School etc

Avondale Primary School

Avondale Primary School
Durham Road

phone: 01254 703449

headteacher: Mr Stewart Plowes Ba Pgce


school holidays: via Blackburn and Darwen council

409 pupils aged 4—10y mixed gender
386 pupils capacity: 106% full

225 boys 55%


180 girls 44%


Last updated: June 20, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 368457, Northing: 422966
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.702, Longitude: -2.4793
Accepting pupils
4—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
March 6, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › Rossendale and Darwen › Sunnyhurst
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Darwen

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles Tullyallan Special School BB31HZ
  2. 0.1 miles The Sunnyhurst Centre BB31HZ (9 pupils)
  3. 0.3 miles St Cuthbert's Church of England Primary School BB30HY (205 pupils)
  4. 0.6 miles Holy Trinity VC School BB32RW (268 pupils)
  5. 0.6 miles Darwen St James' Church of England Primary School BB30EY (172 pupils)
  6. 0.6 miles St Edward's Roman Catholic Primary School Blackburn BB30AA (202 pupils)
  7. 0.7 miles Darwen Childrens Centre BB30ER
  8. 0.7 miles Darwen St James CofE Primary Academy BB30EY
  9. 0.8 miles Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio BB33HD (71 pupils)
  10. 0.9 miles Darwen Moorland High School BB33AU
  11. 0.9 miles Darwen Vale High School BB30AL (838 pupils)
  12. 0.9 miles Darwen School BB33HW
  13. 0.9 miles Darwen Aldridge Community Academy BB33HD (1144 pupils)
  14. 1 mile Turncroft Nursery School BB32DN (104 pupils)
  15. 1 mile Sudell Primary School BB33EB (197 pupils)
  16. 1 mile St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School, Darwen BB32SG (141 pupils)
  17. 1 mile Darwen Vale High School BB30AL
  18. 1.2 mile Lower Darwen Primary School BB30RB (278 pupils)
  19. 1.2 mile Darwen St Peter's Church of England Primary School BB32BW (278 pupils)
  20. 1.5 mile St Stephen's Tockholes CofE Primary School BB30LX (43 pupils)
  21. 1.6 mile Ashleigh Primary School BB32JT (235 pupils)
  22. 1.6 mile St James' Church of England Primary School BB30QP (188 pupils)
  23. 1.6 mile Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Roman Catholic Primary School Blackburn BB23UG (152 pupils)
  24. 1.6 mile Bank Hey School BB24NW

List of schools in Darwen

Avondale Primary School

Inspection report

Age group 4–11
Inspection date(s) 6–7 March 2012
Inspection number 379771
Unique Reference Number 119294
Local authority Blackburn with Darwen
Inspect ion number 379771
Inspect ion dates 6–7 March 2012
Lead inspector Geoffrey Yates

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 389
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair John Bentley
Headteacher John Hodkinson
Date of previous school inspection 2 May 2007
School address Durham Road
Telephone number 01254 703449
Fax number 01254 760085
Email address reveal email: avon…


Inspection team
This inspection was carried out with two days' notice. The inspection team visited 26
lessons, observing 17 teachers. Meetings were held with the headteacher, senior leaders
teaching staff, the Chair of the Governing Body and groups of pupils. The inspectors also
heard 12 pupils read. There were no responses to the on line questionnaire (Parent View) to
take account of in planning the inspection. Inspectors observed the school’s work and
looked at minutes of governing body meetings, the systems for assessing and monitoring

Geoffrey Yates
Steven Hill
Additional inspector
Additional inspector
John Shutt
Additional inspector

pupils’ progress, safeguarding procedures, pupils’ work and teachers’ planning and marking.

Inspectors took account of questionnaires completed by 94 parents and carers and those
completed by pupils and staff.

Information about the school

Avondale Primary School is an above average sized primary school. Most pupils are from
White British backgrounds. There are no pupils at an early stage of learning English as an
additional language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is
broadly average. The percentage of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs
is similar to that seen nationally. The school has achieved a number of awards including the

International Schools’ award. The school meets the current floor standard.

