St James' CofE Primary School
Headteacher: Mrs Alison Passmore
Diocese of Birmingham
396 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||131673|
|Inspection dates||25–26 January 2010|
|Reporting inspector||Clive Lewis|
|Type of school||Primary|
|School category||Voluntary controlled|
|Age range of pupils||4–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||383|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Jon Goodwin|
|Headteacher||Mr Paul Longden|
|Date of previous school inspection||18 October 2006|
|School address||Wolverley Crescent|
|Telephone number||0121 5525491|
|Fax number||0121 5522794|
|Inspection dates||25–26 January 2010|
|Number of children on roll in the registered|
|Date of last inspection of registered|
|Not previously inspected|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by four additional inspectors. The inspectors spent one third of their time looking at learning in 21 lessons. They analysed documentation including the school's development plan and held meetings with governors, staff, groups of pupils and parents. They observed the school's work, analysed the responses to questionnaires from 61 parents, 50 pupils and 23 staff and looked at samples of pupils' work.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
This school is larger than most primary schools. Attainment on entry to the school is well below average and the proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above average. Mobility of pupils is very high in some year groups and the number of pupils entitled to free school meals is twice the national average. Most pupils are of White British heritage with a few pupils coming from minority ethnic backgrounds. A new headteacher was appointed at the start of the school year. The school has achieved the Platinum Healthy School award, the Basic Skills Quality mark and is currently working towards the Arts Mark Gold standard.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
In accordance with section 13 (3) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires significant improvement, because it is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform. The school is therefore given a notice to improve. Significant improvement is required in relation to:
Children get off to a satisfactory start in the Early Years Foundation Stage and make satisfactory progress in the Nursery and Reception classes. However, provision for the outdoor curriculum needs further development in order to better develop children's independent learning skills. In Years 1 to 6 there has been significant underachievement for a number of years in reading, writing and mathematics. Attainment in the latest national tests was significantly below the national average at the end of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. However, under the dynamic leadership of the new headteacher, pupils' progress is beginning to show signs of improvement, although not yet quickly enough, as progress is hindered by historic gaps in pupils' learning. Clear priorities have been set for further improvement and leaders and managers are keen to improve. In the past senior leaders have been too generous in their evaluation of how well the school is doing from the monitoring they have undertaken. More recently, however, a more realistic view has been developed and leaders now have an accurate view of teaching and learning and of what the school needs to do to improve. Staff are responding well to the support and guidance they are receiving in English and mathematics. Parents are very supportive of the school. They like the positive family atmosphere and one parent commented: 'I think the school has improved tremendously recently; the new headteacher has very good plans for the school and I think it will continue to improve'. Staff clearly want the best for each child and strive hard to achieve this goal through working closely with families and external agencies.
Pupils' have a good understanding of how to keep safe and understand the need for healthy lifestyles. Parents say their children enjoy coming to school and pupils agree enthusiastically, as one pupil wrote: 'I think St. James' is a great school and I think the new headteacher has made some great changes'. However, levels of attendance remain below average due to a small but persistent minority of pupils whose attendance continues to give concern. A strong moral code is implicit within the school's ethos and this is reflected in pupils' good behaviour. This in turn has a positive effect on the progress pupils make in lessons. In most instances, they work hard and conscientiously, both independently and co-operatively, without the need for constant adult intervention. The curriculum ensures that pupils receive a satisfactory variety of interesting activities and experiences through visits, residential stays and visitors to school. Pupils particularly enjoy the newly-introduced range of lunchtime clubs and the after-school activities and clubs, including physical activities. The school has well-organised arrangements for the care of all pupils, which contributes to their well-being and supports their learning effectively. Data from the school's assessment and tracking system is now being used well to ensure that any pupil falling behind is identified quickly and support promptly provided. Teachers have a better understanding of pupils' progress due to a regular half-termly analysis of the data. The school has very good links with the local community and other organisations but realises more needs to be done to develop and strengthen ties with other groups at home and overseas. The school has a satisfactory understanding of how well it is doing and what needs to be done next and demonstrates a satisfactory capacity to sustain improvement.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
When children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage, standards are well below those typically found. Children make satisfactory progress as they move through the Nursery and Reception classes. Although observations confirm that most pupils are now making satisfactory progress in Years 1 to 6, this is a very recent improvement and overall attainment remains well below average. This is to some extent due to high levels of mobility and the high percentage of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Pupils' attainment in spelling, grammar, punctuation, numeracy and presentation remains low. This reflects unsatisfactory progress in previous years. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities make satisfactory progress because of the effective support provided by teachers, teaching assistants and outside agencies. Observations during lessons and around the school confirm that pupils' behaviour is good and a credit to the school. Pupils show respect for the feelings and beliefs of others. They have good attitudes to learning and develop considerate relationships with peers and adults. They understand the need for healthy lifestyles and exercise and say they feel very safe in school. Pupils have a satisfactory range of opportunities to contribute to school and local communities through the work of the school council and regular collections for a number of charities. Pupils say they enjoy coming to school but this is not yet reflected in their levels of attendance. Although the school now has good systems to monitor attendance and has implemented strategies to improve it, these have yet to be fully effective. With the current low levels of attainment and attendance pupils are not being prepared effectively for the future world of work.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||2|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||3|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||3|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||3|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
