St Helen's Primary School
phone: 01487 841468
acting headteacher: Mrs Kay Potter
330 pupils capacity: 56% full
85 boys 46%
95 girls 52%
Last updated: June 19, 2014
Primary — Foundation School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Foundation School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 537039, Northing: 275250
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 52.358, Longitude: 0.010903
- Accepting pupils
- 4—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Feb. 21, 2013
- Region › Const. › Ward
- East of England › North West Cambridgeshire › Earith
- Town and Fringe - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- 1 mile Earith Primary School PE283QB (118 pupils)
- 1.8 mile Whitehall School PE283EH (73 pupils)
- 2 miles Somersham Primary School PE283EU (313 pupils)
- 2.8 miles Holywell CofE Primary School PE274TF (187 pupils)
- 3.1 miles Over Primary School CB245PG (309 pupils)
- 3.7 miles Phoenix School Cambridge CB245HT (22 pupils)
- 3.8 miles Willingham Primary School CB245LE (340 pupils)
- 3.9 miles Wheatfields Infant School PE273WF
- 3.9 miles Wheatfields Junior School PE273WF
- 3.9 miles Wheatfields Primary School PE273WF (402 pupils)
- 4.1 miles Westfield Junior School PE275RG (300 pupils)
- 4.1 miles Eastfield Infant and Nursery School PE275QT (319 pupils)
- 4.3 miles Swavesey Primary School CB244RN (328 pupils)
- 4.4 miles Thorndown Community Infant School PE276SE
- 4.4 miles Thorndown Community Junior School PE276SE
- 4.4 miles Swavesey Village College CB244RS
- 4.4 miles # S7 New Foundation Sec Swavesey Village College
- 4.4 miles Swavesey Village College CB244RS (1229 pupils)
- 4.4 miles Thorndown Primary School PE276SE (428 pupils)
- 4.5 miles St Ivo School PE276RR
- 4.5 miles St Ivo School PE276RR (1767 pupils)
- 4.7 miles Fen Drayton Primary School CB244SL (94 pupils)
- 5 miles Sutton CofE VC Primary School CB62PU (314 pupils)
- 5.1 miles Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School PE289JR (260 pupils)
St Helen's Primary School
Colne Road, Bluntisham, Huntingdon, PE28 3NY
|Inspection dates||11–12 February 2015|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Previous inspection:||Requires improvement||3|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Early years provision||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| The executive headteacher and head of school |
The recently established federation with another
Pupils are now making good progress in reading,
Teaching is consistently good. Well-planned
have brought about good improvements in
achievement and teaching.
school is helping to raise standards.
writing and mathematics.
lessons capture pupils’ enthusiasm, making them
eager to learn.
| Pupils are enthusiastic, friendly and caring. They |
Governors support the school well. They are very
The local authority has worked closely with leaders
Children in the Reception class get off to a good
feel safe, and their behaviour in and out of class is
knowledgeable about the school and about what
needs to be done in order to improve it further.
to provide a high-quality education for the pupils.
start because of the interesting and engaging range
of activities provided.
| The level of challenge for the most-able pupils is |
not as high in mathematics as it is in English, and
fewer of these pupils reach the higher levels than
is the case in reading and writing.
| The school provides many opportunities for pupils |
to develop spiritually, morally and socially however
there is insufficient opportunities to learn about
other cultures or political issues nationally, and
thereby gain a full understanding of life in modern
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed teaching and learning in 16 lessons. Two observations were joint visits with a
member of the senior leadership team. Inspectors talked to pupils, and looked at their work and records
of their progress.
- Inspectors held meetings with pupils, representatives of the governing body, a local authority
representative and school staff including senior leaders, subject leaders, teachers and non-teachers.
- Inspectors listened to pupils read and observed them at play during break times and at lunchtime.
- Inspectors looked at a wide range of school documents, including: the school’s self-evaluation: the
school’s own information on pupils’ recent and current progress; the school development plan; monitoring
files; and behaviour and attendance records. The school’s safeguarding policies were also scrutinised.
- Inspectors took account of the 72 responses to Ofsted’s Parent View questionnaire and parents’ responses
to the school’s own questionnaires. They also considered the 26 responses to the staff questionnaire.
|Patricia Hunt, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Dominic Carver||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- The school is smaller than the average-sized primary school. The school entered into a formal federation
with Holywell CE Primary School in July 2014. The two schools share the same governing body, Executive
Headteacher and also a number of subject leaders.
- Most pupils are White British.
