School etc

Appleton Thorn Primary School

Appleton Thorn Primary School
Arley Road
Appleton Thorn

phone: 01925 266764

headteacher: Mr Craig Burgess BA PGCE NPQH

reveal email: appl…


school holidays: via Warrington council

209 pupils aged 4—10y mixed gender
210 pupils capacity: 100% full

100 boys 48%


110 girls 53%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 364072, Northing: 383599
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.348, Longitude: -2.5412
Accepting pupils
4—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Nov. 15, 2010
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › Warrington South › Appleton
Village - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Warrington

Schools nearby

  1. 1.1 mile Grappenhall Heys Community Primary School WA43EA (237 pupils)
  2. 1.3 mile Stretton St Matthew's CofE Primary School WA44NT (202 pupils)
  3. 1.5 mile Broomfields Junior School WA43AH (426 pupils)
  4. 1.5 mile Grappenhall Hall School WA43EU (51 pupils)
  5. 1.7 mile Grappenhall St Wilfrid's CofE Primary School WA43EP (395 pupils)
  6. 1.7 mile St Monica's Catholic Primary School WA43AG (173 pupils)
  7. 1.7 mile Bridgewater High School WA43AE (1688 pupils)
  8. 1.8 mile The Cobbs Infant School WA43DB (361 pupils)
  9. 2.1 miles Bradshaw Community Primary School WA42QN (174 pupils)
  10. 2.2 miles St Thomas' CofE Primary School WA42AP (224 pupils)
  11. 2.2 miles Massey Hall School WA43JQ
  12. 2.2 miles The Winterley Project School WA42TB
  13. 2.3 miles Thelwall Community Infant School WA42HF (130 pupils)
  14. 2.4 miles Stockton Heath Primary School WA46HX (330 pupils)
  15. 2.4 miles Thelwall Community Junior School WA42HX (149 pupils)
  16. 2.4 miles Sir Thomas Boteler High School WA41JL
  17. 2.4 miles Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School WA41JL (744 pupils)
  18. 2.5 miles Antrobus St Mark's CofE Primary School CW96LB (83 pupils)
  19. 2.5 miles Our Lady's Catholic Primary School WA41JD (225 pupils)
  20. 2.5 miles Cornerstones WA130GH (15 pupils)
  21. 2.6 miles Alderman Bolton Junior School WA41PW
  22. 2.6 miles Alderman Bolton Infant School WA41PW
  23. 2.6 miles St Augustine's Catholic Primary School WA41PY (150 pupils)
  24. 2.6 miles Chaigeley School WA42TE (35 pupils)

List of schools in Warrington

Appleton Thorn Primary School

Inspection report

Unique Reference Number 111138
Local Authority Warrington
Inspect ion number 337626
Inspect ion dates 15–16 November 2010
Report ing inspector Clare Henderson

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Primary
School category Community
Age range of pupils 4–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 186
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Mr John Warren
Headteacher Mrs Jackie Stillings
Date of previous school inspection 8 November 2006
School address Arley Road
Appleton Thorn, Warrington
Cheshire WA4 4RW
Telephone number 01925 266764
Fax number 01925 861737
Email address appletonthorn_primary_ reveal email: h…
Age group 4–11
Inspect ion dates 15–16 November 2010
Inspect ion number 337626


This inspection was carried out by three additional inspectors. The inspectors observed 13
lessons taught by nine different teachers. The inspectors held meetings with members of
the governing body, staff, the school improvement partner, parents and carers and pupils,
observed the school's work and looked at documents relating to safeguarding, pupils'
attainment and progress, the curriculum, the school's development plan and the way in
which the school evaluates its own performance. The views of parents and carers, through
108 returned inspection questionnaires, and those of staff and pupils were analysed.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the

  • Whether all pupils make at least good progress, and are, as the school says,
    'independent learners' who 'understand the process of learning, thinking and
    decision making'.
  • Whether the quality of teaching and the use made of assessment information is
  • The quality of the curriculum, care, guidance and support and the impact they have
    on pupils' overall achievement.
  • Whether leaders and managers at all levels show, as the school believes, 'clear
    vision and a strong sense of shared purpose' and outstanding capacity for further

