School etc

Gillas Lane Primary School

Gillas Lane Primary School
Seaton Avenue
Houghton le Spring
Tyne and Wear

phone: 0191 5536517

headteacher: Mrs T Hambleton


school holidays: via Sunderland council

130 pupils aged 2—10y mixed gender
150 pupils capacity: 87% full

60 boys 46%


70 girls 54%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 434981, Northing: 549470
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 54.839, Longitude: -1.4569
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Dec. 4, 2013
Region › Const. › Ward
North East › Houghton and Sunderland South › Copt Hill
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Houghton Le Spring

Schools nearby

  1. Gillas Lane Infant School DH58EH
  2. 0.3 miles Copt Hill School DH58HP
  3. 0.4 miles Houghton Le Spring Nursery School DH58AE (106 pupils)
  4. 0.4 miles Bernard Gilpin Primary School DH58DA (314 pupils)
  5. 0.5 miles Eppleton Primary School DH59AJ
  6. 0.5 miles Eppleton Academy Primary School DH59AJ (162 pupils)
  7. 0.7 miles St Michael's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School DH58NF (207 pupils)
  8. 0.7 miles Houghton Kepier Sports College:A Foundation School DH45BH
  9. 0.7 miles Davenport School DH58NF
  10. 0.7 miles Glebe School DH58NF
  11. 0.7 miles Kepier DH45BH (1029 pupils)
  12. 0.8 miles Houghton-Le-Spring Junior School DH45AH
  13. 0.8 miles Houghton Infant School DH45AH
  14. 1.1 mile Burnside Primary School DH45HB (166 pupils)
  15. 1.2 mile Hetton-le-Hole Nursery School DH59DG (78 pupils)
  16. 1.3 mile Newbottle Primary School DH44EE (462 pupils)
  17. 1.3 mile Newbottle Primary School DH44EE
  18. 1.4 mile Hetton School DH59JZ (713 pupils)
  19. 1.5 mile East Rainton Primary School DH59RA (124 pupils)
  20. 1.5 mile Hetton Primary School DH59ND (119 pupils)
  21. 1.6 mile Hetton Lyons Primary School DH50AH (430 pupils)
  22. 1.7 mile Hetton Lyons Nursery School DH50AH (110 pupils)
  23. 1.7 mile Dubmire Junior School DH46HL
  24. 1.7 mile Dubmire Infant School DH46HL

List of schools in Houghton Le Spring

School report

Gillas Lane Primary School

Seaton Avenue, Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear, DH5 8EH

Inspection dates 4–5 December 2013
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous inspection: Satisfactory 3
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

Most children start school with skills that are
Pupils continue to make good progress across
Pupils read widely and avidly. The school
Teaching is good. Questioning is used well in
well below those typically expected for their
age. They make good progress and achieve
well in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Key Stages 1 and 2 in reading, writing and
mathematics to reach average standards by
the end of Year 6. This represents good
achievement from their individual starting
promotes the enjoyment of reading well.
all lessons to develop pupils’ understanding
and ensure they make good progress.
Pupils feel happy and safe in this very caring
Pupils with special educational needs make
The strong and determined headteacher is well
and nurturing school. They behave well in
lessons and around the school and
demonstrate positive attitudes towards their
good progress owing to high-quality
intervention and support.
supported by the effective deputy headteacher
and experienced governing body. Together
they have had a speedy and positive impact on
teaching and outcomes for pupils in this
improving school.
In some lessons, teachers spend too long
Marking does not always tell pupils how to
explaining what pupils have to do. When this
is the case, pupils do not have enough time
to practise new skills.
improve their work. Presently, there are too
few opportunities for pupils to return to their
work and make improvements.
Progress is not always as consistently good
across the ability range in writing compared to
reading and mathematics.

