Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School
phone: 01254 54706
headteacher: Mrs C Lord
406 pupils capacity: 114% full
235 boys 50%
230 girls 49%
Last updated: June 20, 2014
Primary — Voluntary Controlled School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Church of England
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Controlled School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 369567, Northing: 427983
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.747, Longitude: -2.463
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Sept. 18, 2013
- Diocese of Blackburn
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Blackburn › Audley
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Free school meals %
- 0.1 miles St Thomas's Centre BB11NA (89 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Al Islah Girls' High School BB11TF (84 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Brunel Nursery School BB11ES (64 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Audley Junior School BB11SE (413 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Audley Infant School BB11SE (380 pupils)
- 0.4 miles St Matthew's Church of England Primary School BB11DF (265 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Our Lady and St John Catholic College BB11PY (854 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Jamiatul-Ilm Wal-Huda UK School BB15JT (464 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Daisyfield Primary School BB15LB (329 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Antony's RC Primary School BB12HP (241 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Alban's Roman Catholic Primary School Blackburn BB15BN (230 pupils)
- 0.7 miles St Mary's and St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School Blackburn BB23HP (207 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Crosshill Special School BB23HJ (51 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Broadlands Virtual School BB12HR
- 0.7 miles Blackburn Central High School BB23HJ (719 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Little Harwood Children's Centre BB15PE
- 0.8 miles Intack Primary School BB13HY (261 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Shadsworth Infant School BB12EL (224 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Michael with St John CofE Controlled Primary School BB16LE (457 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Stephen's Church of England Primary School BB15PE (466 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Stephens's Church of England Infant School Blackburn BB15PB
- 0.8 miles Rawdhatul Uloom Islamic Primary School BB15NZ (128 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Newfield School BB12PW (136 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Tauheedul Islam Boys' High School BB15PE (254 pupils)
Blackburn St Thomas’ Church of
England Primary School
Newton Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 1NE
|Inspection dates||18–19 September 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| All groups of pupils make good progress and |
Teaching and learning are consistently good.
Disabled pupils, those with special
achieve well throughout the school.
Teachers have high expectations of pupils
and plan and deliver lessons that lead to
educational needs, pupils eligible for the pupil
premium and those who speak English as an
additional language achieve as well as other
pupils because they are well supported and
work is carefully planned to meet their needs.
| Behaviour is good and pupils are respectful of |
The headteacher, senior leaders and governors
Parents are very supportive and appreciative of
each other and adults. Pupils enjoy coming to
school and are keen to learn. They say that
they feel safe and very well cared for.
have a clear and accurate understanding of the
strengths of the school and how it can be
| Teaching is not yet outstanding. Teachers do |
Achievement in reading is not as strong as in
not always make sure that all pupils,
particularly the most-able pupils, are
consistently challenged to reach the highest
levels and make the best possible progress.
writing and mathematics.
| There are too few opportunities for teachers to |
share best practice within the school, or to
observe outstanding teaching in other schools.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||2 of 9|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 23 lessons or part lessons, including two joint observations with the
headteacher and deputy headteacher.
- Inspectors held meetings with school leaders and managers and with four governors, including
the Chair of the Governing Body. Inspectors also met a representative from the local authority.
- Inspectors held discussions with two groups of pupils and spoke informally to other pupils in
lessons and during break and lunchtime.
- Inspectors looked at the work pupils were doing in lessons and in their books over time. They
listened to pupils read and talked to them about their enjoyment of reading.
- Inspectors observed the work of the school and examined a number of documents. These
included data concerning pupils’ current achievement, the quality of teaching and the school
development plan. Inspectors also looked at records relating to behaviour, attendance and
safeguarding arrangements. Minutes of governing body meetings and the School Adviser’s
reports were also considered.
- Too few responses were received to analyse in the online questionnaire (Parent View), but
inspectors considered responses to a school parental questionnaire. They also considered
responses to the questionnaires completed by staff for the inspection.
|Robert Birtwell, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Dave Blackburne||Additional Inspector|
|Barbara Martin||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||3 of 9|
Information about this school
- The school is much larger than the average-sized primary school.
- Pupils are taught in 15 classes from Nursery to Year 6.