There is on site after school provision for pupils which is not managed by the school. This
provision is subject to a separate Ofsted inspection.

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

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

Inspection judgements

Overall Effectiveness 2
Achievement of pupils 2
Quality of teaching 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils 1
Leadership and management 2

Key Findings

This is a good school. Under the strong leadership of the headteacher the school

promotes pupils’ learning successfully and serves its community well. It is not an

outstanding school because teaching is good overall rather than outstanding and

recent improvements in the pupils’ reading skills have yet to impact fully on raising

attainment in reading. Comments such as, ‘Avondale is a very happy school which in

my opinion ticks all the boxes,’ confirm parents’ and carers’ very positive views of the


  • Pupils make good progress overall and achievement is good. Children achieve well in
    the Early Years Foundation Stage from starting points which are below those expected
    for their age. By the end of Year 6, pupils’ attainment is broadly average in English and
    mathematics but it is higher in writing than in reading.
  • The quality of teaching is good with examples of outstanding practice. Where teaching
    is outstanding, lessons move at a very fast pace and teachers are highly effective in
    ensuring that pupils know exactly what they need to do and how to do it. In classes
    where teaching is highly effective, marking provides pupils with clear information about
    how to improve their work. However, this high quality is not yet consistent throughout
    the school.
  • Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding. Incidents of bullying or racial harassment are few and
    far between and dealt with exceedingly well. Pupils have a very good understanding of
    how to keep themselves safe in various situations, including when using the internet.
  • Leadership and management are good. The clear focus on pupils’ academic and
    personal needs and on having systems to evaluate the school’s work are essential
    components in ensuring pupils enjoy all aspects of school life and are well prepared for
    the future. The monitoring of teaching is well established but opportunities are
    sometimes missed to use the outcomes to best effect.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Raise attainment in reading by:
    developing further a more structured approach to the teaching of reading skills
    ensuring pupils use and apply the skills they are taught.
  • Raise the overall quality teaching to outstanding so that pupils make consistently rapid
    progress by:
    ensuring that all lessons move at a fast pace
    ensuring that, throughout the lessons, pupils know exactly what they need to do
    and are challenged to do their very best
    ensuring that marking is effective
    using the outcomes from the monitoring of teaching to pinpoint what teachers
    need to do to improve their teaching skills further.

Main Report

Achievement of pupils

The parents’ and carers’ responses in the questionnaires show that they are of the view that
children make good progress and this reflects the inspection findings. Children make good
progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Good assessment procedures, which have
improved since the last inspection, and the strong focus placed on the promotion of
children's early language experiences mean that children are increasingly well prepared for
their future learning by time they start Year 1. For example, the story entitled The Naughty
Bus was used very well to promote a wealth of valuable learning experiences in both
classes, with children keen to talk about events in the story, to create models and to write
letters, demonstrating tremendous enthusiasm for the tasks.
Pupils of all abilities make good progress through the rest of the school but progress in
reading, while now good, has been variable in recent years. As a result of recent
improvements in the teaching of reading, attainment in this area is now broadly average by
the end of Year 2, but it is below pupils’ attainment in writing and mathematics. By the time
pupils leave Year 6, attainment is broadly average in English, including reading, and
mathematics. All pupils respond well to the tasks set. For example, in a lesson in Key Stage
2 pupils made especially good progress in developing skills linked to journalistic writing.
Pupils with disabilities and those with special educational needs make good progress
throughout the school because they receive good quality support and lessons are well
planned to match work closely to their identified needs.
Pupils listen attentively to their teachers and their peers and speak well in response to
carefully framed questions. They take a pride in their work. They often write meaningfully at
length, although sometimes opportunities are missed to practise and improve their literacy
and numeracy skills in other subjects. The pupils work well collaboratively in group activities
and make good use of opportunities for discussion in pairs to air their views and deepen
their understanding. For example, during the inspection pupils were keen to talk about how
they would deal with a dilemma, or whether you should judge someone by what they look
like. Pupils increasingly take responsibility for managing and improving their own work.
However, in some instances, marking is not precise enough for them to do that.

