School etc

Ashurst Primary School

Ashurst Primary School
New Glade Hill
Off Chain Lane
St Helens

phone: 01744 678150

headteacher: Mr Brian Banks

reveal email: ashu…


school holidays: via St. Helens council

252 pupils aged 2—10y mixed gender
210 pupils capacity: 120% full

155 boys 62%


95 girls 38%


Last updated: June 18, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 353022, Northing: 396802
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.466, Longitude: -2.7091
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
July 11, 2013
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › St. Helens North › Blackbrook
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Investor in People
Committed IiP Status
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in St. Helens

Schools nearby

  1. 0.2 miles Blackbrook St Mary's Catholic Primary School WA119QY (399 pupils)
  2. 0.2 miles Blackbrook RC Infant School WA119QY
  3. 0.2 miles Blackbrook RC Junior School WA119QY
  4. 0.2 miles St. Catherine's Secure Centre WA119RJ
  5. 0.4 miles Orrell School WA119RF
  6. 0.5 miles St Augustine of Canterbury Catholic High School WA119BB (639 pupils)
  7. 0.6 miles Richard Evans Community Primary School WA110AH
  8. 0.6 miles Richard Evans Community Junior School WA110AH
  9. 0.7 miles Merton Bank Primary School WA91EJ (208 pupils)
  10. 0.7 miles St Peter and St Paul Catholic Primary School WA119AT (207 pupils)
  11. 0.7 miles Merton Bank Junior School WA91EJ
  12. 0.7 miles Merton Bank Infant School WA91EJ
  13. 0.8 miles Richard Evans Community Infant School WA110BH
  14. 0.9 miles Carr Mill Junior School WA117PQ
  15. 1 mile Carr Mill Infant and Nursery School WA117PT
  16. 1 mile Legh Vale Primary School WA110ER (576 pupils)
  17. 1 mile Carr Mill Primary School WA117PQ (251 pupils)
  18. 1.1 mile Pace WA92LH
  19. 1.1 mile Parish CofE Primary School WA101LW (202 pupils)
  20. 1.1 mile Ashtons Green School WA92LH
  21. 1.1 mile Lansbury Bridge School WA91TB (206 pupils)
  22. 1.2 mile Allanson Street Primary School WA91PL (451 pupils)
  23. 1.2 mile Parr Flat Community Junior School WA92JF
  24. 1.2 mile Holy Cross Catholic Primary School WA101LN (213 pupils)

List of schools in St. Helens

School report

Ashurst Primary School

New Glade Hill, Blackbrook, St Helens, WA11 9QJ

Inspection dates 6–7 May 2015
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous inspection: Requires improvement 3
Leadership and management Good 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils Good 2
Quality of teaching Good 2
Achievement of pupils Good 2
Early years provision Good 2

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because

Highly skilled, committed leadership has inspired
As a result of effective provision, children get a
In all key stages, all groups of pupils achieve well,
Improvements in attainment and progress mean
Pupils are taught well. Teachers make learning
and invigorated staff to make the school the best
it can be for every pupil. Consequently,
attainment has risen and the proportion of
outstanding teaching is increasing. There is good
capacity to sustain and further extend these
good start to their learning in the early years.
including those who are disabled, those with
special educational needs and those who are
that by Year 6 pupils’ attainment is above average
in reading, writing and mathematics.
enjoyable and encourage their pupils to think
hard, reason and explain their answers. Pupils
know how well they are doing and say comments
in teachers’ marking are helpful.
Pupils enjoy school and behave well, are keen to
Well-promoted spiritual, moral, social and cultural
Pupils and their families benefit from excellent
Pupils say they feel safe and secure. This is one
Parents who responded to the online questionnaire
learn and work hard. They become helpful, polite
and responsible individuals who understand and
respect different religions and cultures, well
prepared for life in a multicultural society.
development, based on the ‘Ashurst Values’, instils
traditional British values including fairness and
consideration for other views.
pastoral care, especially those whose circumstances
make them vulnerable, and this helps them learn
reason why their attendance is above average.
or spoke to inspectors all said their children are
kept safe, and expressed very positive views about
all aspects of the school.
The quality of teaching is improving securely but
does not yet result in outstanding achievement.
Occasionally, expectations of what pupils can
achieve are not always high enough to ensure
that the most able pupils are always fully
Pupils sometimes repeat careless spelling errors in
their written work across the curriculum subjects.