Information about the school

The school is similar in size to others of its type. The proportion of pupils known to be
eligible for free school meals is below average. The percentage of pupils with special
educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. Almost all pupils are of White
British heritage. A few are from minority ethnic groups. The school has gained the
Activemark, Artsmark Silver, ICT Mark, Financial Management Standards in Schools,
National PSHE Accreditation, International Schools Award (intermediate status) and
Healthy School status.
Privately run before- and after-school provision is situated within the school building. This
provision was subject to a separate inspection and a report about its quality can be found
on the Ofsted website.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school? 1
The school's capacity for sustained improvement 1

Main findings

This is an outstanding school. The driving force in its success is excellent leadership. A
description of this that sums up typical views of parents and carers who responded to the
pre-inspection questionnaire is, 'dynamic and reflective leaders with a real sense of vision
for the school's long and mid-term future'. This outstanding leadership at all levels
provides clear direction and promotes an extremely strong desire from all staff that each
pupil will succeed.
Children begin the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills which are broadly in-line with
those expected at this age. They make good progress in the Reception class because of
the good quality of provision provided, particularly in the outdoor environment. However,
because planning, assessment and observation systems are not always focused closely on
identifying the next steps needed to fully extend children's learning, progress is good,
rather than outstanding. The outstanding quality of teaching in Years 1 to 6 ensures that
rates of progress accelerate rapidly and all groups of pupils, including those with special
educational needs and/or disabilities consistently make outstanding progress. As a result,
pupils' attainment in English and mathematics by the time they leave in Year 6 is high.
Pupils are excellent ambassadors for the school. They are articulate, enthusiastic and
independent learners. Their exemplary behaviour and tangible enjoyment of school, which
are reflected in their high attendance, confirm this view. They show an excellent
understanding of what is needed to lead healthy, safe and ecologically sensitive lifestyles.
Outstanding care, support and guidance and excellent partnerships within the community
contribute very effectively to pupils' outstanding achievement and social and emotional
development. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. The
highly innovative curriculum is enriched with excellent features. These include many high
class opportunities for pupils to extend their research and information and communication
technology (ICT) skills very effectively across all subjects. It also provides a wide range of
interesting after-school clubs, which provides many opportunities for pupils to excel in art,
sport and music.
The excellent track record of continued improvement since the last inspection, effectively
illustrates leaders' and the governing body's outstanding ambition and drive. The school is
aware of its strengths and areas for development and has shown it takes effective action
to ensure improvement. This commitment illustrates very well the outstanding capacity
that the school has to improve further.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Accelerate to outstanding children's progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage, by
    refining planning, assessment and observation systems to ensure that they
    consistently identify the next steps needed to extend children's learning.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils 1

'Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon'. This motto, lived
out by all pupils, is one of the contributory factors in their outstanding achievement and
enjoyment of school. In all lessons, pupils are well-motivated and display considerable
enthusiasm and a strong desire to learn. Highly practical and challenging activities,
thought-provoking questions and the exciting use of resources, ensure that learning is
accelerated at a rapid pace. Such high quality learning ensures that pupils are very well
prepared when they leave for the next stage in their learning.
Pupils say they feel extremely safe in school and that they could go to any adult for help if
they had a problem. They are provided excellent opportunities, with adult guidance, to
learn for instance, how to carry out risk assessments. This provides them with skills which
will aid their continued safety and well-being. Pupils willingly take on a very wide range of
responsibilities. They feel adults listen to them and respond positively to their ideas. For
instance, as school councillors, play leaders or members of the Healthy School Task
Group, they engage in decision making and are especially proud of their part in improving
healthy eating options and the outdoor environment. A walking bus, initiated by pupils'
and their parents' and carers' concern for road safety, is highly effective in developing
pupils' understanding of the benefits of staying healthy and safe. Pupils' involvement
within the local and wider communities is outstanding. These links are interwoven
effectively into the life of the school. This is evident as they celebrate the village tradition
of Bawming of the Thorn'; when they entered and won a garden design competition; or in
meeting with pupils from cultures and religions which are different to their own. The
concern that pupils show for those less fortunate than themselves is impressive. The Haiti
Market event, in which pupils made and sold produce for victims of the earthquake,
enabled them to develop enterprise skills very effectively while helping others.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

These are the grades for pupils' outcomes

Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning 1
Taking into account:
Pupils' attainment¹
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress 1
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
and their progress
The extent to which pupils feel safe 1
Pupils' behaviour 1
The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les 1
The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community 1
The extent to which pupils develop wor kplace and other skills that will contribute to
their future economic well-being
Taking into account:
Pupils' attendance¹
The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 1


The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4

is low

How effective is the provision?