Information about this inspection

  • The inspector observed 11 lessons and parts of lessons. Three observations were conducted
    jointly with the headteacher. The inspector also observed groups of pupils taught in small groups
    and listened to pupils from different year groups reading.
  • Discussions were held with a range of pupils, the headteacher and deputy headteacher, middle
    leaders, members of the governing body and a representative of the local authority.
  • The inspector observed the overall work of the school and looked at a number of documents,
    including the school’s data about pupils’ current progress. In addition, the inspectors looked at
    documents relating to safeguarding, governance, behaviour and attendance.
  • The inspector took note of the school’s most recent survey of parent views. There were
    insufficient responses to the on-line questionnaire (Parent View) to allow results to be shown.
  • The inspector looked at a range of other evidence, including displays, the school’s website and
    evidence representing the school’s wider achievements beyond the classroom.

Inspection team

Margaret Armstrong, Lead inspector Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • Gillas Lane is smaller than the average-sized primary school.
  • The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium is higher than average. This
    is additional funding for those pupils who are known to be eligible for free school meals, children
    from service families and those children who are looked after by the local authority.
  • The large majority of pupils are of White British heritage.
  • The proportion of pupils supported through school action is well above average.
  • The proportion of pupils supported through school action plus or with a statement of special
    educational needs is above the national average.
  • The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
    for pupils’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics.
  • Some pupils are taught in mixed-age classes because of the small size of the school.
  • The school extends it services in that it provides a breakfast club each day. It also works in close
    collaboration with local schools.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Increase the proportion of outstanding teaching by:
    ensuring that teachers always spend the right amount of time introducing new learning at the
    start of lessons and allow enough time for pupils to practise and learn new skills
    making sure the marking of pupils’ work gives clear pointers for improvement and time is
    provided to correct work in the next lesson
    sharing more effectively the best practice in teaching and providing training that matches
    specific needs so teachers can improve the quality of their teaching.
  • Improve standards in writing, particularly for lower-ability pupils, by:
    improving pupils’ handwriting, presentation and grammatical skills so that pupils are more
    fluent in their writing and reach a higher standard
    ensuring that pupils are able to use their understanding of the sounds that letters represent
    (phonics) to improve their spelling of words and to make them more confident when writing
    new words
    widening opportunities to write at length across the full range of subjects.