Whilst teaching has some strong features, these are not yet securely established across the school and teaching is not sufficiently consistent to ensure the rapid progress necessary in order to raise attainment. Most teachers demonstrate good subject knowledge. They ensure classroom routines are made clear and regularly reinforced so that learning takes place in a well-structured environment in all pupils can contribute. Learning intentions are made clear at the beginning of each lesson and, as a result, pupils know precisely what it is that they are expected to do. However, the planning and delivery of lessons does not always take full account of assessment and tracking data to ensure that all ability groups are appropriately challenged. A strong emphasis is placed on promoting positive behaviour and teachers are skilled in doing this through giving consistent messages, using praise and highlighting good responses from pupils. Marking is up to date and encouraging but does not consistently point out what steps pupils should take to improve their work. The curriculum has been improved recently by a move towards a more thematic curriculum and pupils told inspectors that they liked their new lessons. Pupils are provided with a good range of enrichment opportunities to develop new skills and interests. These include lunchtime activities led by 'School Buddies' and well-attended after-school clubs, with sports activities taught by professional coaches. The school provides a safe haven for many of its pupils and helps them to manage their behaviour and feelings. When needed, a wide range of specialists and support agencies is called upon to support those pupils whose circumstances make them vulnerable. Clearly targeted support for these pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities results in beneficial progress.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||3|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||2|
The headteacher has successfully introduced a number of initiatives designed to arrest underachievement and establish a culture of accountability. Improvements include securing good behaviour in lessons and around the school, strengthening the rigour of systems for improving attendance and monitoring and supporting teaching so that it is now satisfactory or better across the school. The school is also improving the analysis and use of assessment and tracking data, and introducing a more child-friendly curriculum. Although there are some signs that progress is improving as a result, any measurable effect on attainment remains to be seen. The headteacher is currently reviewing the management structure across the school in order to develop a more distributed style of leadership with clear areas of responsibility for all staff. Subject leaders are starting to effect improvements in English and mathematics. The governing body now has a satisfactory overview of the school's work and future priorities and is fulfilling its role effectively. The school has good relationships with most parents and its good partnerships with outside agencies effectively support pupils' learning and well-being. The school promotes equality of opportunity and community cohesion satisfactorily. It has a good understanding of the religious, ethnic and socio-economic characteristics of the school and local community but realises it needs to pay more attention to improving pupils' awareness of the national and global dimensions. The school has good safeguarding procedures. It identifies dangers, fosters a realistic understanding of risk and helps pupils to keep themselves safe. The recent improvements initiated by the new leadership arrangements have ensured that the school is now providing satisfactory value for money.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||2|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||3|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||3|
Provision for the youngest children is satisfactory. Children enter the Nursery class with skills that are well below those typically found for their age, especially in communication, language and literacy skills and in personal and social development. Children clearly enjoy school and have settled into the routines well. They play happily together and are developing a sense of independence. In most cases children co-operate well when working with others. They delight in learning and seeing new things. Good relationships are being developed with parents and carers through daily contact. Pastoral care and welfare arrangements are effective. Consequently, children are safe, well cared for and aware of how to be healthy. Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are well-supported and are integrated well into all activities. However, although the Early Years Foundation Stage has a large secure outdoor area, directly accessible from the classrooms, it is not currently being used to its best advantage. There is only a very small covered area to allow the outdoor curriculum to continue in inclement weather. The current arrangements do not provide children with sufficient opportunities to select 'free-choice' activities for themselves, both indoors and outdoors and this hampers the development of their independent learning skills. Adults have a sound knowledge of the learning and development and welfare requirements and guidance for the Early Years Foundation Stage. They manage children and their behaviour appropriately. The Early Years Foundation Stage is about to adopt a new system of assessment and tracking of individual children with the intention of giving practitioners a clearer and more accurate view of both attainment on entry and progress of the youngest children.
These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage
|Overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation
Almost all parents who replied to the questionnaire are extremely satisfied with the school, a response which reflects the school's good links with parents and carers. They all say they are happy with their child's experience at school. They believe that teaching is good and their children are safe and enjoy coming to school. In two areas, however, a small minority of parents have some concerns. They do not feel that the school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour or takes enough account of their suggestions and comments. Inspectors investigated these issues and considered that the school's approach to behaviour management has improved and the school is taking steps to listen more carefully to parents' views.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at St James' CofE Primary School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school. The inspection team received 61 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 383 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||44||73||16||27||0||0||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||35||57||26||43||0||0||0||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||28||46||31||51||2||3||0||0|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||25||42||31||51||3||5||0||0|
|The teaching is good at this school||26||43||33||54||0||0||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||24||39||34||56||3||5||0||0|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||23||38||33||54||1||2||1||2|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||20||33||36||64||0||0||0||0|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||24||39||34||56||2||3||0||0|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||17||28||35||57||6||10||0||0|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||21||34||31||51||6||10||0||0|
|The school is led and managed effectively||27||44||32||52||0||0||0||0|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||33||54||26||43||0||0||0||0|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
Wednesday 27 January 2010
Inspection of St James' CofE Primary School, Oldbury, B69 1BG
Thank you for welcoming the inspectors to your school and for talking to us about what you do there. It was good to see that you clearly enjoy school and that you know how important it is to eat healthily and take regular exercise. It is to your credit that you behave well and get on well with each other and with all the staff.
Those who lead your school do so satisfactorily. However, I am concerned that your progress, up until very recently, has not been as good as could be expected. I want the school to help you catch up rapidly on any learning you may have missed. In particular, I have asked the school to improve standards in reading, writing and maths by:
Once again thank you for being so welcoming during our visit.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|