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Letters from the Head

15th June 2018

Dear Parents

We have now received the final report from OFSTED following our inspection on 9th June 2018.

The full report will be published on the OFSTED website on Monday 18th June 2018, however we are allowed to inform parents and carers of the outcome in advance.

Previously the school was judged as ‘Outstanding’ (1) in September 2012.

However, in this recent inspection, the school was judged overall to be within the category of ‘Requires Improvement’ (3).

Having said that, the inspectors found many positive strengths within the school and were satisfied that the school is already making progress towards ensuring high quality teaching and learning for the children of The Cathedral School of St Peter and St John RC Primary.

The headlines of strength are:

  • The head teacher has quickly put appropriate strategies in place to improve teaching and strengthen the quality of leadership.

  • Leaders’ actions have already had a positive effect on improving pupils’ skills in reading, with almost all year groups making strong progress.

  • Governors challenge and support leaders well to ensure that they secure improvement.

  • The large majority of pupils behave well. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong.

    Children in the early years make strong progress from their starting points.

    The grades that can be awarded are Outstanding (1), Good (2), Requires Improvement (3) or Inadequate (4). The term ‘Requires Improvement’ has replaced the previous grading of ‘Satisfactory’ in the new OFSTED inspections.

    The categories Ofsted graded our school are as follows:

    Effectiveness of Leadership and Management – Requires Improvement

    Although judged to be Requiring Improvement, there are many positive observations Ofsted have made, for example:

    “Senior leaders have created a suitable action plan for improvement which pinpoints the key areas for development, namely reading, writing and mathematics. The actions they have identified are appropriate and well structured. They have already had a positive effect on improving pupils’ skills in reading, with almost all year groups making strong progress.”

    “There are now more thorough assessment systems in place. Pupils understand what skills they need to acquire in, for example, writing because teachers now give them this information more clearly. Senior leaders hold meetings with staff every term to check on pupils’ progress.”

    “They are clear about the needs of their pupil, which are increasing in their range, and use funding to provide a suitable variety of support activities and resources.”

    “Leaders of Mathematics and English have a secure understanding of standards in their subjects and recognise the need for rapid improvement.”

    “Leaders of subjects other than English and Mathematics work enthusiastically in teams to ensure that pupils have increasing understanding of the skills needed for each subject.”

    “Leaders have a detailed structure and a clear purpose for the use of pupil premium funding.”

    “Staff are positive about the school and value the training leaders provide.”

    “Leaders make effective use of the physical education and sport premium for primary schools.”

    “Leaders ensure that the curriculum is broad and balanced and they provide effectively for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.”

    “There are opportunities for pupils to attend exciting clubs.”

    “Leaders also support pupils’ mental health effectively with a programme that develops their sense of self-worth and their understanding of how to manage their emotions.”

    “A large majority of parents are happy with the quality of education the school provides. They feel that teachers keep pupils safe. Almost all parents responded that they would recommend the school to another parent.”

    “The head teacher is clear headed and resolute. She has put appropriate actions in place to improve teaching and strengthen the quality of leadership. Her staff team shares her vision and determination.”

    “Governors are fully aware of the strengths and areas for development of the school.”

    “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Records of safeguarding concerns are well organised and detailed.”

    “There is a strong culture of safeguarding in the school. Leaders train staff well so they know how to be alert to signs of abuse and to issues concerned with, for example, radicalisation.”

     

    Personal Development and Welfare – Good

    The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good. The school’s Roman Catholic ethos has a strong influence and is evident in pupils’ knowledge of values, such as compassion and kindness.”

    Pupils say they feel safe in school.”

    “Pupils enjoy coming to school. They say their teachers usually work them hard and that tasks are rarely too easy. If they are, teachers give them more difficult work. They enjoy a variety of clubs, such as sports and dance, and visits to places such as the Lowry Theatre”

    “Pupils know about different types of bullying, including racist and homophobic. They say bullying is rare.”

    “The majority of pupils are confident and willing to converse with trusted adults. They also have opportunities to develop their self-confidence and sense of responsibility through their roles as playground buddies or members of the school council.”

    “Most pupils show positive attitudes and understand how to be a successful learner, which contributes to the picture of gradually improving progress.”

    Behaviour

    The behaviour of pupils is good.”

    Pupils show good conduct around school. Pupils play sociably at break times in a well- resourced playground. The school is typically an orderly place.”

    “Leaders have taken effective action to reduce rates of pupils’ absence and persistent absence since 2016/2017. Their strategies include regular meetings and communication with parents of more reluctant attenders and involving the local authority’s education welfare officer in visits to pupils’ homes to speak to parents if necessary.”

    Quality of teaching, learning and assessment – Requires Improvement

    Although judged to be Requiring Improvement, there are many positive observations Ofsted have made, for example:

    “Teaching, learning and assessment, though improving in quality as a result of leaders’ actions, do not currently secure strong progress for pupils across some year groups or a range of subjects.”

    “teachers’ subject knowledge is mostly secure“

    “The application of skills pupils have learned in English and mathematics to other subjects varies across year groups. In key stage 2, for instance, pupils make effective use of their writing skills in creating newspaper articles in religious education or reports about investigations into light in science. In key stage 1, they use mathematical knowledge purposefully in geography.”

    “The actions that leaders have taken to address the recent decline in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, particularly in English and mathematics, are beginning to have a positive impact. Where more effective teaching is evident, such as in reading in Year 6, teachers focus sharply on developing important skills like comprehension. This has resulted in a greater proportion reaching the expected standard than last year, with current pupils close to the national average. In writing and mathematics, there has been clear improvement this year”

    “In year groups and subjects where teaching is more effective, teachers ask questions in a way that encourages pupils to think for themselves and give more extended responses. They tackle pupils’ misconceptions well, making effective use of technology to display information for this purpose. In all classes, teachers have appropriate strategies for managing behaviour and encouraging positive attitudes among most pupils.”