Information about this inspection

  • The inspection team observed a range of lessons, including one observed jointly with the executive
    headteacher and one with the deputy headteacher. They also visited small-group teaching sessions.
  • Inspectors talked with a number of parents and held meetings with pupils, staff, the local authority
    representative and members of the governing body. A telephone discussion was held with the Chair of the
    Governing Body.
  • The inspection team looked at pupils’ books, observed pupils outside at break and lunchtimes and listened
    to readers from Years 1, 2 and 6.
  • Inspectors examined systems used by the school to gather an accurate picture of pupil performance,
    scrutinised current achievement data and looked at how the quality of teaching is checked and monitored.
  • The school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils were inspected.
  • Inspectors looked at the 46 responses recorded online in Ofsted’s Parent View, outcomes of the school’s
    recent parent survey and the 21 questionnaires completed by members of staff.

Inspection team

Kathleen McArthur, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Carol Machell Additional Inspector
Sheila Mawer Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • Ashurst is an average-sized primary school.
  • Almost all the pupils are of White British heritage.
  • The proportion of disadvantaged pupils supported by pupil premium funding is above the national
    average. The pupil premium is additional government funding to support those pupils who are known to
    be eligible for free school meals and those children that are looked after by the local authority
  • The proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs is close to the national
  • Early years provision is part-time for children in the Nursery and full-time for children in the Reception
  • The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum expectations for
    pupils’ attainment and progress.
  • Since the time of the previous inspection, there have been a considerable number of staffing changes at
    all levels, and new governors have been appointed, including the Chair of the Governing Body. The
    executive headteacher has led the school since September 2014.
  • The school provides before- and after-school clubs every day.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the quality of teaching and learning further to outstanding so that achievement becomes
    outstanding by:
    – ensuring staff always expect their pupils to achieve their very best and provide even more challenging
    activities that will inspire them to aim even higher and progress all the more rapidly, especially the most
    able pupils
    – building on and extending the current system of sharing high quality teaching practice and skills
    between staff so that pupils always receive the best learning experiences in every subject
    – embedding the recently introduced system for spelling to raise the quality of pupils’ writing further so
    they confidently, accurately and consistently use and apply their spelling skills in their work across the