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • Achievement is good in this rapidly improving school. Following a period of staff changes,
    significant strides have been made in improving teaching and securing better outcomes for
  • When children start in the nursery their skills and knowledge are well below those typical for
    their age, with particular weaknesses in their literacy skills. They make good progress in all areas
    of learning. Skilful adults settle the children quickly and help them to develop their speaking and
    listening skills well.
  • Pupils make good progress across Key Stage 1 in reading, writing and mathematics. This is due
    to good teaching which meets pupils’ needs well.
  • Pupils continue to make good progress in Years 3 and 4. Progress speeds up in the mixed Year 5
    and Year 6 class because teaching is outstanding and this motivates pupils to learn.
    Consequently, standards are improving and are broadly average by the time pupils leave Year 6.
  • Pupils make good progress in reading because the school has a strong commitment to ensuring
    all pupils read widely and often. In the Year 1 national screening check, they performed close to
    the national average because the school has developed a good approach to teaching phonics
    (letters and the sounds they represent). Nevertheless, pupils are not always able to apply their
    skills when attempting to spell new words and this slows down their progress in writing.
  • The progress pupils make in mathematics is improving rapidly. This is because teachers are
    planning more opportunities for pupils to work on tasks which challenge their thinking. In
    addition, the introduction of new teaching programmes, is helping all pupils make better
    progress in developing their calculation skills.
  • New approaches adopted to improve pupils’ descriptive writing are proving very effective. As a
    result, the most able pupils make rapid progress in developing advanced writing skills and
    achieve very well. Less-skilled writers do not always make progress at the same rate as their
    skills in handwriting, grammar and punctuation are weak. Presently, there are insufficient
    opportunities to write at length in different subjects.
  • Pupil premium funding is used well to ensure that pupils who are known to be eligible for free
    school meals achieve as well as other pupils. Funds are used to give access to a wide range of
    extra-curricular activities and to provide additional resources when they are needed. As a result,
    in 2012 pupils who are known to be eligible for free school meals performed as well as their
    classmates in writing.
  • The school promotes equality of opportunity well. Additional support provided by teaching
    assistants helps individuals and small groups of pupils to catch up with other pupils in the
    school. Pupils with special educational needs make good progress because provision is tailored
    well to their needs.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Teaching is good and on occasions, it is outstanding. This is because senior leaders have worked
    diligently to improve teaching since the last inspection.
  • Relationships between pupils and adults are strong. Teachers are enthusiastic and provide pupils
    with activities that inspire them to learn. As a result, pupils are eager to do well in lessons. For
    example, in a very effective lesson in the Year 5 and Year 6 class, pupils made outstanding
    progress in developing their mathematical understanding. This was because the lesson was
    planned skilfully to encourage pupils to think strategically when working together to solve the
    ‘Jumping Frogs’ challenge. Pupils worked very productively together to investigate number
    patterns and explain their reasoning.
  • In the most successful lessons, teachers have high expectations and they make it clear to pupils
    what they are going to learn. They use questioning very confidently to extend pupils’ knowledge
    and understanding. This good practice was seen in an English lesson in Year 1 where the
    teacher demonstrated expertly how pupils should use interesting adjectives to improve their
    descriptions of Cinderella. She extended learning by posing challenging questions and carefully
    monitoring achievement. As a result, pupils made good progress in learning how to improve
    their writing using new vocabulary. From time to time, lesson introductions are too lengthy and
    learning is repetitive. When this is the case, the opportunities pupils have to practise and
    develop new skills are limited.
  • In the Reception class, children are provided with ample opportunities to develop self-confidence
    when talking to other children and adults. This was seen in an outstanding literacy lesson where
    children spoke excitedly to a partner and when joining in with the actions to ‘It’s my turn then
    it’s your turn!’ As a result, children made brisk progress learning how to express themselves
    clearly and listen carefully to one another. This prepares them well for the move to Year 1.
  • Although pupils make good progress overall in writing, it is not as brisk as in other subjects
    because teachers do not provide sufficient opportunities for pupils to write at length.
    Expectations of pupils’ handwriting are not always high enough because there is insufficient
    focus on teaching the correct letter formation and pencil grip.
  • Teaching assistants are well trained and contribute strongly to learning. They provide extra
    specialist help through planned individual programmes for pupils and this ensures pupils in
    receipt of the pupil premium and those with special educational needs reach their full potential.
  • Teachers mark pupils’ work regularly and always provide pupils with feedback on the quality of
    their work. However, marking does not consistently suggest how pupils can improve, and there
    are not enough opportunities for pupils to make the improvements that teachers have identified.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • Pupils behave well in this caring, supportive and nurturing school. Pupils thrive thanks to the
    school’s commitment to their personal development and well-being. Consequently, pupils are
    thoughtful, considerate and kind. For example, in a ‘Good Achievement’ assembly, pupils
    behaved well, listened respectfully and congratulated other pupils who had been praised for