All teaching observed was good or better, with the large majority in Years 1 to 6
outstanding. Pupils are provided with real-life contexts for their learning. This was evident
in a Year 6 lesson in which pupils designed a garden, using and applying their
mathematical skills to help to achieve the task. Teachers' on-going review and assessment
of pupils' work ensure that pupils have a clear idea of what needs to be done next in order
to maintain improvement. Tasks are matched precisely to pupils' ages, interests and
varying abilities. Gifted and more-able pupils are challenged to extend their skills to the
The school is at the forefront of innovative curriculum design. It has enthusiastically
grasped the opportunity to develop a curriculum in which pupils' literacy, numeracy, and
ICT skills are linked imaginatively with practical investigations, historical and geographical
studies. Residential visits, learning French and German, and an excellent range of after-
school activities and opportunities to excel in music, sport and the arts, add purpose to
pupils' learning and experiences, while also extending opportunities for them to show
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities are expertly supported and early
identification of their needs ensures that necessary support is provided, through a wide
range of school-based programmes and/or external specialist support. Transition

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

arrangements are carefully planned through excellent partnerships formed with local high
schools and networking with local schools.

These are the grades for the quality of provision

The quality of teaching 1
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships
The effectiveness of care, guidance and support 1

How effective are leadership and management?

The headteacher and deputy headteacher lead the school exceptionally well. All staff,
including subject leaders, the site manager and administrative personnel, are highly
committed to enhancing their talents and skills for the benefit of pupils. Close attention is
paid to ensure that provision fully meets the needs of all. Pupils' progress is checked
thoroughly and provision astutely adjusted where needed. Harassment of any form is not
tolerated and the ethos established in the school is one of promoting full equality for all.
For these reasons, the school's capacity to improve is judged outstanding. Links with
parents and carers are excellent. The school grasps every opportunity, through frequent
information meetings for parents and carers and the use of the highly effective website, to
gauge and respond to their views. Governance is outstanding. Members of the governing
body and, particularly the Chair of the Governing Body, whilst being supportive of all the
school does, continually challenge school development, never settling for less than the
best. Exemplary safeguarding procedures, which are central to all the school does,
contribute very effectively to pupils feeling extremely safe and enjoying school immensely.
The quality of community cohesion is good overall. The focus the school gives, through
excellent partnerships within the local community to develop pupils' understanding and
tolerance of differences, is noteworthy. Pupils' experiences and knowledge of cultural and
religious differences at national and global levels are good rather than outstanding as the
impact they have on pupils' attitudes have not yet been fully measured.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

These are the grades for leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambit ion and driving
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers 1
The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being 1
The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles
discriminat ion
The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures 1
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion 2
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money 1

Early Years Foundation Stage

Children get off to a good start to their learning and development in the Early Years
Foundation Stage. They have good opportunities, both indoors and outdoors, to learn
through an exciting range of activities they have chosen for themselves and those that
they are directed to by adults. This develops their imaginative and creative skills well. The
children follow routines well and, as they begin to invent their own games, are rapidly
developing into independent, confident learners. Activities focus well on enriching
children's knowledge and understanding of the world. For instance, through studying
about India, children learn to appreciate other cultures and traditions. Good relationships
with parents and carers underpin the school's good induction and care procedures. Staff
know children well and make sure learning is fun whilst meeting welfare requirements
very effectively. As a result, children make good progress and finish the Reception Year
with skills which are above those expected in all areas of learning. Leadership is good,
with all adults working together effectively. However, planning, assessment and
observation systems do not consistently identify the next steps needed to extend
children's learning.

These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage

Overall effectiveness of the Ear ly Years Foundation Stage 2
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage 2
The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation 2

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms


Views of parents and carers

A much higher than average percentage of parents and carers completed the
questionnaire. Of these, the vast majority were highly positive in their responses. They are
particularly pleased with how happy their children are in school, that the school keeps
their children safe and promotes healthy lifestyles, and that teaching and leadership and
management are excellent. A few feel that the school does not meet their child's particular
needs, take account of their views, inform them of how well children are progressing in
their learning, deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour nor prepares children well
enough for the future. Inspectors followed these issues up and found that the needs of all
pupils are managed extremely well. The learning needs of each child are considered and
reported to parents and carers regularly. Behaviour observed during the inspection was
exemplary, and pupils leave the school extremely well-equipped for the next stage of their

Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's questionnaire

Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Appleton Thorn Primary School to
complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements
about the school.
The inspection team received 107 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total,
there are 186 pupils registered at the school.
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The
percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of
completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question,
the percentages will not add up to 100%.

