between teacher and pupils and between pupils is consistent throughout. The atmosphere and ethos of the school are such that the pupils flourish. They are confident and enthusiastic. The older pupils enjoy opportunities to take responsibilities for others; for example there are house captains in Year 6 and representatives for the school council from Years 3 to 6. Year 6 pupils also help out younger pupils in the nursery on a rota basis. In the pupils’ pre-inspection questionnaire and during the inspection, many pupils expressed their enjoyment of the school. Comments included: ‘there is always someone to turn to if we need help’ and ‘school rules are fair; they teach us to respect each other.’

The natural and professional concern of staff is effectively underpinned by excellent formal arrangements for the pastoral care, support and guidance of its pupils. From discussion with pupils of all ages it is clear that all feel well supported both in and out of the classroom. Pupils show themselves familiar with school procedures and clear about what to do if they have any concerns.

There is a clear and appropriate anti-bullying policy in place. Work in PSHE assists in underlining appropriate attitudes and behaviour. Pupils respond very well to the school’s encouragement to care for others and many examples of this care were seen during the inspection.

The school has appropriate policies and procedures for dealing with any child protection issues that may arise. There is a designated governor for child protection. In relation to health and safety, risk assessments for activities within and away from school are carried out and acted upon. The school has an appropriate number of first-aiders. All necessary measures have been taken to minimise the risk of fire and fire drills are held regularly. Admission and attendance registers are kept properly.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for the welfare, health and safety of pupils [Standard 3].

The Quality of Links with Parents and the Community

The quality of links with parents and the community is outstanding and is a strength of the school.

A confidential questionnaire was sent to all parents prior to the inspection. Of the 70 parents who responded, almost all indicated strong support for the school. The parents are well pleased with all aspects of the school’s provision. Parents are particularly happy with the school’s values, the teaching and pastoral care and the wide range of extra-curricular activities. They believe that links with the community are plentiful and well developed and contribute usefully to the school’s aims of fostering traditional values of courtesy, respect for others and pride in their work. There were no issues raised by a significant number of parents.

Parents have excellent opportunities to be involved in activities in the school and in the work and progress of their children. The Parents Association (PA) is very active and welcomes the whole-hearted support from governors, the headmaster and members of staff. PA functions include the Christmas and spring fairs, Christmas dinner dance and fashion shows which add greatly to the work of the school and are enjoyed by parents, children and members of staff alike. Funds raised by the PA have enhanced the school, with whiteboards, play equipment, stage curtains and a sound system. Year 6 pupils spoke appreciatively of the PA’s collaboration with the school to provide sponge footballs for break times. The PA also organised a science workshop day for all pupils. Parents from the PA enjoy welcoming new parents to the school. Parents are involved in school activities, by assisting with school transport and supporting events such as Grandparents’ Day. The curriculum is enhanced by links with parents as, for example in a Year 6 activity on World War 2 and a Year 2 geography lesson on Mexico, where a parent is currently working.

Parents receive regular and detailed information about the school. New parents are given an introductory handbook and current parents receive updated information. All parents are sent an informative newsletter. The newsletters effectively highlight and celebrate success in a broad range of activities as well as giving notice of events. The school’s website is also very informative and updated on a weekly basis.

Parents are well informed about their children’s work and progress. Parents’ evenings are held twice a year and two reports are sent each year with attainment results and general comments. These reports have developed to include information about the curriculum work covered and individual progress. They also clearly indicate strengths and targets for improvement.

The school’s arrangements for handling parents’ concerns and any complaints are comprehensive. Parents describe how approachable they find the headmaster and all members of staff. Informal contact between staff and parents is on a regular basis with very good relationships being evident. Any concerns are dealt with promptly and sensitively.

Links with the wider community are outstanding. Visitors come into school in connection with various projects and pupils have many opportunities to take part in competitive events in the local area and beyond; often with considerable success. Recent examples include success at the ISA ‘High 5s’ tournament, cross country running events, swimming galas and football tournaments. These contribute to the school’s relationship with the community and make a valuable contribution to pupils’ personal development.

Educational visits take place out of school on a regular basis for example to Bramall Hall and the Imperial War Museum North, an activity centre for Year 5 and to France for Year 6. Pupils work hard to raise money for both local and national charities.

