School etc

St Martin's Catholic Primary School

St Martin's Catholic Primary School
Pendennis Avenue
Caversham Park Village

phone: 0118 9375544

acting headteacher: Mrs Catherine Doberska

school holidays: via Reading council

162 pupils aged 4—10y mixed gender
140 pupils capacity: 115% full

65 boys 40%


95 girls 59%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Primary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 473085, Northing: 176777
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.485, Longitude: -0.94884
Accepting pupils
4—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
March 8, 2012
Archdiocese of Birmingham
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Reading East › Peppard
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Reading

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles Caversham Park Primary School RG46RP (205 pupils)
  2. 0.7 miles The Hill Primary School RG48TU (439 pupils)
  3. 0.8 miles Micklands Primary School RG46LU (339 pupils)
  4. 0.9 miles Emmer Green Primary School RG48LN (481 pupils)
  5. 1.2 mile Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre RG48LR
  6. 1.2 mile Caversham Preparatory School RG48JZ (86 pupils)
  7. 1.2 mile Chiltern Nursery Nurse Training School RG48JZ
  8. 1.2 mile Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre RG48LR (1313 pupils)
  9. 1.3 mile Caversham Nursery School RG45NA (82 pupils)
  10. 1.3 mile Queen Anne's School RG46DX (429 pupils)
  11. 1.4 mile New Bridge Nursery School RG45AU (118 pupils)
  12. 1.4 mile Caversham Primary School RG47RA (446 pupils)
  13. 1.4 mile St Anne's Catholic Primary School RG45AA (194 pupils)
  14. 1.5 mile Hemdean House School RG47SD (155 pupils)
  15. 1.5 mile The Heights Primary School RG48BH
  16. 1.6 mile Thameside Primary School RG48DB (349 pupils)
  17. 1.7 mile Reading Blue Coat School RG46SU (735 pupils)
  18. 1.9 mile New Town Primary School RG13LS (264 pupils)
  19. 1.9 mile Cressex Lodge (SWAAY) RG424DE (13 pupils)
  20. 2 miles Seagulls Pupil Referral Unit RG18EJ
  21. 2 miles E P Collier Primary School RG18DZ (237 pupils)
  22. 2.1 miles St John's CofE (Aided) Primary School RG13JN (382 pupils)
  23. 2.1 miles Sonning CofE Primary School RG46XF (210 pupils)
  24. 2.2 miles Shiplake Church of England School RG94DN (193 pupils)

List of schools in Reading

Age group 4–11
Inspection date(s) 8–9 March 2012
Inspection number 378039

St Martin’s Catholic Primary School

Inspection report

Unique reference number 110038
Local authority Reading
Inspection number 378039
Inspection dates 8–9 March 2012
Lead inspector Paul Edwards

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 4–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 146
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Yvonne Mubanga
Headteacher Madeleine Cosgrove
Date of previous school inspection 18 October 2006
School address Pendennis Avenue
Telephone number 01189 375544
Fax number 01189 015544
Email address reveal email: h…

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Inspection team

Paul Edwards Additional inspector

This inspection was carried out with two days' notice. The inspector observed ten
lessons taught by six teachers and listened to pupils reading. Meetings were held
with the headteacher, senior leaders, teaching staff, the Chair of the Governing Body
and groups of pupils. The inspector took account of the responses to the on-line
questionnaire (Parent View) in planning the inspection, observed the school’s work,
and looked at governing body minutes, the systems for assessing and monitoring

pupils’ progress, safeguarding procedures, pupils’ work, and teachers’ planning and

marking. The inspector took note of the questionnaires completed by 109 parents
and carers and those completed by staff and pupils.

Information about the school

St Martin’s is a smaller than average-sized primary school. The majority of pupils are

of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups, who

come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, is similar to that seen nationally. A
lower-than-average proportion of pupils speak English as an additional language. The
proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is well below that seen
nationally. The percentage of disabled pupils and those who have special educational
needs is broadly average. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are taught in
a Reception class. The school meets the government floor standard. All teaching staff
are new to the school since the previous inspection and there have been a number of
recent appointments.