- The proportion of disadvantaged pupils eligible for the pupil premium is below average. The pupil
premium is extra funding to support pupils in local authority care and those known to be eligible for free
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is below average.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for
progress and standards in English and mathematics.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Increase the level of challenge and support provided for all pupils in mathematics, especially for the most
able, so that more reach the higher levels.
- Provide more opportunities in the curriculum for pupils to learn about other cultures, and political and
social issues, to prepare them for life in modern Britain.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The executive headteacher and head of school have rapidly improved the quality of teaching so that
pupils’ progress is good and improving. They set high expectations for pupils’ achievement and make
regular checks on their progress and attainment.
- Staff agree that senior leaders provide a clear direction for the school and that this helps them to know
how to improve their teaching.
- The formal federation of St Helen’s and Holywell C.E. Primary has been a key reason for the school’s rapid
improvement. The executive headteacher has made good use of this link to introduce outstanding practice
into the school and to drive up standards. The two schools share the subject leader for mathematics and
the special educational needs coordinator. This is proving to be a very effective use of staff resources as is
shown by the recent improvements in teaching and in pupils’ achievement.
- Monitoring of teaching is effective. Leaders look at pupils’ work in books, carry out lesson observations
systematically and analyse carefully the results of teachers’ assessments. This gives them a clear
understanding of where further improvements need to be made.
- Even though some are new in post at St Helen’s, subject and other leaders are experienced and lead their
areas of responsibility well. They provide good support and challenge for individual teachers and make
sure that pupils are making good progress.
- The additional funding is used effectively to support disadvantaged pupils. The achievement of
disadvantaged pupils by the end of Year 6 shows they do better than their peers in school and nationally.
Leaders and governors regularly evaluate the effectiveness of how the money is spent.
- More pupils now take part in sporting activities as a result of the sports premium, and teachers are better
able to teach physical education. The money is currently being used to develop the physical education
curriculum in school and to further opportunities for all children to take part in inter-school competitions.
The pupils confirm that they are able to experience a wider range of sporting activities in and out of
- The school’s curriculum is broad and offers pupils many opportunities to widen their knowledge and
experiences. Pupils speak fondly about the opportunities for outdoor learning and visits that extend their
skills and knowledge. There are many opportunities to develop spiritual, moral and social development.
Pupils showed in many lessons that they were able to reflect and empathise and recognise the difference
between right and wrong. However, not enough emphasis is given to developing pupils’ appreciation of
different cultures nationally. This means that pupils are not as well prepared as they should be for life in
modern British society.
- Parents are increasingly supportive of the new federation. Parents commented that, since the appointment
of the executive headteacher, they receive useful information about their children and have a greater
confidence that they are making good progress.
- The local authority supports the school well through effective guidance and support for leaders and
managers in the school.
- The governance of the school:
Governors have an excellent understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. With
leaders, they share the determined drive for the school to continue to improve rapidly. Governors are
able to challenge and support the school effectively because of the wide range of skills they possess.
Governors take part in training and are able to draw on the skills of the Chair of the Governing Body,
who is a National Leader of Governance.
When making decisions about pay awards, the governing body ensures that any salary progression is
related to pupils’ progress. Governors manage the finances across the federation well and ensure that
pupil premium funding and the sports premium are used effectively. They frequently review the way
this funding is spent.
Governors ensure that safeguarding arrangements comply with statutory requirements and that policies
are up to date. Together with leaders, they discharge these responsibilities well, ensuring that all pupils
are safe at all times.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils show good manners and are considerate of others as they move
around the school. They show a great deal of respect for adults and for each other in classes. Behaviour is
not yet outstanding because not all pupils show a thirst for learning.
- In lessons, pupils settle to work quickly, concentrate hard and persevere well with their tasks. Pupils take
a pride in their work and present it neatly in all subjects, particularly in their writing books.
- Pupils’ say they are proud of their school. They particularly enjoy the opportunity to take part in the choir,
individual music lessons and the range of sporting activities available to them.
- The school’s records show there are few incidents of poor behaviour; any poor behaviour is dealt with
well, without the need for exclusion.
- Attendance is in line with national averages. The school checks absences carefully and has introduced
measures to support any pupils whose attendance or punctuality gives rise to concern.
- The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good. Pupils say they feel safe in school because
adults look after them well.
- Arrangements for safeguarding and child protection meet current requirements. Pupils know how to keep
themselves safe and they demonstrate knowledge of how to use the internet safely.
