School etc

Croft Church of England Primary School

Croft Church of England Primary School
South Parade
County Durham

phone: 01325 720528

headteacher: Mrs Brenda Higgins


school holidays: via North Yorkshire council

132 pupils aged 2—10y mixed gender
105 pupils capacity: 126% full

65 boys 49%


65 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: 428439, Northing: 509837
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 54.483, Longitude: -1.5626
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Sept. 27, 2006
Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales
Region › Const. › Ward
Yorkshire and the Humber › Richmond (Yorks) › Croft
Village - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Darlington

Schools nearby

  1. 0.9 miles Hurworth School DL22JG
  2. 0.9 miles Hurworth School DL22JG (665 pupils)
  3. 1.3 mile Hurworth Primary School DL22ET
  4. 1.3 mile Hurworth Primary School DL22ET (216 pupils)
  5. 1.4 mile Hurworth House School DL22AD
  6. 1.4 mile Priory Hurworth House DL22AD (23 pupils)
  7. 1.9 mile Skerne Park Junior School DL15TY
  8. 2.1 miles Skerne Park Infants' School DL15TB
  9. 2.1 miles Skerne Park Primary School DL15AJ
  10. 2.1 miles Skerne Park Academy DL15AJ (375 pupils)
  11. 2.5 miles Polam Hall School DL15PA (251 pupils)
  12. 2.6 miles Dodmire Junior School DL14BH
  13. 2.6 miles Dodmire Infants' School DL14BH
  14. 2.6 miles St John's CofE (Aided) Primary School DL14UB
  15. 2.6 miles St Augustine's RC Primary School DL37HP
  16. 2.6 miles Dodmire School DL14BH
  17. 2.6 miles St John's Church of England Academy DL14UB (244 pupils)
  18. 2.6 miles The Rydal Academy DL14BH (553 pupils)
  19. 2.6 miles St Augustine's RC Primary School DL37HP (207 pupils)
  20. 2.7 miles Eastbourne Nursery School DL14AP
  21. 2.7 miles Firthmoor Junior School DL14RN
  22. 2.7 miles Abbey Infants' School DL38JA
  23. 2.7 miles Yarm at Raventhorpe DL38JB
  24. 2.7 miles Firthmoor Primary School DL14RW

List of schools in Darlington

Inspection Report

Unique Reference Number121485
Local AuthorityNorth Yorkshire
Inspection number292133
Inspection date27 September 2006
Reporting inspectorLesley Clark

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

Type of schoolPrimary
School categoryVoluntary controlled
Age range of pupils4–11
Gender of pupilsMixed
Number on roll (school)104
Appropriate authorityThe governing body
Date of previous school inspection19 March 2001
School addressSouth Parade
Croft-on-Tees, Darlington
County Durham DL2 2SP
Telephone number01325 720528
Fax number01325 722324
ChairMs Alison Russell
HeadteacherMrs Brenda Higgins


The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector.

Description of the school

This small Church of England primary school, based in Croft village, serves several other small rural villages and isolated farms. A third of pupils come from further afield, from more socio-economically disadvantaged urban areas. Most children therefore travel some distance to get to school. The school is currently over-subscribed and has a waiting list. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is a little above average at 20% and the proportion with statements of special educational need is much higher than usual. Although there is no nursery, there is a pre-reception class operating in the afternoons the term before children start full-time school. The school gained an International School Award in the summer celebrating its commitment to education in the wider world.

Key for inspection grades
Grade 1Outstanding
Grade 2Good
Grade 3Satisfactory
Grade 4Inadequate

Overall effectiveness of the school

Grade: 1

This is an outstanding school. Standards are well above average by the end of Year 6 and have stayed at a high level for the past five years. Standards are particularly high in reading, mathematics and science, and pupils clearly enjoy the lively participation their teachers expect of them in these lessons. Standards in writing are similar but usually a slightly smaller proportion reaches higher standards than in mathematics and science. While there is outstanding provision for pupils to discuss and explain their ideas, and to measure their writing against learning targets, there are comparatively few opportunities for pupils to use writing for essential or enjoyable purposes through drama or in real-life situations. Consequently, they tend to see writing as 'hard work'. Pupils achieve outstandingly well throughout their time in school because teaching is excellent. Children make very good progress in the Reception class. They quickly become independent and purposeful learners because of outstanding provision in the Foundation Stage which pays close attention to their individual needs. It is a similar picture in Years 1 to 6 with lively teaching, together with carefully targeted support, to help slower learners catch up.