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness 2
Achievement of pupils 2
Quality of teaching 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils 1
Leadership and management 1

Key findings

  • This is a good school. The key to the school’s success and its significant
    improvement is the particularly strong leadership of the headteacher and senior
    leaders, that is improving teaching and ensuring pupils are provided with a rich,
    vibrant and stimulating curriculum. The school is not outstanding because
    teaching is not leading to pupils’ consistently rapid and sustained progress in all
    classes across the school.
  • Achievement is good because all groups of pupils, including disabled pupils and
    those who have special educational needs, make good progress. After a good
    start in the Reception class, pupils continue to make good progress which is
    rapidly accelerated in upper Key Stage 2, so that they attain high standards by
    the end of Year 6 in English and mathematics. Pupils’ handwriting and
    presentation do not always match these otherwise high standards.
  • Pupils’ high level of attendance is testament to their great enjoyment for
    learning. This enthusiasm makes a significant contribution to their progress and
    high attainment. They feel very safe and behave exceptionally well, both in
    lessons and at break times. Pupils are really appreciative of the opportunities to
    take responsibility for their own learning but also for the support provided by
  • Overall, teaching is good. There is some outstanding practice. Pupils’ work is
    marked well with clear steps identified for improvement. Activities are
    challenging. Occasionally, teachers spend too long explaining tasks and do not
    provide pupils with sufficient opportunities for writing at greater length in other
  • Leadership and management at all levels are outstanding. The leadership of
    teaching and the management of performance by senior leaders are thorough
    and rigorous. Strong, supportive, but challenging, governance contributes to
    the school’s excellent capacity to sustain improvement.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • During the current academic year, raise the quality of teaching to outstanding
    ensuring teachers consistently provide a better balance between the time
    they spend on explaining activities to pupils and the time given to
    completing tasks
    ensuring teachers plan more opportunities for pupils to write at length in
    other subjects
    raising teachers’ expectations as to the quality of pupils’ handwriting and
    presentation skills so that they match the high quality of other work.

Main report

Achievement of pupils

Almost all parents and carers who responded to the questionnaire felt their children
were making good progress, and the inspection found that all groups of pupils were
making good progress in each year. Exceptional progress in the upper junior classes
results in high attainment in writing and mathematics by the end of Year 6. Girls
have traditionally attained better than boys in their writing but the gap between
them has narrowed significantly; the result of more opportunities for boys to write on
subjects that interest them. For example, a number of boys demonstrated their
enthusiasm when talking about the Second World War project as part of their history
work. This generated good pieces of writing. Occasionally, the enthusiasm of pupils
for writing results in handwriting that is not as neat and well presented as it should
Children enter the school with skills and abilities that are similar to those expected
for their age. Consistently good provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
provides the children with a strong base for further learning and their attainment is
above average on entry to Year 1. Well-structured activities enable them to learn
about the world around them, and the strong emphasis on developing speaking and
listening and social skills is particularly successful. Reading skills are above average
in Year 2. There is good evidence to show that these skills have been maintained
because younger children are taught a range of strategies, including developing a
good knowledge of letters and sounds, which provide them with the skills they need
to work out unfamiliar or difficult words. Reading skills improve to exceptionally high
levels by Year 6; pupils talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically about books, and
their reading matter is challenging but enjoyable. As one pupil said, ‘I could read for


Early interventions for disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs,
and well-planned in-class support, ensure they progress and attain better than their
peers nationally. Teachers have high expectations of what these pupils are capable
of achieving and this helps their particularly good progress. The small number of

pupils who are at an early stage of speaking English as an additional language make
rapid gains in learning English; the result of well-organised support and close links

between home and school leading to an effective ‘learning partnership’ that aids their

learning well.