- A large majority of pupils are from minority ethnic backgrounds, with the two largest groups
being Indian and Pakistani.
- Almost three quarters of the pupils speak English as an additional language.
- The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium (additional funding for pupils
known to be eligible for free school meals, children looked after by the local authority and
children from service families) is above average.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs who are supported at
school action is well-above average. The proportion supported at school action plus or with a
statement of special educational needs is above average.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
for pupils’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Raise achievement so that a greater proportion of pupils make more than expected progress by:
ensuring that work is always matched closely to all pupils’ needs, particularly the most-able
pupils, so that they are consistently challenged to reach the highest levels and make the best
raising pupils’ attainment and their rates of progress in reading so that they at least match
those in writing and mathematics.
- Improve the proportion of outstanding teaching by ensuring that there are more opportunities
for teachers to share existing best practice within the school, and to observe outstanding
teaching in other schools.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||4 of 9|
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Children join the school in the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills and understanding that
are generally well below those expected for their age. They make good progress in the Nursery
and Reception Years and are well prepared to enter Key Stage 1 with standards that are closer
to the national average.
- Pupils make good progress in Key Stage 1. At the end of Year 2, standards of attainment in
reading, writing and mathematics are below, but close to, the national average.
- Pupils continue to make good progress throughout Key Stage 2. Attainment in English and
mathematics at the end of Year 6 improved in 2012 and was broadly average. Preliminary
results for 2013 show further improvement. The proportion of pupils who made at least the
expected progress in reading, writing and mathematics is above average. The proportion that
made more than expected progress is above average in writing and mathematics, and just below
average in reading.
- The school’s detailed tracking information shows that all groups of pupils are making good
progress across the school, whatever their individual starting points. This includes pupils from
Indian and Pakistani backgrounds. Inspection evidence from lesson observations and work in
pupils’ books confirm that pupils make good progress across the school.
- Pupils make good progress in reading. Teachers make sure that pupils read regularly and have a
good knowledge of phonics (letters and the sounds they make). The proportion of pupils who
reached the expected standard in the Year 1 national phonics check in 2013 was just below the
national average. However, attainment and progress in reading is not as strong as in writing and
mathematics at both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Fewer pupils make more than expected
progress in reading than in writing and mathematics.
- Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs make good progress. Their needs are
accurately identified and they receive good support. As a result, they achieve as well as other
- Pupils who speak English as an additional language receive very effective support. For example,
they have additional sessions to equip them with the vocabulary they need ahead of lessons.
This enables them to participate fully in lessons and make good progress.
- Pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium make progress at a faster rate than other pupils in
the school. Test results at the end of 2012 showed that the attainment of these pupils was the
same as other pupils in English and approximately a term behind in mathematics. School data
show that this gap in performance is closing rapidly.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is consistently good across the school and this enables pupils to learn well. Pupils
made good progress in almost all the lessons seen during the inspection.
- Teachers have high expectations and know pupils well. They plan lessons that motivate and
engage pupils in their learning, and use praise effectively. As a result, pupils enjoy lessons, have
positive attitudes to learning and are keen to do well.
- In the best lessons where pupils progress most rapidly, teachers match work carefully to the
needs and abilities of all pupils and ensure there is a good pace and challenge to learning. There
are opportunities for pupils to work independently or in groups investigating ideas or solving
problems. Questioning is used skilfully to test pupils’ knowledge and understanding, and to
challenge and extend their learning.
- In a Year 6 mathematics lesson, for example, pupils had a very clear understanding of what they
were trying to learn. The teacher made sure that different groups of pupils, including the most
able, had different and challenging tasks to estimate and measure angles. Effective teaching
moved the lesson at a brisk pace and as a result, all pupils made good progress.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||5 of 9|
- In other lessons, work is less well matched to pupils’ different needs and abilities. Teachers do
not always give pupils work which is challenging enough, particularly the most able. In these
lessons the pace of learning is slower and pupils do not have enough opportunity to reach the
highest levels and to make the best possible progress.
- Teachers and teaching assistants work closely together. They use a range of strategies to help
pupils who are making slower progress. Pupils who need extra support receive it, either within
lessons or in individual or small group sessions. This includes pupils who are eligible for the pupil
premium, those who are disabled or have special educational needs, and those who speak
English as an additional language. As a result, these pupils make good progress and achieve as
well as other pupils in the school.
