School etc

St Helen's Primary School

St Helen's Primary School
Colne Road

phone: 01487 841468

acting headteacher: Mrs Kay Potter


school holidays: via Cambridgeshire council

184 pupils aged 4—10y mixed gender
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

rooms to rent in Huntingdon

Schools nearby

  1. 1 mile Earith Primary School PE283QB (118 pupils)
  2. 1.8 mile Whitehall School PE283EH (73 pupils)
  3. 2 miles Somersham Primary School PE283EU (313 pupils)
  4. 2.8 miles Holywell CofE Primary School PE274TF (187 pupils)
  5. 3.1 miles Over Primary School CB245PG (309 pupils)
  6. 3.7 miles Phoenix School Cambridge CB245HT (22 pupils)
  7. 3.8 miles Willingham Primary School CB245LE (340 pupils)
  8. 3.9 miles Wheatfields Infant School PE273WF
  9. 3.9 miles Wheatfields Junior School PE273WF
  10. 3.9 miles Wheatfields Primary School PE273WF (402 pupils)
  11. 4.1 miles Westfield Junior School PE275RG (300 pupils)
  12. 4.1 miles Eastfield Infant and Nursery School PE275QT (319 pupils)
  13. 4.3 miles Swavesey Primary School CB244RN (328 pupils)
  14. 4.4 miles Thorndown Community Infant School PE276SE
  15. 4.4 miles Thorndown Community Junior School PE276SE
  16. 4.4 miles Swavesey Village College CB244RS
  17. 4.4 miles # S7 New Foundation Sec Swavesey Village College
  18. 4.4 miles Swavesey Village College CB244RS (1229 pupils)
  19. 4.4 miles Thorndown Primary School PE276SE (428 pupils)
  20. 4.5 miles St Ivo School PE276RR
  21. 4.5 miles St Ivo School PE276RR (1767 pupils)
  22. 4.7 miles Fen Drayton Primary School CB244SL (94 pupils)
  23. 5 miles Sutton CofE VC Primary School CB62PU (314 pupils)
  24. 5.1 miles Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School PE289JR (260 pupils)

List of schools in Huntingdon

School report

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.

Inspection team

Patricia Hunt, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Dominic Carver Additional Inspector

Full report

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
    school meals.
  • 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.

Inspection judgements

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 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
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 110888
Local authority Cambridgeshire
Inspection number 453732

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

Type of school Primary
School category Foundation
Age range of pupils 4–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 189
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Barry Smethurst
Headteacher Julie Branch
Date of previous school inspection 21 February 2013
Telephone number 01487 841468
Fax number 01487 740618
Email address reveal email: off…

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