Statements Strongly
Agree Disagree Strongly
Total % Total % Total % Total %
My child enjoys school 77 72 29 27 1 1 0 0
The school keeps my child
96 90 10 9 1 1 0 0
My school informs me about
my child's progress
62 58 43 40 2 2 0 0
My child is making enough
progress at this school
63 59 40 37 3 3 1 1
The teaching is good at this
66 62 38 36 0 0 0 0
The school helps me to
support my child's learning
65 61 38 36 2 2 0 0
The school helps my child to
have a healthy lifestyle
77 72 30 28 0 0 0 0
The school makes sure that
my child is well prepared for
the future (for example
changing year group,
changing school, and for
children who are finishing
school, entering further or
higher education, or entering
65 61 35 33 1 1 0 0
The school meets my child's
particular needs
64 60 38 36 3 3 1 1
The school deals effectively
with unacceptable behaviour
59 55 38 36 2 2 1 1
The school takes account of
my suggestions and concerns
60 56 36 34 5 5 0 0
The school is led and
managed effectively
84 79 23 21 0 0 0 0
Overall, I am happy with my
child's experience at this
78 73 28 26 1 1 0 0


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding school
provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.
Grade 2 Good These are very positive features of a school. A school that
is good is serving its pupils well.
Grade 3 Satisfactory These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory
school is providing adequately for its pupils.
Grade 4 Inadequate These features are not of an acceptable standard. An
inadequate school needs to make significant improvement
in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors
will make further visits until it improves.

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 58 36 4 2
Primary schools 8 43 40 9
Secondary schools 10 35 42 13
Sixth forms 13 39 45 3
Special schools 33 42 20 4
Pupil referral units 18 40 29 12
All schools 11 42 38 9

New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that inspectors now
make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 and are the most
recently published data available (see Please note that the sample of schools
inspected during the autumn and spring terms 2009/10 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Secondary school figures include those that
have sixth forms, and sixth form figures include only the data specifically for sixth form inspection

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their learning,
development or training.
Attainment: the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and
examination results and in lessons.
Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue
improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what
the school has accomplished so far and on the quality
of its systems to maintain improvement.
Leadership and management: the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities,
not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities,
directing and motivating staff and running the school.
Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
Overall effectiveness: inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall
effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school. The following judgements,
in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness
judgement will be.
The school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils.
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships.
Progress: the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and
over longer periods of time. It is often measured by
comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key
stage with their attainment when they started.

17 November 2010
Dear Pupils

Inspection of Appleton Thorn Primary School, Warrington, WA4 4RW

The inspection team very much enjoyed visiting your school and we were extremely
impressed by how each one of you is eager to do as well as you can. We thoroughly
enjoyed talking to some of you and seeing how much you enjoy your lessons, playtime
and lunchtime. I particularly enjoyed seeing the work you have contributed to the school
website. We judged your school to be outstanding. These are some of the things the
school does very well.

  • Adults take excellent care of you and you told us that you feel extremely safe.
  • You have an excellent knowledge of how to lead a healthy life.
  • You are taught exceedingly well and receive excellent care, support and guidance.
  • You make outstanding progress in lessons and your behaviour is excellent. We were
    very impressed with your responsible attitude and the way you consider each other's
    feelings often before your own.
  • You thoroughly enjoy the many interesting activities arranged for you, such as your
    annual Bawming of the Thorn' celebration.
  • Your parents and carers are very pleased with your progress in school.

Your headteacher and all the school's leaders are determined to continue to improve your
school so that you all continue to do as well as you possibly can. We have asked your
teachers to do one thing more. That is, to ensure the work planned for children in the
Early Years Foundation Stage helps them to achieve the very best they can in their
learning and development.
You can help by continuing to work as hard as you possibly can. This will help you
continue to achieve well and reach even higher standards.
Yours sincerely

Mrs Clare Henderson
Lead inspector


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