- Work in pupils’ books displays clear progress showing that teaching has been good over time.
Work is marked regularly, and there is a good balance of praise and suggestions for
improvement. As a result, pupils know how well they are doing and what they need to do to
improve their work.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- Behaviour throughout the school is good and, at times, outstanding. Pupils have positive
attitudes to school and are typically polite and courteous. There is a very calm, orderly and
inclusive atmosphere, and pupils get on very well with each other and their teachers.
- Pupils say they feel very safe in school and are well looked after. They understand the different
forms bullying can take, but say that it is very rare in school. They are very confident that the
school would deal swiftly and effectively with any issues if they arose. They know how to keep
themselves safe in different situations, including when using the internet.
- Pupils enjoy coming to school and are keen to learn. Attendance has been improving. It was
above average in 2012 but fell slightly in 2013 due to the timing of religious holidays.
- School behaviour records show that behaviour is typically good. A consistent approach to
managing behaviour means that learning continues without disruption. Occasionally, some pupils
display challenging behaviour but this is dealt with effectively when it happens. As a result, the
school can demonstrate real improvements in behaviour for such pupils.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The headteacher has a strong vision for the school and its future development. This is shared by
staff, governors and parents and is demonstrated by the strong support for the school shown in
the parent and staff questionnaires. There is a very positive atmosphere throughout the school.
- School leaders have a very clear understanding of the strengths of the school and where it
needs to do better. The school development plan correctly identifies the key priorities for
improvement and sets ambitious but realistic targets. For example, leaders are aware that
progress in reading is not as strong as in writing and mathematics and have a detailed plan in
place to raise achievement.
- Robust systems are used to check regularly and accurately on pupils’ progress. Any
underachievement is addressed by providing extra help when pupils need it. As a result, all
groups of pupils in the school are making good progress. This shows the school’s successful
commitment to equality of opportunity for all pupils.
- Information about pupils’ progress is taken into account when making recommendations about
teachers’ pay progression.
- Effective systems are in place to check on the quality of teaching. These identify where further
support is needed. Training, coaching and mentoring have improved the quality of teaching.
- While teaching is consistently good, it is not yet outstanding. There are too few opportunities for
staff to share best practice within the school or to observe outstanding teaching in other schools.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||6 of 9|
- The curriculum is well planned and meets pupils’ needs well. It is enhanced by a range of clubs,
activities, trips and visits. For example, the school has an established link with a school in a very
different social and cultural environment in the Lake District. As a result, pupils’ social, moral,
spiritual and cultural development is good.
- The school is using the new primary school sport funding to improve the quality of the teaching
of physical education in the school by bringing in specialist teachers from a local secondary
school to teach lessons, run activities and train staff.
- Since the last inspection, the school has worked hard and successfully to engage with parents.
Parent workshops have proved to be extremely popular. As a result, parents are very supportive
and appreciative of the school.
- The local authority has provided light touch but effective support for this successful school.
- The governance of the school:
Governors have a good understanding of the school’s context, strengths and areas needing
improvement. They have a clear overview of pupils’ progress and the quality of teaching. They
are very supportive of the school, but also challenge and hold it to account when necessary by
asking searching questions and by setting challenging targets as part of the headteacher’s
performance management. They make sure that pupils’ progress is taken into account when
making decisions about teachers’ pay. Governors contribute to the school’s self-evaluation,
and undertake training to keep their skills up to date. They understand how pupil premium
funding is spent and the impact it is having on pupils’ progress. They make sure that the
school’s finances are sound. The governing body ensures that it meets its statutory
requirements, including those related to safeguarding.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||7 of 9|
What inspection judgements mean
|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 employment.
|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.
|Inspection report:||Blackburn St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 18–19 September 2013||8 of 9|
|Unique reference number||119355|
|Local authority||Blackburn with Darwen|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|School category||Voluntary controlled|
|Age range of pupils||3–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||421|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mrs I Umer|
|Headteacher||Mrs C Lord|
|Date of previous school inspection||29 September 2008|
|Telephone number||01254 54706|
|Fax number||01254 694813|