    Early Years Provision – Good

    Children begin the early years with skills and knowledge that are below the levels typical for their age and stage of development. The proportion of children achieving a good level of development varies with the needs of each cohort. The most recent figure was above the national average. Around 60% of the current Reception year show skills that indicate a good level of development. This represents good progress from their starting points. Typically, most children are ready for Year 1 by the end of the Reception Year.

    The Early Years lead took up the role in September 2017. She plans carefully for the needs of the children and has revised the assessment and tracking system to make it more precise in measuring children’s progress. She influences the work of the rest of the staff team, ensuring that planning and provision are of the same high standard across the setting. She focuses particularly on identifying the increasing number of additional needs as early as possible and providing support, such as activities to aid children’s development of speech and language. As a result of her actions, current children, including those who have SEN and/or disabilities and those who are disadvantaged, make strong progress from their starting points.

    Leaders effectively involve parents in their child’s education. Transition arrangements into the early years are well organised. Parents have opportunities to become familiar with the school through open days before their child starts in Nursery, or Reception if appropriate. Staff carry out home visits as part of the process of preparing children to start in the early years. They make sure they keep parents up to date with their child’s progress through formal reports. They also encourage parents to come into class with their children when they arrive in the morning, which affords an opportunity to talk about their child’s development in an informal way.

    Children show they feel safe through their good behaviour and their willingness to engage with trusted adults. There are no breaches of the welfare requirements. Staff closely follow the safeguarding procedures and policies that apply to the whole school.

    The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good. Teachers plan interesting activities, both indoors and outdoors, that enable children to make strong progress in acquiring skills in a range of areas, such as physical development, language and mathematics. For example, during the inspection, a giant had left a terrible mess in the early years learning areas, which led to children eagerly using their writing and creative skills to make a ‘wanted’ poster for his capture.

    Staff often set demanding tasks and use effective questioning to encourage children to think hard about their work. Sometimes, however, staff miss opportunities to develop the skills of the most able by, for instance, asking more challenging questions, rather than simply responding to children’s actions.

    Outcomes for Pupils – Requires Improvement

    Although judged to be Requiring Improvement, there are many positive observations Ofsted have made, for example:

    In writing, pupils’ achievement improved compared to 2016, being close to the national average. Current pupils across key stage 2 make improving progress, particularly in reading”

    “The proportion of pupils in Year 2 who reached the expected standard in reading and mathematics was close to the national average in 2017. In writing it was below. Assessment information and evidence from books show that current pupils across key stage 1 make strong progress in reading and mathematics”

    “In science in key stage 1, pupils acquire knowledge and skills at a fast rate.”

    “Leaders have been swift to address the concerns about progress in English and mathematics. They have, for instance, worked with parents on how to support their child’s reading; they have introduced moderation of writing in more year groups, so that teachers have a clearer understanding of the skills expected of pupils; and they have put in place a new mathematics scheme, designed to make more connections between mathematical topics and help teachers to focus on identifying gaps in pupils’ knowledge. There is evidence that progress in reading has improved considerably for most pupils. Progress in mathematics and writing is improving.”

    “There is evidence to show that some pupils make strong progress. High proportions of pupils currently in Year 1, for example, are working at or have already achieved the expected standard for their age in reading, writing and mathematics.”

    “Most pupils read with fluency and understanding that match their ability and age. Least-able pupils use their knowledge of phonics effectively to read unfamiliar words. Most pupils enjoy reading and older pupils can talk about their favourite books and authors. A large proportion of pupils now achieve the expected standards in the Year 1 phonics screening check.”

    “The proportion of pupils who are ready for Year 3 by the end of key stage 1 is improving, especially in reading and mathematics. Evidence from current school assessment information and books shows that it is close to or above the national average for pupils in Year 2.”

    Obviously, inspectors also highlighted a number of key areas which require improvement.

    These include:

  • Though progress is improving, it still varies too much in writing across the school and in mathematics in key stage 2.

  • New assessment and tracking systems do not yet contribute effectively to securing consistently strong progress.

  • The progress of current pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities and those who are disadvantaged, though improving is not consistent enough across all year groups. Leaders have appropriate strategies in place, but they do not yet maximise the impact of the extra funding.

In subjects other than English and mathematics, pupils’ progress is variable.

  • In some year groups, teachers do not consistently plan lessons that interest pupils and keep them engaged in their work.

  • Leaders of subjects other than English and mathematics do not have a clear view of strengths and actions needed to develop their subject.

  • Some teachers do not provide challenging work for the most able pupils. Proportions of pupils reaching higher standards are still typically below the national average in reading, writing and mathematics.

Pupils’ rates of absence and persistent absence are above the national averages.

With the publication of the report, now is the time to look forward and continue to address the issues that you, as parents, are most concerned about – that is ensuring that the children of The Cathedral School of St Peter and St John receive the high quality education that they deserve in a safe environment where all children are supported to reach their potential.

We hope that you as parents will continue to support us with this aim.

To give parents more opportunity to discuss concerns they may have, regarding the OFSTED report and the progress that we are already making in improving the school, we would like to invite you to an open parents’ meeting at school on Monday 2nd of July 2018 There will be two meetings for you to attend, either at 9.10am or at 3.10pm.

We look forward to having the opportunity to talk further with you at that time.

Yours sincerely

Mrs Hanley – Head Teacher

OFSTED MAY 2018 - LETTER FROM HEAD TEACHER

  • The Cathedral School of St Peter and St John R.C. Primary
  • Mount Street, Salford, M3 6LU (Sat Nav M3 6AY)
  • Email :
  • Telephone : 0161 834 4150
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