A holiday club runs in the Easter, summer and all three half-term holidays. Breakfast and after-school care clubs are very popular with pupils and parents. The day-care centre is open for 50 weeks of the year.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for the provision of information and the manner in which complaints are to be handled [Standards 6 and 7].


The Quality of Governance

The quality of governance is outstanding. The governors help to set and secure high aims and values for the school and provide excellent oversight and guidance.

The structure of meetings is well defined and supports effective oversight of the school by trustees. The chair of governors combines a strong sense of the traditions of the school and the realism needed to ensure the school moves forward and makes all the necessary changes. He works outstandingly well with the headmaster and staff on the strategy of the school.

The governing body has shown itself capable of making far reaching strategic decisions and of committing resources for wise development; it has provided excellent growth in facilities and accommodation and is looking to provide still more. Governors are successfully involved at all levels of planning and development. The committee structure enables each member of the board to have oversight of all elements of procedure, including child protection.

Governors make visits to the school to inform themselves directly about what is going on. The chair is regularly in school, is well known to all staff and parents, and attends Parents Association meetings and events on a regular basis.

The Quality of Leadership and Management

The quality of leadership and management by senior managers and others with delegated leadership is outstanding. The headmaster, who is very much appreciated by parents and pupils alike, provides outstanding educational direction and leadership. The senior management team work well together. The good practice of senior management influences the whole climate of the school. A very positive ethos is widely evident; a clear focus on all-round high achievement is apparent.

The vision for the school is clearly defined and is achieved through the great drive and energy that is exerted from the very top. There is a clear and detailed school development plan.
Management at all levels is effective in drawing up and implementing good procedures and policies and in checking and reviewing their effectiveness. This is evident in all areas of the school, the day-care centre, and breakfast and holiday clubs.

The school is very good at securing, supporting, developing and motivating sufficient high quality staff who say they feel valued and appreciated. Staff development is taken very seriously. A regular programme of performance appraisal takes place; this formally assesses teachers’ effectiveness and identities their training needs. All staff regularly attend courses to keep them fully abreast of developments in their subject areas. The school checks the backgrounds of all staff with the appropriate authorities.

Financial resources are well managed to secure appropriate resources, in support of educational aims, and to meet the needs of pupils. The school has seen continuous improvement in its facilities.

The school is exceptionally maintained by a strong team of administrative staff.

The school meets the regulatory requirements for the suitability of proprietors and staff and premises and accommodation [Standards 4 and 5].


Overall Conclusions

Greenbank Preparatory School outstandingly fulfils its aims and aspirations and meets the needs of all its pupils. It provides a positive and supportive learning environment within a caring family atmosphere in which teachers, parents and pupils work to a common purpose. Pupils are very well cared for and enjoy positive relationships with all members of staff; their personal development is excellent. The school has a clear sense of purpose and benefits much from the commitment, dedication and hard work of the headmaster and the staff. A high proportion of teaching is very good.

In line with its aims, the school gives especially effective attention to spiritual, moral social and cultural matters and provides a friendly community on which to place its values. Pupils learn self-discipline and how to do well. They have considerable confidence and enormous pride in their school. The pupils are known as individuals, are well cared for and accordingly show very good behaviour. Their politeness and good manners are exemplary. They care for others. The relationships between the pupils themselves are excellent. The parents are well pleased with the school and give excellent support. The school also has excellent links with the community. All this is achieved by outstanding governance, leadership and management.

All recommendations from the last inspection have been met.

The school meets all the regulatory requirements.

Next Steps

The school has no significant weaknesses but attention to the following will help further development.

List of Inspectors  
Mrs Karin Kelly Reporting Inspector
Miss Susan Woodward Headmistress, ISA school
Mrs Valerie Goode Former Headmistress, IAPS school

No action in respect of regulatory requirements is required.


The inspection was carried out from 24th – 27th April 2007. The inspectors examined samples of pupils’ work, observed lessons and conducted formal interviews with pupils. They held discussions with teaching and non-teaching staff and with governors, observed a sample of the extra-curricular activities that occurred during the inspection period, and attended registration sessions and assemblies. The responses of parents and pupils to pre-inspection questionnaires were analysed, and the inspectors examined a range of documentation made available by the school.