    excellent work and good attendance.
  • Attendance is average and improving. As a result of the school’s well-defined initiatives to work
    with families and to encourage pupils to attend regularly and punctually, the number of
    persistent absentees has reduced.
  • Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural experiences are broad and exciting. They underpin
    pupils’ personal development and ensure pupils achieve well in all aspects of their work. Pupils
    readily take on responsibility as school councillors and playground friends. They play an active
    part in the life of the school.
  • Pupils have a good understanding of how to keep safe in a range of situations, including when
    using the internet. The school gives a high priority to ensuring that pupils understand the
    different types of bullying in school. Pupils said there was no bullying in their school because the
    headteacher would not tolerate such behaviour and this view is supported by the school’s
    records. Special events, including ‘Anti-Bullying Week’, are instrumental in helping pupils learn
    useful strategies to deal with bullying should it occur. In the words of one pupil, ‘My school is
    caring and safe because everyone looks after us very well.’
  • Pupils have good attitudes to learning. They are keen and attentive and participate fully in
    lessons. The daily ‘Nurture Group’ provides effective support for pupils who find it difficult to
    manage their behaviour and enables them to join in all aspects of school life.
  • The school provides a wide range of sporting activities that support pupils’ well-being and
    fitness. Leaders, and governors are now focussing on ensuring that the proportion of pupils
    participating competitive sports is strengthened even further. The school also provides a
    breakfast club that gives pupils a good start to their day. These activities, coupled with the high-
    quality lunches the school provides, make a good contribution to pupils’ health and well-being.
The leadership and management are good
  • The headteacher, well supported by an experienced deputy headteacher, a strong group of
    middle leaders and a dedicated staff, has ensured the school continues to improve. High
    expectations for pupils’ attainment are shared by all staff and there is a strong commitment to
    raising standards in the school further.
  • The school’s self-evaluation is rigorous and judgements are accurate. The school’s improvement
    plan reflects a good understanding of where the school needs to improve. The school has
    successfully addressed all the issues from the last inspection, but is aware there is still a need to
    quicken pupils’ progress in writing.
  • Higher expectations of the quality of teaching have had a positive impact on outcomes for
    pupils. Senior leaders regularly check on the quality of teaching across the school and take swift
    action to improve any areas of weaknesses. Arrangements to check the performance of teachers
    have had a positive impact and are linked to the expectations of pupils’ outcomes. Teachers’
    salaries are directly linked to their performance and this is closely monitored by the governing
    body. There are good opportunities for teachers, including those who are newly qualified, to
    develop professionally.
  • The curriculum provides pupils with a good range of learning opportunities enhanced by visits
    and visitors to school. These help to extend pupils’ experiences and encourage a better
    understanding of themselves, the local community and the wider world. Pupils say there are
    many reasons why they enjoy coming to school. They talked enthusiastically about playing
    African drums at ‘Houghton Feast’, dressing up as monks in ‘Bede’s World’ and about their
    experiences at Derwent Hill Outdoor Centre. Their broader academic skills are also challenged so
    that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education.
  • The school’s strong relationship with parents enables them to support pupils in their learning.
    The school is highly regarded by parents and the community. Newsletters and a very attractive
    and informative website keep parents up to date with events.
  • The local authority works effectively with the school. It has provided focused support and
    training which have led to improvements in the quality of leadership at all levels.
  • The school has been successful in establishing effective partnerships with a number of local
    primary schools. These enrich the work of the school and enable it to make use of a range of
    opportunities, which support the school’s curriculum and the further development of middle
    leaders’ skills.
  • The governance of the school:
    The appointment of new governors has resulted in a much wider range of experience for the
    school to draw on and their roles reflect their different areas of expertise. Their understanding
    of the school has improved because they have undertaken training to develop their skills.
    Consequently, they are in a stronger position to identify areas for development, to challenge
    the school more and to improve further pupils’ outcomes.
    A good understanding of finances ensures that the school provides good value for money.
    Pupil premium funding is spent thoughtfully and governors are aware of the positive impact it
    has had on those eligible pupils. They are also clear about the impact of the Primary School
    Sport funding. Governors take their responsibility for recruiting excellent teachers very
    seriously. For example, the appointment of a highly skilled teacher to lead the Early Years
    Foundation Stage has resulted in rapid improvement in children’s achievement. Safeguarding
    meets requirements because the school and governors ensure pupils are safe, secure and
    cared for well.

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 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.

School details

Unique reference number 108829
Local authority Sunderland
Inspection number 429548

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 129
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Julie Milner
Headteacher Terry Hambleton
Date of previous school inspection 26 June 2012
Telephone number 0191 553 6517
Fax number 0191 553 6518
Email address reveal email: gill…


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