St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
phone: 01992 583148
headteacher: Mr Ian Kendal Bed
210 pupils capacity: 113% full
125 boys 52%
115 girls 48%
Last updated: June 19, 2014
Primary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 531450, Northing: 213225
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.802, Longitude: -0.094997
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- July 2, 2013
- Archdiocese of Westminster
- Region › Const. › Ward
- East of England › Hertford and Stortford › Hertford Sele
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- 0.3 miles Hollybush Primary School SG142DF (211 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Hertford St Andrew CofE Primary School SG142EP (128 pupils)
- 0.4 miles The Sele School SG142DG
- 0.4 miles The Sele School SG142DG (425 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Mill Mead Primary School SG143AA (239 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Duncombe School SG143JA (334 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Bengeo Primary School SG143DX (494 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Bengeo Junior School SG143HL
- 0.7 miles Bengeo Infant School SG143DX
- 0.9 miles St Joseph's in the Park SG142LX (150 pupils)
- 1 mile Abel Smith School SG138AE (234 pupils)
- 1 mile Richard Hale School SG138EN
- 1 mile Hertford, Ware and Bishop's Stortford Area Pupil Referral Unit SG138AE
- 1 mile Richard Hale School SG138EN (1126 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Morgans Primary School & Nursery SG138DR (412 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Morgans Walk Junior Mixed School SG138DR
- 1.2 mile Chalk Dell Infant School SG138JR
- 1.3 mile Simon Balle School SG138AJ
- 1.3 mile Simon Balle School SG138AJ (1053 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Wheatcroft Primary School SG137HQ (348 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Hertingfordbury Cowper Primary School SG142LR (210 pupils)
- 1.9 mile The Pines Junior Mixed and Infant School SG137SP
- 2.3 miles Stapleford Primary School SG143NB (95 pupils)
- 2.3 miles The Chauncy School SG120DP
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary
North Road, Hertford, SG14 2BY
|Inspection dates||2–3 July 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|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
| Pupils make good progress because they are |
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Behaviour and safety are outstanding. Pupils
Pupils feel secure and valued within the
Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
taught well throughout the school. Teaching
is typically good, and some is outstanding.
make increasingly good progress in all areas
of their learning and development in a
show excellent attitudes to learning. They are
welcoming, courteous and well mannered.
development is excellent. They are a credit to
the school and to their families.
| The headteacher, staff and governors share |
Their ambition and a strong sense of
The governors are regular visitors to the school
Parents are very positive about the school and
high expectations for all pupils to achieve well.
commitment and teamwork among staff have
helped to ensure that teaching and learning
have improved markedly this year.
and know it well. They have a clear
understanding of what the school needs to do
next in order to improve further.
praise the leadership, teaching and quality of
care that the school takes for their children.
| Not enough teaching is outstanding. |
Teachers do not always allow pupils enough
The skilled, expert questions they ask pupils
time to talk together about their learning.
to extend their learning in some lessons are
not yet a routine feature across the school.
| Standards in mathematics were not as high as |
in English last year. Teaching of mathematics
has improved this year, but pupils are not yet
making consistently rapid progress in the
Information about this inspection
- The inspectors observed 17 lessons, four of which were seen together with the headteacher or
the assistant headteacher. Nine teachers and their teaching assistants were seen working with
- Inspectors looked at the work in pupils’ books. They listened to some pupils from Years 2 and 6
reading, and attended daily registration time.
- Inspectors met with pupils from Years 5 and 6, including the house captains, and talked with
pupils during lessons, in the playground and as they moved around the school.
- Meetings were held with the headteacher, the assistant headteacher, team leaders, subject
leaders and governors. Inspectors also gathered views from a representative of the local
- Inspectors took account of the 50 responses to the online questionnaire (Parent View) and
spoke informally with parents and carers at the start of the school day. They also considered
letters received from individual parents.
- Questionnaires completed by 14 members of staff were taken into account.
- A wide range of school documents were reviewed. These included development plans, policies,
the school’s own judgements on its strengths and weaknesses, various monitoring, safeguarding
and planning records, information provided for families and governing body documents.
|Ruth Dollner, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Michael Miller||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- St Joseph’s is an average-sized primary school mainly serving the local Catholic community
within the broader Hertford area.
- During this year the headteacher has shared his time between St Joseph’s and another local
school he supports.