- Although bullying is rare, pupils say any bullying is dealt with effectively by staff.
- Parents confirm that their children are happy and safe in school.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- The quality of teaching is now good because, with the support of the local authority, senior leaders have
provided high-quality training to extend the skills of teachers and teaching assistants.
- Teachers’ high expectations for pupils’ learning were seen in most lessons visited and in the quality of
their marking in pupils’ books. Pupils receive clear feedback on how well they are doing and teachers’
marking usually identifies for them the next steps they need to take to move their learning on.
- Teachers plan exciting lessons that engage and capture pupils’ interests. Teachers plan together with their
‘buddy’ from Holywell CE Primary School. This has contributed to the significant improvement in the
quality of teaching.
- Teachers use questioning effectively to probe pupils’ thinking and to draw out further information and to
clarify pupils’ understanding. Pupils were observed asking questions and challenging their own knowledge
and understanding. They were often able to articulate their thinking. This was seen many times, including
in Year 5, where pupils were challenged to explain their reasoning in solving mathematical problems. This
good practice is also evident in Reception, where adults’ effective questioning in one session allowed
children to share their thoughts about Chinese New Year.
- Teaching assistants provide good support for learning throughout the school, including in the early years.
This helps pupils who need extra help to make rapid progress and narrows any gaps in attainment
between them and other pupils.
- Teachers promote pupils’ enjoyment in reading well. The school provides a wide range of reading material
which encourages pupils to read widely and often. The teaching of phonics (letters and the sounds they
make) has improved since the previous inspection. Pupils confidently tackle unfamiliar words, using their
knowledge of phonics to sound them out. In the early years, children confidently spell words such as
‘teeth’ and ‘mouth’ by using the spelling rules they have learnt.
- The work set for the most-able pupils in mathematics is sometimes too easy for them. Teachers do not all
challenge these pupils enough in this subject or give them the extra support they need in order to reach
the higher levels in the national tests.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Children start in the Reception class with skills typical for their age. They are eager to learn and quickly
make good progress. This is the result of activities that are well planned and which engage and motivate
- Progress over time has not been quite so fast in Years 1 and 2, but it is now improving rapidly. Pupils at
the end of Year 2 in 2014 reached standards that were broadly average in reading, writing and
mathematics. School data shows that current pupils are working at the levels expected for their age.
Attainment by the end of Year 6 is average overall. In 2014, results in the national tests were above
average in writing.
- Most pupils make good progress in Years 3 to 6. In 2014, almost all pupils made the progress expected of
them, and a higher than average proportion made better than expected progress in reading. However, a
few pupils in Year 4 have not previously made the same progress as other pupils in the school because
teaching for these pupils has not been consistently good. These pupils are now making strong progress
and are achieving well.
- Disadvantaged pupils supported by additional funding make very good progress, frequently better than
that of other pupils in the school and pupils nationally. This is because the school makes good use of the
additional funding to provide individual teaching support for these pupils. In 2014, disadvantaged pupils
in Year 6 were a year ahead of pupils nationally in writing, and were four terms ahead in reading and
mathematics. When compared to their classmates, they were more than a term ahead in writing, and
more than four terms ahead in reading and mathematics.
- School information shows that disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs make good
progress from their starting points. This is because of the carefully planned support they receive.
- The most-able pupils generally make the progress expected of them and achieve well. However, they
make faster progress in English than in mathematics. Too few of these pupils gained the higher levels in
mathematics in 2014.
|The early years provision||is good|
- Children start in the Reception class with knowledge, understanding and skills that are typical for their
age. The quality of the early years provision is good. By the time children leave the Reception Year, they
are well prepared to start Year 1.
- The proportion of children who show a good level of development in reading, writing and number work
by the end of the Reception Year improved in 2014.
- Good leadership ensures that children benefit from a wide range of stimulating activities that are
purposeful and engaging, and which challenge the children in all areas of learning.
- Children behave well and show good attitudes to learning. They listen carefully to staff, work effectively
together and enjoy their time in school.
- The quality of teaching is good. Staff have high expectations and regularly check on children’s progress
and use this information to plan tasks and activities to further challenge and extend the children’s skills.
- There are strong links with parents and local nursery schools. These links help support the children to
make the best progress they can. Children are safe and happy in the reception class. They are well cared
for by adults who ensure the children remain safe.
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
|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
|Unique reference number||110888|
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||189|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||21 February 2013|
|Telephone number||01487 841468|
|Fax number||01487 740618|