St Mary's RC Junior School
Headteacher: Mrs Anne Pendry
Archdiocese of Southwark
271 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||101798|
|Inspection dates||8–9 September 2008|
|Reporting inspector||David Marshall|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Junior|
|School category||Voluntary aided|
|Age range of pupils||7–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number on roll|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Chris Davis|
|Headteacher||Mrs Anne Pendry|
|Date of previous school inspection||4 May 2004|
|School address||Sydenham Road|
|Telephone number||020 8688 4893|
|Fax number||020 8686 8061|
|Inspection dates||8–9 September 2008|
© Crown copyright 2008
The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
St Mary's is a larger than average, Voluntary Aided, Catholic Junior school. It is located in the centre of Croydon. The school's intake is very mixed, socially, ethnically and economically. The main intake is from the adjacent infant school. The great majority of pupils are from minority ethnic groups. Many pupils have English as an additional language (EAL) and there are 189 children on the EAL register requiring varying levels of support. Over half are at an early stage of acquiring English, and this is well above the national average. There are now at least 35 languages represented at the school. The number of pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities, including those with statements of special educational needs, is broadly in line with the national average. The proportion of pupils who leave and join the school other than at the usual time is well above the national average. The school has recently received the Activemark and the Sportsmark awards. The school has recently been involved in extensive building work. Two of the buildings were due to be demolished over the summer holidays and at the time of the inspection the work was not completed.
Overall effectiveness of the school
St Mary's is a good school. Its effectiveness is due to the excellent leadership of the headteacher, the overall efficiency of the management and the outstanding quality of pastoral care it provides for its pupils. The staff create a very supportive atmosphere for learning that ensures that pupils make good progress and achieve well. Inspection evidence supports the views of almost all parents, and the one who wrote, 'The teachers and headteacher are approachable and very hard working in helping all the children to achieve their full potential. I have no complaints, only praise for St Mary's.'
The arrangements for welcoming the many pupils who join the school during the year and settling them into their classes are outstanding. When talking to a number of pupils who have entered the school recently they all agreed with one who said, 'This is the best school I have ever been in, and I feel as though I have been here for ever.' Teaching and learning are good, and often outstanding. Observations and assessments of what the pupils know and can do are collected exceptionally well and shared with all concerned. Lessons are well planned and based on trying to make sure that all pupils enjoy learning. Support staff make an outstanding contribution to the pupils' development. Although marking and target setting are generally good, the school recognise that they need to address the inconsistencies in teachers' marking to make sure all pupils understand how they can make as much progress as possible as they move through the school.
From a below average start pupils reach standards that are average and pupils from all backgrounds achieve well over their time at the school. A high proportion of pupils reach average levels in the national tests, attaining the challenging targets set for them, although national test results show that the number of pupils reaching higher levels could be greater. In the 2008 national tests, standards for those pupils in Year 6 who had been in the school for the whole of their junior school time, were just above average in English and mathematics. The many pupils with English as an additional language make exceptionally good progress due to the caring and rigorous way their abilities are assessed and their needs are supported.
Pupils' personal development and well-being are outstanding. The atmosphere for learning created by the whole staff is supportive and caring. As one parent said, 'As a parent I want my children to enjoy all aspects of school life. I believe that by going to St Mary's my son is achieving this.' Staff are vigilant to pupils' needs, enabling them all to learn and play in a safe and secure learning environment. Thanks to the school's excellent systems, pupils' attendance rates have improved well and are now in line with the national average. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development are outstanding. Pupils show very caring attitudes to each other and the environment. They learn to respect children from different backgrounds and have an excellent understanding of healthy living and keeping safe. Their ability and confidence in working together and their acquisition of sound basic skills equips them well for the next stage of their education.
The curriculum covers all subjects well and includes carefully planned intervention strategies in literacy and numeracy that boost the progress of targeted pupils who need additional support in lessons in these subjects. The school has rightly set its sights on developing the curriculum further to enable the more able pupils to reach higher levels of achievement. Enthusiastic and skilled curriculum leaders have accurately identified a need to develop stronger links between subjects and plans for a more creative, theme-based, curriculum are underway.
The headteacher, staff team and governors know the school's strengths very well and what needs to improve further. Teamwork is excellent. All staff make a significant contribution to the school's relationships with the local community, which are excellent. The school's capacity to continue to improve is good because of the way, in the last two years, the role and input of the subject leaders has been so effectively developed. Their energy and enthusiasm are boundless. Their collaboration over reorganising the school's effective assessment and tracking systems is evident in the pupils' improved progress.