- Nearly all of the pupils come from White British backgrounds, and speak English as their first
- The proportion of pupils supported by the pupil premium, which in this school provides
additional funding for pupils who are known to eligible for free school meals, is very low.
- The proportion of pupils supported through school action, school action plus or with a statement
of special educational need is well below average.
- The school meets the government floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for
pupils’ attainment and progress.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Make teaching consistently at least good and more often outstanding, particularly in
mathematics, by making sure that:
teachers do not talk for too long
pupils have the maximum possible time to discuss and reflect on their learning, both together
and with their teachers
teachers frequently ask pupils probing questions during lessons to assess how well they are
learning, clarify any misunderstandings and challenge them to think hard
the best practice in the teaching of mathematics is extended across the whole school.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Children enter the nursery with levels of skills, knowledge and understanding below those
expected for their age. They make good progress in both the Nursery and Reception Years and
are prepared well to start their National Curriculum work in Year 1.
- Since the previous inspection, pupils’ progress between Years 1 and 6 has been uneven and
their attainment fell to average levels. Standards have improved again since 2011. Pupils are
now making good progress. However, this remains uneven, particularly in mathematics and
more generally for pupils in Year 3, where there have been four different teachers over the
course of the year.
- School data and the work shown in pupils’ books show that the current Year 2 pupils have
progressed at almost twice the nationally expected rate in reading, writing and mathematics.
They are making particularly good progress in learning about the sounds that letters make
(phonics) and are able to apply these skills effectively in both their reading and writing work.
- Attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 recovered to above average overall in 2012. It was above
average in English, but it was only average in mathematics and improving achievement in this
subject has been a major priority for the school. School data show that current Year 6 pupils
have made good progress and their attainment is now above average. The work seen in lessons
supported this judgement, although it has yet to be validated through the Year 6 national tests.
- Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs achieve well. They make good
progress thanks to good planning to meet their specific needs and well-chosen support from
teachers and support staff.
- As there are so few pupils eligible for the additional government funding, the impact of this in
national tests and assessments cannot be reported without potentially identifying individuals.
However, these pupils generally make good progress in line with their classmates. The school
uses the funding to provide additional support from adults, particularly in the teaching of phonics
and number work, and to subsidise activities and trips so that no-one loses out.
- Outstanding progress was seen in some lessons during the inspection. In a Year 6 geography
lesson, pupils applied their extensive knowledge of coastal erosion to both their creative and
factual writing work. They made rapid progress as they put themselves in the place of people
whose homes and livelihoods were being destroyed by the force of the sea. This also contributed
significantly to their spiritual and social development.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is typically good. Teachers are very clear about what they want pupils to learn.
Teachers and teaching assistants develop positive working relationships with the pupils, which
underpin very effectively their enthusiastic attitudes to learning.
- Where teaching is outstanding, teachers use expert questioning skills not only to check pupils’
understanding but also to challenge them to reflect on their ideas and thinking. This leads to
excellent progress within lessons. However, this good practice is not applied consistently well
across all lessons or year groups. The school recognises that developing this aspect of teaching
is a priority in the drive to make teaching outstanding.
- In a Reception lesson the teacher demonstrated very clearly how to craft questions about a
range of objects brought in from home including photographs and toy cars. Children then made
rapid progress in developing their own questioning skills. In a Year 6 lesson using number
sequences on credit cards, the teacher constantly asked pupils questions that were skilfully
aimed at building up their learning in small steps. This led to pupils reaching high standards.
- Teachers often plan opportunities in lessons for pupils to work together with their ‘learning
partners’. However, this way of working is not consistently well established across the school. In
the few cases where teaching was less than good, pupils did not have enough time to talk in a
sustained way about their learning, or to challenge each other’s thinking. In some lessons
teachers simply talked for too long, thus limiting the time for pupils to develop their independent
- These weaker aspects of teaching were often seen in mathematics, and prevented pupils from
reaching higher standards. In a Key Stage 2 lesson on time, for example, pupils were not asked
to share their understanding of the key vocabulary needed to be successful with their learning
with each other, or with the teacher.