Quality of teaching

Parents and carers report that the overall quality of teaching is good. Inspection evidence
shows good teaching in all classes, with outstanding practice in some. Good or better
teaching contributes greatly to pupils’ outstanding behaviour and highly positive attitudes to
their learning. Teaching assistants provide effective support. Planning ensures that pupils
develop their previous knowledge, skills and understanding over a range of lessons. The

way the curriculum is taught ensures pupils’ own interests are linked well into the chosen

topics, with plenty of opportunities provided for them to discuss their ideas. The reorganised

system for teaching the sounds that letters make and word decoding skills is leading to

pupils’ improved progress in reading because the teaching is precisely focused on key skills.

However, the full impact of these improvements has yet to be seen. In the Early Years
Foundation Stage, teaching is consistently good and sometimes outstanding. A range of

engaging activities captures children’s imagination, allows them to investigate for

themselves and moves their learning on quickly. The small outside area places some
restrictions on what can be accomplished but, nevertheless, is used effectively to support

children’s learning.

In the very best lessons, teachers make learning highly stimulating. For example, Year 6
pupils not only researched and learned about what it was like to be without fresh fruit and
vegetables in the Second World War but also responded very well to the challenge to plan
and plant potatoes in the school grounds, just as pupils at school during the war had to do.
In the very best lessons no time is lost; pupils know exactly what they will learn and how
they will know if they have succeeded. Work is well matched to the needs of all learners
with swift intervention from teachers if pupils find the work too easy or too challenging.
Where teaching is not as strong, but nevertheless good, opportunities are sometimes missed
to intervene when pupils need help and the pace of lessons slows at times resulting in pupils
not completing the tasks set. Teachers employ information and communication technology
(ICT) well to engage pupils. Throughout the school, lessons provide plenty of opportunities
to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Relationships are very
strong and teachers and teaching assistants interact well with pupils to support them in their
learning. Marking is completed regularly and is used well to tell pupils how successful they
have been in specific tasks. However, there is some variability in the use of comments to
help pupils improve their work in subjects other than literacy or to indicate how to take the
next steps in their learning.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Pupils say they enjoy greatly everything about ‘our’ school. Those who attend the well
organised breakfast club say how much they enjoy it, despite having to get up early! From

an early age, children develop excellent social skills and highly positive attitudes to learning.

These qualities are maintained throughout the school. Pupils are polite and respectful. They
take a great pride in their work as shown in the care taken to present it well. Parents and
carers say that the school is a very safe place and that, overall, there is a good standard of
behaviour at the school. Exemplary behaviour was evident in many lessons observed during
the inspection and around the school. When talking with inspectors, pupils said that they
feel very safe and that bullying in any form is not a problem because it is dealt with
effectively. The school’s Worry Box scheme is much appreciated by pupils. Younger pupils
know that School Leaders and other pupils, as well as the teachers and other adults in
school, will help with any problems if they arise. A member of staff who works closely with
pupils whose circumstances have made them vulnerable, others with emotional needs, and
with parents and carers, carries out her duties outstandingly well. As a result, obstacles to
learning are addressed well and pupils make good progress from their starting points. Pupils
particularly appreciate the praise system with the ‘star of the week award’, prized by all
pupils who are chosen to receive it, which encourages them to achieve well, work hard and
develop teamwork and social skills. Attendance is above average. The school council works
very hard on behalf of other pupils. Its members are particularly proud that their classmates
have chosen them to take on responsibility.