Inspection judgements

The leadership and management are good
  • The inspiring senior leadership team swiftly evaluated what needed to be done to rapidly raise
    achievement. They have strengthened the effectiveness of governors and staff in the drive for
    improvement. Morale is high, achievement is rising rapidly, attendance has risen and teaching is
    increasingly outstanding. Leaders are not complacent and know that staff expectations for their pupils
    could be even higher, especially for the most able.
  • Providing equal opportunities are high priority. There is no discrimination and good relationships between
    all pupils and with adults are very evident throughout the school. Additional support and provision for
    those who are vulnerable or who may find learning difficult enables them to participate fully in all the
    school offers, such as breakfast at the nurture group or the homework club. Consequently, all groups of
    pupils in all key stages achieve well.
  • Regular checks on the quality of teaching by leaders include lesson observations, planning and book
    scrutiny, and analysis of progress information. Teachers are required to act on any recommendations and
    are held to account for their pupils’ progress. Outcomes of these checks lead to high quality professional
    development, which staff report has been extremely valuable in extending their skills and knowledge. The
    system for staff to observe each other and share good practice has yet to be fully utilised.
  • Senior leaders are good roles models, both in delivering high quality teaching and in their management
    roles. Middle leaders check the quality of teaching, learning and progress in their areas of responsibility,
    and contribute well to school improvement planning.
  • Good leadership in the early years ensures children make a secure, happy start in school and progress
  • Well-targeted pupil premium funds provide small-group interventions and brief one-to-one school
    teaching sessions. This enables disadvantaged pupils to progress as well and often faster than their
    classmates. School data show any remaining gaps are rapidly closing.
  • The primary school sports and physical education funding has been used to good effect to provide extra
    facilities, for example sports coaching or transport to competitive events. More pupils are now
    participating in physical activities, giving them the basis of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Good promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development has created a very happy,
    harmonious school. Voting for the school council showed pupils how democracy works and the garden
    club teaches them to grow their own food, both valuable skills for later life. Pupils study other religions
    and cultures, for example Chinese New Year. They grow into mature, responsible individuals who respect
    different religions, lifestyles and cultures and are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
  • The rich, well-planned curriculum is carefully adapted to ensure each pupil makes good progress in all
    subjects, and gains the numeracy and literacy skills needed for the future. They use these skills across
    the school’s ‘challenge curriculum’, for example calculating the distance and time differences between
    Britain and countries visited by Charles Darwin, measuring materials for a model Viking longboat or
    reporting on endangered animals. Careless spelling errors sometimes lower the quality of this work.
  • Clubs are varied, well attended, and there is something for every age group.
  • Parents are valued as partners in their children’s learning. They are kept well informed and receive
    information via newsletters, reports and the website, and at regular parents’ evenings.
  • Arrangements for safeguarding pupils meet all statutory requirements and are effective. Training in child
    protection is up to date and staff and parents know whom to approach if they have concerns or need
  • The local authority has provided good support to staff and governors. The executive headteacher has
    made full use of this support to enhance provision, develop staff skills, and establish good working links
    with local schools.
  • The governance of the school:
    Governance has strengthened and is now effective. Many governors have been appointed since the
    time of the previous inspection, including the Chair of the Governing Body. They bring valuable skills,
    and extensive training has increased their understanding and knowledge, for example their
    responsibilities in staff appointments. They know the school well, challenge and question leaders
    rigorously and offer well-informed support. They contribute effectively to school self-evaluation and are
    not afraid to make difficult decisions.