Quality of teaching

The quality of teaching is good and is underpinned by an extremely rich curriculum.
As a result, pupils make at least good progress. Adults foster excellent relationships
with pupils, which form a backdrop for an extremely positive climate for learning.
Teachers have high expectations and use their strong subject knowledge to structure
activities and make learning accessible for all pupils. They are particularly good at
questioning pupils and encouraging them to explain their thinking. For example, in
an outstanding Year 6 numeracy lesson, pupils of differing abilities took turns in
explaining to the class how they had solved percentage problems. They made use of
the large whiteboard and explained with such confidence that it aided the learning of
other pupils. In their enthusiasm, teachers occasionally spend too long explaining the
detail of tasks, limiting the opportunity for pupils to work on their planned activities.
Although there are opportunities for pupils to practise writing skills in other subjects,
teachers occasionally miss opportunities to encourage them to write at length.
Typically, the needs of all pupils are well met because planning clearly builds on the

pupils’ prior learning and understanding. It ensures that learning is challenging and

addresses any weaknesses in learning for all groups of pupils. In lessons, teachers
correct any misunderstandings that arise through strong oral guidance. Other adults
are usefully employed in a variety of situations to support pupils’ learning and help
them to catch up, for example, in small group writing activities. The use of
assessment to improve achievement in both English and mathematics has improved
considerably recently and rigorous use of targets makes clear to pupils what they
should be achieving. In most aspects, teachers have high expectations of pupils’
work but they do not always place sufficient emphasis on presentation and in
improving handwriting skills.

Teaching promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding very

successfully, both through the curriculum and through a wide range of enrichment
activities. Pupils are given the opportunity to reflect through prayer during mass and
acts of collective worship. Pupils are very passionate about fair trading and talk
confidently and knowledgeably about the unfairness in payments surrounding coffee
bean, tea, and banana growers. Pupils consider issues around recycling and have a
good awareness of different cultures and religions. Almost all parents and carers feel
that their children are well taught and, therefore, prepared well for the future.
Inspection evidence supports the views of parents and carers.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Pupils’ behaviour around the school and in lessons is outstanding. Pupils’

questionnaires and discussions show that this is their normal behaviour. They are

very polite and friendly to their peers and staff, and extremely respectful towards
visitors. Their excellent behaviour in lessons helps their learning and they cooperate
well. For example, during a Key Stage 2 physical education lesson, behaviour was
exemplary as they worked in pairs and groups to complete a number of gymnastic
moves. Parents and carers are extremely positive about the behaviour in school with
many commenting on the high quality of care and how well their children are
supported. The inspection evidence supports these views.
Pupils feel exceptionally safe and secure at school and say that there is no bullying or

significant bad behaviour. This is borne out by the school’s records over time. The
‘Rights Respecting School’ agenda helps to ensure pupils’ views are taken into

account. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage enter school happily and
punctually, developing good social skills and habits for the future. A strong focus on
routines, a well-structured day and very well-planned opportunities to learn and play
together help prepare children well for Year 1. Determined efforts are made to
ensure all pupils are safe and able to learn well. Training for staff in child protection
is wide-ranging and detailed. Staff ensure pupils are aware of the dangers of
computer misuse and cyber bullying. Pupils talk knowledgeably about such issues.
Older pupils are aware of the problems that occur with social networking sites.

Leadership and management

Leaders at all levels are highly effective and fully committed to driving and
maintaining the rate of improvement. Despite high attainment, there is no hint of

complacency. While there is a rigorous approach to raising pupils’ achievement, there

is a determination that pupils should enjoy their learning. The views of one parent
were typical of many when commenting: ‘Our child is very happy at school and he
has made excellent progress. We have nothing but praise for the staff who have
made enormous efforts to enrich his life.’
There is a rigorous approach to checking the quality of teaching from senior leaders.
Subject leaders check the performance of pupils regularly. Very well-targeted
professional development has successfully improved the quality of teaching with less

experienced staff benefiting from high-quality mentoring and coaching. The school

monitors the progress of pupils with precision and is using data purposefully to drive

up achievement. These improvements demonstrate clearly the school’s capacity for

continued improvement.
Art and dance receive high priority within the well-balanced curriculum. Alongside an

excellent range of visits and visitors to the school, these experiences promote pupils’

love for learning, and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, well.
The curriculum promotes pupils’ awareness of other cultures and faiths very
effectively. The school engages parents and carers extremely well. In the Early Years

