Inspectors praise nursery and school provision at Polam

Polam nursery team
Polam nursery team

A school in Bedford which caters for children aged 12 months to nine years has been given a glowing report following an inspection.

Polam School has been judged ‘outstanding’ in all areas of its nursery provision, from 1-3 years, for the second inspection running, and ‘outstanding’ in two out of five key areas for its school, 3-9 years.

In a report published by the Schools Inspection Service, inspectors in the nursery found “the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding. The staff have consistently high expectations of the children as well as an excellent understanding of the age group they are working with.”

Children can join Polam’s nursery from 12 months and, as an integral part of the school, the nursery children benefit from specialist teaching in music, languages and PE, as well as the use of the school’s gym and indoor swimming pool (from 3 years). Class sizes are kept deliberately small so places are highly sought after.

According to the report, the school was judged particularly strong in the quality of pupils’ personal development. It said: “The spiritual, moral and cultural development of pupils is outstanding. The ethos of the school and its aims contribute significantly to all aspects of pupils’ personal development. They grow in self-esteem and self-confidence as they are well known and valued as unique individuals in the small, close community of the school.”

Many children leave Polam at the end of year 2 having gained places at other independent schools in the town. However Polam’s small year 3 and 4 classes are proving increasing popular, giving children extra time to prepare for this next step, or for pupils who join the school during these years specifically to access the opportunity of working in a ‘small, nurturing environment’.

Headteacher Jessica Harris said: “This was my first inspection as headteacher, having taken over in January last year, so I am delighted the nursery and school have received such excellent feedback during this period of transition. This is largely down to the fact that we have such a low turnover of staff at Polam, so both our nursery and school teams have worked together for years. I am so pleased this inspection has recognised everyone’s hard work and dedication. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The report also describes the strong sense of community at the school. Parental support was found to be ‘unanimous’ with parents expressing overwhelming appreciation of what the school offers their children. Mrs Harris added: “We all know Polam is a special little school but it is wonderful to receive official recognition for what we do.”

Copies of the full reports can we viewed on the school’s website at