Pupils follow an outstanding curriculum, full of variety and interest, which ensures they have a wealth of learning experiences both with their classmates and with pupils in other schools. It prepares them very well indeed for their future lives and for being part of a European community. The school takes exceptionally good care of its pupils. One of the main reasons why pupils do so well is the extremely good use of assessment to track pupils' progress but also to help teachers decide what needs to be taught. Many children follow individualised learning plans and this helps both those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and those who have special gifts to make the most of their talents. Provision for learners who have difficulties is outstanding and most achieve nationally expected standards as a result. Behaviour is good and Year 6 pupils are proud of their responsibilities in school which include acting as play leaders for younger pupils. Personal development is outstanding as pupils learn tolerance and sympathy for different views and needs in a family-like community; this also reaches out to African and European communities where the school has strong links.

The school succeeds in its aims to provide 'a disciplined yet caring environment where all children feel valued and secure' and 'to instil in children a sense of wonder about their world'. This is because leadership, management and governance are outstanding. The headteacher's part-time teaching commitment means she is instrumental in setting high academic challenges and then 'doing her bit' to ensure that they are met. The management is underpinned by crystal clear systems that work extremely well. The school gives outstanding value for money and has excellent capacity to continue to improve.

What the school should do to improve further

  • Find ways to make writing an essential and enjoyable part of pupils' learning.

Achievement and standards

Grade: 1

Standards are consistently well above average. Achievement is outstanding because of excellent teaching and assessment. Children enter school at a broadly average level. They settle quickly in the Reception year where outstanding provision both there and in the infant class enables them to reach above average standards by the end of Year 2. The school sets, meets and sometimes exceeds its challenging targets. Typically, nearly all pupils, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, reach nationally expected levels in English and mathematics by the end of Year 6 and over half exceed them. This represents outstanding progress for all groups of pupils. Science results in 2006 took a great leap forward with 90% of pupils reaching the standards expected of more able pupils at the end of Year 6. This was because of very effective specialist teaching, featuring report writing in literacy and data handling and graphs in numeracy lessons. In addition, a science club gave pupils lots of practical experience. A similarly fun approach is needed to bring up writing standards to match these.

Personal development and well-being

Grade: 1

Pupils behave well and throw themselves wholeheartedly into lessons, playtimes and extra-curricular clubs. Attendance is now above average because of the school's effective drive to reduce authorised absences. Year 6 play a vital role in making the school a happy place for younger ones and show a very responsible attitude both to their school community and beyond. They take the initiative to raise funds for charities and when they hold a 'French caf‚' the only language spoken is French. The school council meets as a democratic body to sort out problems and suggest ideas, only involving an adult if they feel the need. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding and pupils' artwork admirably expresses their wonder at their world. Links with schools at home and abroad give them insight into different cultures as well as social experiences with larger groups of children of similar ages. Pupils are exceptionally well placed in terms of their future economic well-being and fully aware of the benefits of being physically healthy.

Quality of provision

Teaching and learning

Grade: 1

From the moment children enter the Reception class, their individual needs are taken fully into account. They make rapid progress because the high quality of adult support ensures purposeful learning without compromising children's independence and confidence to be curious and find out for themselves. Throughout the school, this approach benefits the very wide range of learners' ability in each mixed age class. Short bursts of intensive teaching are counterbalanced by games to practise specific skills and times to work together or separately and to research and reflect. Liveliness and a keen sense of fun characterise much of the teaching and pupils' learning is correspondingly dynamic. Marking is first rate for it praises but makes developmental points clear. Pupils know their targets and take responsibility for meeting them. Perhaps the best feature of teaching is the use of assessment to determine precisely what needs to be taught and why.

