Bernard Gilpin Primary School
Tyne and Wear
phone: 0191 5536523
headteacher: Mr Andrew Bainbridge
350 pupils capacity: 90% full
165 boys 53%
150 girls 48%
Last updated: June 19, 2014
Primary — Community School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Community School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 434347, Northing: 549628
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 54.84, Longitude: -1.4667
- Accepting pupils
- 5—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- July 11, 2012
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North East › Houghton and Sunderland South › Copt Hill
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- 0.2 miles Houghton Le Spring Nursery School DH58AE (106 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Houghton Kepier Sports College:A Foundation School DH45BH
- 0.3 miles Kepier DH45BH (1029 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Gillas Lane Primary School DH58EH (130 pupils)
- 0.4 miles St Michael's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School DH58NF (207 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Houghton-Le-Spring Junior School DH45AH
- 0.4 miles Houghton Infant School DH45AH
- 0.4 miles Gillas Lane Infant School DH58EH
- 0.4 miles Copt Hill School DH58HP
- 0.5 miles Davenport School DH58NF
- 0.5 miles Glebe School DH58NF
- 0.7 miles Burnside Primary School DH45HB (166 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Eppleton Primary School DH59AJ
- 0.8 miles Eppleton Academy Primary School DH59AJ (162 pupils)
- 1 mile Newbottle Primary School DH44EE (462 pupils)
- 1 mile Newbottle Primary School DH44EE
- 1.3 mile East Rainton Primary School DH59RA (124 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Dubmire Junior School DH46HL
- 1.3 mile Dubmire Infant School DH46HL
- 1.3 mile Dubmire Primary DH46HL (521 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Hetton-le-Hole Nursery School DH59DG (78 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Hetton Primary School DH59ND (119 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Hetton School DH59JZ (713 pupils)
- 1.8 mile Hetton Lyons Nursery School DH50AH (110 pupils)
Bernard Gilpin Primary School
|Inspection date(s)||11–12 July 2012|
|Unique Reference Number||108830|
|Inspection dates||11–12 July 2012|
|Lead inspector||Christine Inkster HMI|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|Age range of pupils||4–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||266|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||20 June 2011|
|School address||Hall Lane|
|Houghton le Spring|
|Telephone number||0191 553 6523|
|Fax number||0191 553 6525|
This inspection was carried out with two days' notice. The inspectors observed 18 lessons
taught by 11 staff, scrutinised pupils’ work and heard a number of pupils read. Discussions
were held with parents and carers, groups of pupils, four members of the governing body,
staff and a representative of the local authority. Inspectors took account of the responses to
the on-line Parent View survey in planning the inspection, observed the school’s work, and
looked at a wide range of documentation including minutes of governing body meetings,
national and school assessment data, curriculum planning, documents in relation to
|Christine Inkster |
|Her Majesty's Inspector |
|Jane Beckett ||Additional Inspector |
safeguarding and the school’s own self-evaluation. The inspectors took account of the views
expressed in 86 questionnaires returned by parents and carers and those from pupils and
Information about the school
Bernard Gilpin is a broadly average-sized primary school. Most pupils are of White British
heritage and few speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils known to
be eligible for free school meals is slightly above the national average. The proportion of
pupils supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is
broadly average. Most of these pupils have moderate learning difficulties or speech,
language and communication needs. The school has Healthy School status and an Eco-
award. The school meets the current floor standards which set the government’s minimum
expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress. At the last inspection, in June 2011, the
school was subject to a notice to improve. A monitoring inspection visit, carried out in March
2012, judged the school to be making good progress in tackling the areas for improvement
identified at the last inspection.
|Achievement of pupils||2|
|Quality of teaching||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||2|
|Leadership and management||2|
- Bernard Gilpin is a good school. It has made rapid improvements since the previous
inspection. It is not yet outstanding because the achievement of pupils, their behaviour
and the quality of teaching are good rather than outstanding. In accordance with
section 13 (5) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the
opinion that the school no longer requires significant improvement.
- Children’s skills and abilities when they enter the Reception classes are broadly
average, but weaker in some areas of early literacy and mathematical development.
They make good progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Pupils continue to
make good progress in Years 1 to 6. Attainment at the end of Year 6 is above average
overall, although slightly lower in writing because there are not enough opportunities
for pupils to practise their writing skills across the curriculum.
- Teaching is mainly good and some is outstanding. In the best lessons, there is a high
level of challenge and a brisk pace to lessons. Occasionally work is not matched
precisely enough to each pupil’s individual needs, there are not sufficient opportunities
for pupils to work independently and pupils do not always have time to respond to
- Pupils’ behaviour and their attitudes to learning are good. They talk with enthusiasm
about the recent improvements to the school and take great pride in their
achievements. Pupils say they feel very safe in school.