- Teachers have worked hard to improve the quality of their mathematics teaching in order to
improve pupils’ standards, and with some success. They are focusing sharply on enabling pupils
to apply their mathematical skills in more practical ways across a wide range of subjects to
improve pupils’ achievement. Some outstanding progress in mathematics was clear in pupils’
books, particularly in Year 2, but this is not typical and the standard of teaching is not yet
- Many lessons help to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. In Year 1,
pupils talked about how to become ‘the best friend they could be’. In a Year 2 mathematics
lesson pupils worked collaboratively to place shapes on a Venn diagram made from hoops. They
respected each other’s decisions but challenged each other maturely.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- Behaviour is outstanding, and not simply because staff manage behaviour consistently and
effectively. Pupils’ attitudes to learning are almost always impeccable and contribute
exceptionally well to the good progress they are making. Attendance and punctuality to school
are above average. This reflects the pupils’ commitment to the school and to their learning.
- Pupils are actively involved in school life and its development. They have, for example, played an
important role, alongside staff, governors and parents, in developing the school mission
statement. They are proud of this and keen to talk about it.
- An important strength of the school is its welcoming and supportive environment. Parents told
inspectors how much they appreciated the ways the school balanced the academic and personal
development of their children. Pupils’ specific individual needs are identified quickly, and support
is swiftly and effectively tailored to meet their needs.
- Pupils are developing into mature young citizens at St Joseph’s. They welcome visitors to the
school whole-heartedly. They are polite, helpful, friendly, reflective and respectful. Pupils of all
ages when reading or talking with inspectors frequently greeted them with, ‘How are you today?’
or ‘Are you having a good day? They all showed genuine interest in the answers. Such
approaches indicate the strength of the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development,
and their understanding of peoples’ differences and similarities.
- Parents’ views of the school are very positive. They feel that their children are happy, safe and
well cared for, and that any issues they raise are dealt with quickly and highly effectively. There
is a strong sense of community in and around the school. Parents point to the warm and
nurturing ethos underpinning the life of the school. This was seen very clearly at the annual
swimming gala at the school’s own swimming pool, when pupils waited patiently for their turn
and cheered each other on enthusiastically.
- Incidents of inappropriate behaviour are extremely rare. Pupils understand very well how to
keep each other safe. They are aware of the different types of bullying and believe that ‘bullying
week’ helps to raise awareness and their understanding that prevention is better than cure.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The headteacher provides strong, dynamic leadership and is ably supported by the assistant
headteacher and the governing body. Team and subject leaders share the senior leaders’
determination to improve. The staff’s openness of mind and willingness to act decisively on
constructive feedback support the school’s good capacity for further improvement. Such
attitudes make an important contribution to the school’s positive approach to ensuring that all
pupils have an equal opportunity to succeed.
- Staff who completed questionnaires were unanimous in their strong support for the leadership
team and are proud to work at St Joseph’s.
- Strong and effective leadership at all levels means that the school has made good progress on
improving teaching and mathematics this year. The school’s evaluation of how well it is doing is
clear and accurate, and the results have led to effective and detailed improvement planning with
clear success criteria so that the school can be held to account by the community it serves.
- The monitoring of teaching is rigorous, and feedback by senior leaders is focused sharply on
improving pupils’ learning and achievement. Subject and team leaders provide good-quality
support and advice for other staff through their regular monitoring of lessons and the training
they provide. They seek external help to confirm their judgements, and do not hesitate to
evaluate their own effectiveness in improving outcomes for pupils.
- The school has identified the right priorities to improve teaching further. The sharing of good
practice by subject leaders has helped teachers to explore ways of making mathematics more
practical, and to developing additional ways to help pupils solve mathematical problems. Most
teachers are planning to ensure lessons are engaging and involve collaboration between pupils.
- The local authority adviser has provided a good level of challenge to the school while supporting
it well, particularly by helping staff to improve their skills in analysing data on pupils’ progress.
- The governance of the school:
The governing body is well informed about the school’s performance in relation to other
schools nationally. Governors provide good support to the school and hold it to account well.
They visit the school regularly and take an active part in its life and work. New procedures
introduced at governing body meetings this year have ensured that governors regularly ask
leaders challenging questions about the school’s performance.
Governors actively seek training to keep their skills up to date and enhance their work.
The governing body systematically checks on the effectiveness of teaching, and monitors how
well staff are meeting the targets set for their performance.
It also ensures that all national safeguarding requirements are met.
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 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.
|Unique reference number||117436|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|School category||Voluntary aided|
|Age range of pupils||3–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||240|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||19 June 2009|
|Telephone number||01992 583148|
|Fax number||01992 550503|