    Using data and information from different sources, including school and national data, governors
    question leaders about how well pupils are doing and compare the school’s performance with others
    both locally and nationally. They know that, although the attainment of those covered by pupil
    premium funds has lagged behind their classmates, effective use of the funding is rapidly closing this
    Governors ensure the primary school physical education and sport funding has provided staff training
    and initiatives that have broadened the range of activities on offer and increased participation. They
    are confident that this will have long-term benefits to pupils’ health.
    The finance committee carefully directs funds to support school improvement. Governors ensure
    professional development is used to improve the quality of teaching and develop staff as future
    leaders. Any pay rewards for good teaching are linked to outcomes of staff performance reviews.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • The behaviour of pupils is good. Inspection evidence and school records show this is typical over time,
    and pupils and their parents agree. Records show no discriminatory actions or behaviour, and exclusions
    are extremely rare. Based on the ‘Ashurst Values’, the newly implemented behaviour management
    system has resulted in fewer recorded behaviour incidents because pupils know rules are to keep them
    safe and they say these are fair.
  • Pupils comment that the school is ‘a good place to make friends’, and they work and play happily in the
    calm, harmonious environment. During the inspection, very wet weather kept pupils indoors all day but
    they acted sensibly and behaved well throughout.
  • Very strong, supportive relationships between pupils and adults ensure learning proceeds smoothly.
    Pupils cooperate willingly in class, in groups and with other adults such as sports coaches. Their positive
    approach to every task contributes strongly to their good progress.
  • High quality pastoral care is a strength. Pupils and families who may be vulnerable receive pastoral
    support, and the school provides strong links with external support agencies. Consequently, these pupils
    participate fully and progress as well as their classmates.
  • Attendance is above average and has improved over time. The school sends a clear message to pupils
    and families that education is highly valued and important.
  • The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good.
  • 'All the teachers are helpful and protect us.’ This was a typical comment showing that pupils feel safe,
    secure and cared for. They say staff will always listen to any worries and quickly sort them out. Pupils say
    bullying is not an issue, just some occasional ‘falling out’. Anti-bullying and internet safety weeks help
    pupils understand that bullying may take different forms, such as cyber-bullying, and they know they
    must always tell if they experience any.
  • The safeguarding policy has been thoroughly overhauled and all records are carefully maintained. The
    pastoral manager and the behaviour and safeguarding team ensure that staff are fully aware of any child
    protection issues. They receive regular safeguarding training, so they know school procedures and fulfil
    their responsibilities effectively.
  • The nurture group gives those who attend a good start to their school day in a caring atmosphere.
  • The school is clean, well maintained and the site is secure. Staff supervise outdoor areas vigilantly and
    the pupil monitors are always on hand to ensure others move around safely, for example, patrolling the
    steps or manning the doors.
The quality of teaching is good
  • High quality, focused training has increased staff skills and knowledge, for example in the teaching of
    mathematics. Consistent systems for teaching reading, writing and mathematics and for planning,
    marking and assessment have successfully raised the overall quality of teaching. Inspection evidence and
    leaders’ monitoring records show that more teaching is outstanding.
  • Carefully phrased, open questions encourage pupils to think, reason and explain their answers. This was
    seen in a challenging activity when older pupils were tasked with teaching inverse and corresponding
    angles to their partner, a task that deepened their understanding most effectively.
  • Well-organised classrooms with good quality displays help pupils with punctuation, vocabulary and
    mathematical strategies. Staff use resources such as interactive white boards to help pupils learn well,
    seen when pupils calculated travel times across continents and time zones.
  • Many pupils told inspectors that teachers make learning fun. Tasks build on prior learning so pupils are
    really keen to learn. For example, studying
The Railway Children