- The headteacher provides outstanding leadership. He is well supported by a governing
body that now holds the school to account and senior and middle leaders who have
risen to the challenge of improving the school. The impact of their work is evident in
improvements in pupils’ achievement and their behaviour. The leadership of teaching
and the management of performance ensure that the quality of teaching is rapidly
improving, partly through high-quality opportunities for professional development for
staff. However, the best practice is not fully shared across the school.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Raise achievement in writing to match that of reading and mathematics by increasing
opportunities for pupils to apply their writing skills in other subjects across the
curriculum, particularly when linked to educational visits.
- Improve the quality of teaching to outstanding by:
increasing opportunities for pupils to work independently
ensuring that pupils’ tasks are even more precisely matched to their individual
ensuring that pupils have more opportunities to respond to marking
sharing some of the outstanding practice already within the school.
Achievement of pupils
Children enter the Reception Year with skills and abilities that are broadly typical for their
age but weaker in aspects of communication, language and literacy, calculation and in their
knowledge and understanding of the world. They make good progress because of the range
of stimulating activities provided for them indoors and outdoors. They were fascinated when
exploring the garden to find mini-beasts and when they observed an insect trapped in a
spider’s web. They also thoroughly enjoyed a mathematics session when they participated in
some challenging activities through a range of interesting games and activities such as
‘magic numbers’. There has been a rising trend in attainment over the last three years and
by the time children enter Year 1, their attainment is now above average.
Pupils continue to make good progress across Key Stages 1 and 2 from their starting points
and although attainment has been broadly average in recent years, current results indicate
that attainment is above average overall at the end of Key Stage 2 with strengths in reading
and mathematics. Attainment in writing is not quite as strong because pupils do not have
enough opportunities to practise their writing skills in other subjects across the curriculum,
particularly when linked to educational visits. In most lessons, work is closely matched to
pupils’ individual needs and there is a good level of challenge. In an outstanding lesson,
pupils were articulate and used a high level of language when writing poems because they
were skilfully challenged by the teacher. They participated with enthusiasm and took great
pride in their work. Pupils are keen to learn and enjoy the stimulating activities that are
provided for them, often through practical activities indoors and outdoors. All parents and
carers who responded to the questionnaire indicated that their children were making good
progress. Inspection evidence confirms their views.
Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs are making similar progress to that
of their peers as they receive individual support during lessons and also short, sharp
sessions tailored to their individual needs with a specialist teacher. Pupils known to be
eligible for free school meals, those who speak English as an additional language and those
whose circumstances may make them vulnerable also make good progress because of the
effective support they receive.
Attainment in reading is broadly average by the end of Key Stage 1 and is now well above
average at the end of Key Stage 2. Pupils enjoy reading a wide range of fiction and non-
fiction books on topics which interest them. Pupils are able to talk at length about their
favourite books and authors and they read with expression. Their comprehension is good.
Younger pupils use the sounds that letters make (phonics) to help them tackle unfamiliar
words and older pupils are able to use higher order skills of inference and deduction well.
Pupils are able to explain how their skills in reading are helping them to improve their
Quality of teaching
The good quality of teaching is valued by pupils, parents and carers at the school. In the
Reception classes, work is well matched to children’s needs and there are effective staff
interactions during child-initiated activities and adult-led sessions both indoors and outdoors.
There are good opportunities for first-hand exploration and for children to find out things for
themselves. There are many opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills
because of effective questioning by adults and through ‘talk partner’ sessions. Children’s
behaviour is good and they cooperate well together, sharing equipment and taking turns.
In Years 1 to 6, lessons are planned effectively and organised with a good range of
resources, as for example, in an English lesson about using similes in poetry, pupils used
pieces of fruit as a stimulus for their writing. In most lessons, different tasks are provided
for pupils according to their needs and targeted support is given, but occasionally pupils’
needs are not met as precisely as they could be. Disabled pupils and those with special
educational needs are supported effectively within the classroom, often by skilled teaching
assistants and they also receive individual and small-group tuition during short, daily
sessions which has enabled them to make better progress. The vast majority of lessons
proceed at a brisk pace and teachers use questioning strategies effectively. Teachers
identify clearly what pupils are to learn and the steps they need to take to achieve their
target. Throughout the lesson, teachers use assessment effectively to check on pupils’
learning and reinforce concepts, where necessary. Teachers have good subject knowledge,
use subject-specific vocabulary appropriately and give clear instructions to pupils so they
know what they have to do. Occasionally, however, pupils do not have the chance to work
independently if teacher-talk dominates the lesson. There have been significant
improvements in the quality and quantity of work produced and in the presentation of
pupils’ work. Marking is carried out conscientiously, identifying what pupils have done well
and also ‘next steps’ in learning. However, pupils say they are not always given enough time
to respond to marking. Pupils say they really enjoy their learning as the activities are fun.