Foundation Stage, parents and carers are able to contribute to children’s

assessments, and parents and carers comment that they feel welcome to come into
any class. There are very strong partnerships with other schools, for example a
number of more-able Year 6 mathematicians are taught regularly at the local

secondary school, enhancing their skills even further. The governing body supports
the school well. It has a good understanding of the school’s priorities for
development. The governors use the information about pupils’ achievement well to
hold school leaders to account.
Gaps in achievement between different groups of pupils are tackled decisively, so no
group falls behind others. The inclusion manager keeps a very close eye on the
progress of all pupils to ensure there is no discrimination. Disabled pupils and those
who have special educational needs are extremely well integrated into the life of the
school. Staff expect these pupils to achieve well, and they do. The progress of pupils
from different ethnic backgrounds is monitored closely with early and effective
interventions. This means equal opportunities are promoted extremely well. The
school is a safe, secure environment and the school meets statutory requirements for


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding
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

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 46 46 8 0
Primary schools 8 47 40 5
14 38 40 8
Special schools 28 48 20 4
Pupil referral
15 50 29 5
All schools 11 46 38 6

New school inspection arrangements have been introduced from 1 January 2012. This means that
inspectors make judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011 and represent
judgements that were made under the school inspection arrangements that were introduced on 1
September 2009. These data are consistent with the latest published official statistics about
maintained school inspection outcomes (see
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Primary schools include primary academy converters. Secondary schools include secondary academy
converters, sponsor-led academies and city technology colleges. Special schools include special
academy converters and non-maintained special schools.

Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100.

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their

learning and development taking account of their

Attainment: the standard of the pupils’ work shown by test and

examination results and in lessons.

Attendance the regular attendance of pupils at school and in

lessons, taking into account the school’s efforts to

encourage good attendance.

Behaviour how well pupils behave in lessons, with emphasis

on their attitude to learning. Pupils’ punctuality to

lessons and their conduct around the school.

Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue

improving based on its self-evaluation and 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 governors and headteacher, to
identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff
and running the school.

Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their

understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.

Overall effectiveness: inspectors form a judgement on a school’s overall

effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school.

Progress: 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.

Safety how safe pupils are in school, including in lessons;

and their understanding of risks. Pupils’ freedom

from bullying and harassment. How well the school
promotes safety, for example e-learning.

12 March 2012
Dear Pupils

Inspection of St Martin’s Catholic Primary School, Reading, RG4 6SS

Thank you very much for being so welcoming when I visited your school recently. I
appreciated the time taken by some of you to talk and read to me. I enjoyed
watching you in lessons and at playtimes, and seeing how you clearly enjoy school.

St Martin’s is a good school and these are some of the things I found.

  • You behave exceptionally well, both in lessons and in the playground, and this
    helps to ensure you feel really safe. Your attendance is higher than that seen in
    most schools.
  • Children in the Reception class learn well and this helps them as they get older.
  • You make good progress throughout the school so that your skills in reading,
    writing and mathematics are above average by the end of Year 6.
  • Teachers provide you with interesting activities and you have many visits, visitors
    and clubs that make learning more exciting.
  • You are very keen to help those who are less fortunate than yourselves. You have
    a very good understanding of right and wrong, and a very good understanding of
    people from other cultures and backgrounds.
  • Those in charge of the school provide very strong leadership and are working
    hard to make the school even better.
    To make the school better, I have asked the headteacher and governors to ensure
    more teaching becomes outstanding, and to do this by giving you more opportunities
    to write at length in a range of subjects, by ensuring teachers do not spend too long
    explaining tasks to you, and by making sure your handwriting and presentation
    matches the quality of your other work.
    All of you can help by really trying hard with your handwriting and presentation of
    Yours sincerely
    Paul Edwards
    Lead inspector

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