Curriculum and other activities

Grade: 1

Not only does the school make extremely good provision for literacy, numeracy and science but all other subjects are given due weight, from skills in information and communication technology to historical research. Provision for personal, social and health education is very strong and pupils have regular times to discuss with adults matters that concern them, and so they feel secure and at ease. Speaking and listening are strongly promoted. Taking part in public debates with other schools and speaking French with foreign language teachers who have work placements in the school further help develop confidence and social poise. Links between drama, real-life situations and writing, however, are less fully exploited. Extra-curricular provision is very good and a wide range of sporting and creative opportunities enrich the curriculum very well.

Care, guidance and support

Grade: 1

Provision for pupils' welfare is outstanding and child protection procedures are robust. The systems to support children with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are outstanding and the school has the capacity to cope successfully with a wide range of needs and abilities. Individual education plans give precise and achievable steps of learning for pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and these, together with outstanding support from learning assistants in all classes, enable pupils to do extremely well. The systems to support academic progress are outstanding and give a clear overview of progress and challenging targets to aspire to.

Leadership and management

Grade: 1

The school is extremely well run. The headteacher inspires and leads others, taking her fair share of teaching, assessment and leading subjects as well as fulfilling her commitment to the local authority as a consultant leader. This means that Year 5 and Year 6 pupils can be taught in year groups for literacy and numeracy, which gives them an extra boost. The decision to employ a science teacher to cover statutory preparation time and staff absences means that older pupils experience a range of teaching styles and younger ones have the security of a familiar face if their teacher is absent. Management systems are simple, clear and effective, enabling the headteacher to provide outstanding support for newly qualified teachers and those on initial teacher training. Everything is based on stringent monitoring and evaluation to ensure that teaching and learning are as good as they can be. This is reflected in the school improvement plan which embodies the commitment to high standards and the shrewd management of financial resources to achieve them. The school's self-evaluation is absolutely accurate. Governors make an outstanding contribution to shaping educational provision and their action plan, based on similarly rigorous self-evaluation to that undertaken by the school, helps shape the school improvement plan.

Annex A

Inspection judgements

Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequateSchool Overall
Overall effectiveness
How effective, efficient and inclusive is the provision of education, integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?1
How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?1
The quality and standards in the Foundation Stage1
The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation1
The capacity to make any necessary improvements1
Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspectionYes
Achievement and standards
How well do learners achieve?1
The standards1 reached by learners2
How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners1
How well learners with learning difficulties and disabilities make progress1
1 Grade 1 - Exceptionally and consistently high; Grade 2 - Generally above average with none significantly below average; Grade 3 - Broadly average to below average; Grade 4 - Exceptionally low.
Personal development and well-being
How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?1
The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development1
The behaviour of learners2
The attendance of learners2
How well learners enjoy their education2
The extent to which learners adopt safe practices1
The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles1
The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community1
How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being1
The quality of provision
How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of the learners' needs?1
How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?1
How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?1
Leadership and management
How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?1
How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education1
How effectively performance is monitored, evaluated and improved to meet challenging targets1
How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination tackled so that all learners achieve as well as they can1
How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money 1
The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities 1
Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements?Yes
Does this school require special measures?No
Does this school require a notice to improve?No

Annex B

Text from letter to pupils explaining the findings of the inspection

Thank you for making me feel so welcome and for talking to me so openly about your school. I spent time talking to your headteacher, teachers and the chair of governors as well as joining you in lessons and spending time talking to you. I came to the conclusion that your school is outstanding and that you help to make it so. Here is why!

Your school is exceptionally well led and managed so that everyone feels fully included in school life. You are extremely well taught and that is why you achieve high standards in your work. You behave well and older pupils take on a lot of responsibilities, particularly helping younger children to have a good time at playtimes.

You certainly work and play with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. No wonder your teachers want to make learning fun because you help them by being so open and responsive! I was impressed by the wide range of subjects you study and that you enjoy so many things.

Your school gives you expert support and guidance to ensure you are well cared for and develop confidence in yourselves. All this adds up to an extremely effective school where it is fun to be a pupil.

It is part of my job to point out what could be improved. Did you know that you read better than you write and that you tend to do slightly better in mathematics and science than in English? If you had the chance to do more drama or to write in situations where it really mattered what you wrote, it would improve your writing. Therefore, I have asked your headteacher and teachers to give you the chance to do this. I'm sure you'll help by working with great enthusiasm when they do.

I wish you all the best for the future and thanks again for making my time in your school so enjoyable.

Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaints about school inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website:

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