They work effectively in teams and groups, developing their social skills and pupils are
taught important spiritual, moral, social and cultural values through different aspects of the
Behaviour and safety of pupils
All pupils and their parents and carers who responded to the questionnaires indicated that
pupils feel safe and the vast majority believes that behaviour is good. Behaviour has
improved significantly and is now good, although on a few occasions inspectors observed
some very minor off-task behaviour in lessons. Pupils are polite and courteous and show
respect to each other, staff and visitors. Pupils are aware of the different types of bullying,
including cyber-bullying. Pupils confirm that bullying is rare and if there are any incidents,
they are promptly dealt with. There are now many activities for pupils to engage in at
lunchtimes and playtimes and pupils say this has helped to improve behaviour.
Pupils have a good understanding of how to keep themselves safe, particularly when using
the internet. They are aware of improvements to the buildings and school grounds to help
keep them safe, such as raising the height of the fence around the outdoor area for
Reception Year children. Pupils’ enjoyment in school is reflected in their above-average
Leadership and management
The determination, high expectations and expertise of the headteacher are at the forefront
of the school’s improvement. This is acknowledged by the whole school community and, as
one parent commented, ‘the school has gone from strength to strength since the new
headteacher came into post. His passion and enthusiasm shine out and he really has made a
difference.’ He is very well supported by a dynamic and enthusiastic team of senior and
middle leaders who have accepted responsibility for the areas in which they lead and are
able to demonstrate the impact of their work through improved teaching and pupils’
achievement. There are effective performance management systems in place and staff value
the high quality opportunities for professional development which are available to them. All
staff are held accountable for the progress their pupils make through regular pupil progress
meetings and robust monitoring and evaluation of their work. There is some outstanding
teaching in the school, but the school has acknowledged that they wish to provide more
opportunities for staff to share this very good practice through coaching and mentoring.
There have been significant and rapid improvements in achievement, the quality of teaching
and in pupils’ behaviour, self-evaluation is accurate and the school demonstrates a strong
capacity to improve further towards the aim of becoming outstanding.
The effectiveness of the governing body has improved and governors now effectively hold
the school to account through regular ‘challenge meetings’ and visits to the school in order
to gain first-hand evidence of the improvements made. They take their statutory
responsibilities very seriously and ensure that all pupils have equality of opportunity and that
there is no discrimination. All pupils, regardless of their backgrounds are able to access all
that the school has to offer and all pupils are making similar progress. One example of this
is that both girls and boys have access to football training and their teams won the
respective Sunderland schools’ football tournaments. Safeguarding arrangements are given
high priority and are very strong.
The curriculum is well planned, imaginative and effectively meets the needs and aspirations
of all pupils, including disabled pupils and those with special educational needs. It strongly
promotes pupils’ moral, social and cultural development, although opportunities to promote
pupils’ spiritual development are less evident. There are some very good examples of cross-
curricular work, for example, a topic in Year 6 on ‘the Titanic’, and links between subjects
make learning more meaningful for pupils. Reading and mathematical skills are developed
across all subjects, but there is scope for teachers to plan more opportunities for pupils to
practise their writing skills. There is now a wide range of enrichment activities, including
educational visits such as those to London, or Kielder Forest and after-school clubs which
pupils greatly appreciate.
What inspection judgements mean
|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|
|Pupil referral units||9||55||28||8|
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 to 31 December 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 up 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.
|Attendance:||the regular attendance of pupils at school and in lessons, |
taking into account the school's efforts to encourage good
|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
|Floor standards:||the national minimum expectation of attainment and |
|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
|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
13 July 2012
Inspection of Bernard Gilpin Primary School, Houghton le Spring DH5 8DA
Thank you very much for the warm welcome we received when we came to inspect
your school. We enjoyed talking to you and hearing about all the interesting things
that you enjoy. You told us about the many ways in which your school has improved
since the last inspection when it was given a ‘notice to improve’.
We judged that Bernard Gilpin is now a good school. You are making good progress
and achieve well in English and mathematics as well as in other areas, such as in
football. We were delighted to hear that your football teams won the Sunderland
championships. The teachers and other adults are working very hard to make your
lessons interesting and teaching is now good. The headteacher, the governing body
and other leaders manage the school well and are also working very hard to ensure
that you get the best possible education. Your behaviour has improved and is now
good and you all say that you feel safe in school.
Your parents and carers, the governing body and staff are very proud of the
improvements made in the school. We would like the school to improve even further.
To help that to happen, we have asked your headteacher and staff to help you to
improve your writing further by giving you more chances to write about things you
learn in other subjects and especially when you go on educational visits. We have
also asked them to share the best ideas and help each other, make sure that you get
time to correct or improve your work and that the work you are given is just right for
you. We also think that you are capable of working more independently.
You can help by making sure you always listen carefully to your teachers and work
very hard so that you all achieve the very best you can. It was a pleasure to meet
you all and the inspection team wishes you all well in the future.
Her Majesty’s Inspector