Leadership and management

The very well respected and highly experienced headteacher provides a strong direction and
sets a positive example because the needs of the pupils are uppermost in everything he
does. Under his leadership, with the strong support of the senior leadership team, the
school provides a highly positive and caring learning environment. The leadership and
management of teaching and learning is good but some written evaluations of teaching lack
clarity in terms of what teachers need to do to improve further. Major improvements to an
ageing building have ensured that pupils have a very good indoor environment in which to
work. The school has a good capacity to improve. It has an accurate view of its provision.
All staff, including teaching assistants, are enthusiastic and skilful in leading the
development of many aspects of provision. The governing body carries out its duties well.
The quality of provision, including teaching, and pupils’ achievement, have improved since
the last inspection and these aspects are well placed to continue to develop. For example,

provision for pupils’ cultural development, an issue at the last inspection, is now of a good

quality. The school’s arrangements for safeguarding, including the checking of staff’s
suitability to work with children, meet statutory requirements. The leadership team ensures
that equality and awareness of diversity are promoted very well. As a result, for example,
the work done to improve boys’ attainment in writing now means that boys’ achieve well in
their writing skills.
The curriculum is good. The Early Years Foundation Stage provides a positive learning
environment with well planned activities for children to select for themselves. Across the
school, teachers make good use of projects and interventions to enhance the curriculum.
The school has a strong and successful commitment to physical education and the arts and
this is evident in the enjoyment shown by Year 4 pupils, all of whom are learning to play
brass instruments. Leaders and managers play a crucial role in promoting pupils’ good
spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by consistently reinforcing the importance
of this aspect of provision through assemblies and lessons.


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 46 46 8 0
Primary schools 8 47 40 5
Secondary schools 14 38 40 8
Special schools 28 48 20 4
Pupil referral units 15 50 29 5
All schools 11 46 38 6

New school inspection arrangements have been introduced from 1 January 2012. This means that inspectors
make judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011 and represent judgements
that were made under the school inspection arrangements that were introduced on 1 September 2009. These
data are consistent with the latest published official statistics about maintained school inspection outcomes
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as weaker
schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Primary schools include primary academy converters. Secondary schools include secondary academy
converters, sponsor-led academies and city technology colleges. Special schools include special academy
converters and non-maintained special schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100.

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their learning and
development taking account of their attainment.
Attainment: the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and
examination results and in lessons.
Behaviour how well pupils behave in lessons, with emphasis on their
attitude to learning. Pupils' punctuality to lessons and their
conduct around the school.
Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue improving based
on its self-evaluation and what the school has accomplished
so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain
Leadership and
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just
the governors and 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.
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.
Safety how safe pupils are in school, including in lessons; and their
understanding of risks. Pupils' freedom from bullying and
harassment. How well the school promotes safety, for
example e-learning.

8 March 2012
Dear Pupils

Inspection of Avondale Primary School, Darwen, BB3 1NN

Thank you for the very friendly welcome that you gave the team when we inspected
your school recently. It was wonderful to see you enjoying your lessons so much. We
really enjoyed our visit, especially talking with you. The pupils we spoke were superb
ambassadors for your school. The inspectors agree with your school that you receive

a good education and that you achieve well. Older pupils told us how much they

enjoyed being school leaders and how proud they were to wear the blue sweat–
shirts. It was an absolute delight to see how outstandingly well you behave, not just
in lessons but around the school.

We agree with you that everyone who works in the school takes very good care of

you. You work hard in lessons and are very polite. You told us that you feel very safe
in school and you know a great deal about how to stay safe.

We have asked your school to make sure that it builds on the improvements already

made in improving your reading skills so that you make even better progress. You
can help your teachers by remembering to use the reading skills you are being
taught when faced with words or a text that is difficult to understand. There is
currently good teaching throughout your school with some that is outstanding. We
want your school to do all it can to make all teaching outstanding so that the
progress you make is rapid rather than good. You can help by making sure you take
full notice of all that is said in lessons and by always trying your very best with your

We hope you keep on working hard so you can continue to play a big part in trying

to make your school even better. Also, keep up your good attendance record!
Yours sincerely
Geoffrey Yates
Lead inspector


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