stimulated pupils to consider and think

deeply about issues such as poverty and made them want to find out more.

  • Reading and writing are taught well, shown in the rate of acceleration in pupil progress. Mathematics
    teaching had been less effective than reading or writing. However, staff training and input from external
    consultants has made a big impact, seen in rapidly rising attainment in mathematics. Pupils report that
    the mathematics ‘tool kits’ are really useful.
  • Skilled learning assistants make a strong contribution to pupils’ good progress. They are deployed well
    and provide valuable support, often for pupils who may find learning difficult and pupils whose
    circumstances make them vulnerable. This ensures they progress as well as their classmates.
  • Staff use assessment rigorously to check how well their pupils are doing. This information is used to build
    on learning and plan work that matches pupils’ varying needs, to stretch those who find learning easy
    and direct extra help where needed. Very occasionally, the most-able pupils are not fully challenged.
  • Work is thoroughly marked. Pupils are expected to respond and they say teachers’ comments are helpful.
    Homework is set regularly and there is a homework club if pupils choose to receive extra support.
The achievement of pupils is good
  • All groups of pupils make good progress in all key stages and the majority now exceed the progress
    expected of them. They are well prepared for further learning.
  • Attainment has varied over time. In previous years, when pupils left the school at the end of Year 6,
    attainment typically matched national averages and not enough pupils reached the higher levels. Leaders’
    rigorous actions, based on their determination to raise attainment, have resulted in an improving picture
    of achievement in both key stages, with rapid and sustainable gains in pupils’ outcomes and progress.
  • At the end of Key Stage 1, school assessment records and pupils’ books show that those currently in Year
    2 are well on course to exceed the expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. This represents a
    significant increase in the proportion expected to reach the higher levels.
  • Inspection evidence, school data and the work in pupils’ books show that pupils currently in Year 6 are
    working at above average levels. They are well on course for better outcomes in all subjects and more
    are expected to reach the higher Level 5.
  • Staff training has seen considerable improvements in the way mathematics is taught, which benefited all
    pupils, and outcomes have risen rapidly across the school. When compared to national measures, just
    over half the pupils currently in Year 6 have exceeded their expected progress in mathematics and are on
    course to reach the higher level, with a small proportion expected to attain the higher Level 6.
  • Pupils write confidently and at length in English and on a variety of topics across the curriculum, for
    example in history. However, careless spelling errors, such as ‘cheese’ spelt ‘chese’, sometimes lessen the
    quality of their work. The new system for teaching and learning spellings is at an early stage of
    implementation and has yet to become fully effective in improving pupils’ spelling skills
  • Pupils achieve well in reading. In 2014, the proportion of pupils who met the expected standard in the
    national sounds and letters (phonics) screening check was below the national figure. Rapid actions by
    leaders and staff included changing how daily sessions were delivered so that pupils learn in small groups
    closely matched to their ability. Consequently, pupils now progress rapidly in learning to sound out and
    blend letters into words. Year 1 pupils are securely on track to match or exceed the national standard in
  • Pupils say they really enjoy using the new library and school councillors represented their views on what
    books were purchased. Consequently, pupils select from an extensive choice of quality books. Older
    pupils read with great enjoyment and Michael Morpurgo is a favourite author. They demonstrate good
    understanding of the text. ‘I read whenever I get a chance’ was a typical comment from pupils.
  • Disadvantaged pupils achieve well, make good progress and often progress more rapidly than their
    classmates. In 2014, their attainment in reading and mathematics was just over a term behind other
    pupils nationally but about a term ahead of their classmates. In writing, their attainment was about two
    terms behind others in the school and one term behind others nationally. Careful analysis of the impact
    made by pupil premium funding, such as support in small groups, shows that any remaining gaps are
    very rapidly closing.
  • Provision for disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is well managed and they
    receive thoughtfully planned extra help with learning. As a result, they progress as well as their
  • Although sometimes the most able pupils are not fully stretched to reach their full potential, when they
    are given additional challenges in lessons these deepen their knowledge and understanding. Overall they
    do well, for example in mathematics when investigating corresponding and alternate angles. Those who
    show a particular talent, such as in art or gymnastics, may be signposted to a specialist club or entered
    for external competitions. ‘Change for Life’ training is offered to pupils who show leadership skills and
    pupils carry out duties as school councillors or monitors very responsibly.
The early years provision is good
  • Most children enter the Nursery class with skills below those typical for their age, particularly in
    mathematics. They make good progress and move into the Reception class with skills closer to those
    expected for their age. By the end of Reception class, most children, including those who are
    disadvantaged, have acquired the skills expected for their age. A significant proportion has exceeded
    them and has reached a good level of development. They are well prepared for Year 1.
  • High quality care means children feel very safe and secure, seen in the confident way they choose and
    tackle their tasks, behave well and respond to adults. Children from the Nursery and Reception classes
    work and play happily together, organise their equipment, take turns and are willing to share. The
    transition between classes is smooth with very little interruption to children’s learning
  • Good teaching provides a wide range of imaginative, fun activities that tempt children to investigate. The
    Gruffalo Café in the mud kitchen thrilled them. Staff take every opportunity to develop language and
    mathematical skills, encouraging the children to order imaginary foods such as snake soup or owl
    burgers, or to count plates and customers.
  • Daily stories and sessions focusing on letters and the sounds they make prepare children well for reading
    and writing. Reception children quickly spotted their new letter, ‘k’ and had great fun scribing it in the air,
    saying, ‘We go down the kangaroo’s back, then his leg and his tail.’
  • The outdoor area is much improved and resourced since the previous inspection, with activities in all
    areas of learning. Children are keen to work outside and, despite heavy rain, they happily got into their
    waterproofs and remained actively learning, building crates to form another café, counting plates and
    discussing the menu.
  • Children’s progress in all areas is rigorously assessed, monitored and moderated to ensure accuracy. This
    information is used well to plan activities that reinforce and extend children’s skills, and to ensure none
    slip behind.
  • Good leadership is based on extensive knowledge of all requirements and a passion to improve outcomes
    for every child. The work of learning assistants is a strength and their skills contribute effectively to
    children’s good start in school.

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes that
provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures that pupils
are very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or
Grade 2 Good A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all
its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
Grade 3 Requires
A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it is not
inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within 24 months
from the date of this inspection.
Grade 4 Inadequate A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing
to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s
leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have
the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This
school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires
significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to
be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular monitoring by
Ofsted inspectors.

School details

Unique reference number 104771
Local authority St Helens
Inspection number 462306

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 3–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 256
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Councillor S Murphy
Headteacher Pam Potter
Date of previous school inspection 11 July 2013
Telephone number 01744 678150
Fax number 01744 678151
Email address reveal email: ashu…

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