Achievement and standards
The pupils enter the school with standards that are below expectations for their age. Effective organisation and very careful assessments, enable pupils to make good progress immediately. Individual improvement targets and very good support consistently raise pupils' levels of achievement significantly. National test results in Year 6 in 2007 and in 2008 exceeded the school's carefully formulated and challenging targets. Achievement is good throughout the school due to the rigorous system in place that tracks the progress each pupil makes and identifies where additional teaching will be most beneficial. Although pupils do well in music and physical education due to the many opportunities they have to develop their sporting and musical talents, more able pupils in other subjects could achieve more. Pupils with learning difficulties make good progress overall. They are very well supported by the experienced support staff and have access to a curriculum that helps them all to achieve well. The many pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds and those who do not speak English as their first language receive excellent support and achieve outstandingly well.
Personal development and well-being
In St Mary's, each pupil is treated as a valued member of the school community and, as a result, their confidence and independence grow exceptionally well. Their spiritual, moral, social and cultural developments are outstanding. Pupils develop an excellent understanding of the different cultures through working so well together and their understanding of living in a culturally diverse Britain is very well developed. Pupils enjoy coming to school and their attendance has improved well to around the national average. Behaviour is exemplary. Pupils are polite and courteous to each other, to staff and to visitors. They develop an excellent understanding of healthy eating and know the importance of exercise and actively take part in a wide range of sports and other planned activities. Pupils participate in the life of the school and the local community very well. They take on their responsibilities as prefects, school councillors and as helpers around the school seriously and play a major role in making a difference. They welcome the many opportunities they have to contribute to the local community by organising fund raising for charities and taking part in local competitions. Their secure basic skills together with their very good interpersonal skills prepare them well for their future economic well-being.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Pupils achieve well because of the good teaching and pupils' high levels of motivation. Pupils see the value of education and work hard. The senior leaders have a good knowledge of the quality of teaching and their judgments are accurate. Teachers' planning of lessons is good, especially in mathematics where pupils work in ability groups and within these groups teachers provide work that is well matched to different needs. Teachers explain the purpose of lessons clearly and use questions skilfully to find out what pupils already know and how to build on this. The way key vocabulary for each lesson is explained so well, enables pupils, particularly those who are learning English as an additional language, to understand the concepts. The working atmosphere in classrooms is positive and so pupils are not afraid to ask for help when they are stuck. Most teachers mark and praise pupils' work and tell them what they need to do to further improve their work. However, this quality of marking varies from class to class.
Curriculum and other activities
The school curriculum is broad and balanced, with a strong emphasis on celebrating the rich cultural diversity that exists within the community. Great efforts are made by staff to ensure that all pupils are included in every aspect of school life. The school has rightly set its sights on developing the curriculum further to enable pupils to reach higher levels of achievement. Although, there are cross-curricular links that help to put learning in a more meaningful context, the enthusiastic curriculum leaders have accurately identified a need to make work even more relevant and appealing to the pupils. These links have yet to be developed sufficiently to enable teachers to make the most effective use of their teaching time. Well planned visits to museums, galleries and places of historical or geographical interest enrich the curriculum and there is good provision for after school sports, reinforcing the school's commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Care, guidance and support
Pupils' personal development is a high priority for the school and staff respond to pupils' concerns promptly. Relationships are very warm which contributes significantly to pupils' enjoyment of school. The school makes good use of outside agencies to support and guide pupils. Risk assessment is rigorous and parents are confident that their children are safe as one parent commented when reflecting on the views of most parents, 'The school cares about every pupil and their parents.' Child protection procedures are firmly established and all staff have received training. The school has implemented effective systems for setting targets and tracking pupils' progress that have improve standards well for most pupils. The needs of pupils who have learning difficulties and disabilities are identified quite early and intervention strategies to support their learning are effective. Needs of pupils from all minority ethnic groups are met very effectively. Pupils who are in the early stages of acquiring English are exceptionally well supported.
Leadership and management
The headteacher's leadership is excellent. All staff follow her lead and excellent teamwork is an aspect stressed by all in the school. The teaching assistants, administrative team and site manager are considerable assets to the school and are very much appreciated by all concerned. One way in which everyone follows the headteacher's exemplary lead is to relate extremely effectively with all pupils, parents and the local community. There is a high commitment to include all pupils, including the very many newcomers, in all activities and the care and concern for all pupils is given high priority.
The school's self evaluation is effective and there is a clear understanding of strengths of the school and areas that need more development. A comprehensive improvement plan shows the school's very challenging targets and provides clear guidance for raising standards. The opinions of parents and pupils are valued and acted upon well. The governors bring a wide range of skills to their role as critical friends. They shadow coordinators in order to hold the school to account and request explanations when necessary.
Middle management is very good due to the well-taken opportunities the school has provided for staff development. Since the last inspection, this has raised staff enthusiasm to a very high level and there are very effective systems in place to monitor pupils' progress and the quality of teaching and learning. As they have identified there is now the need to make sure the marking of pupils' work and the feedback they receive are consistent and as helpful as possible.
|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.|
|Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and grade 4 inadequate.||School Overall|
|How effective,efficient and inclusive is the provision of education,integrated care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?||2|
|Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last inspection||Yes|
|How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being?||2|
|The capacity to make any necessary improvements||2|
|How well do learners achieve?||2|
|The standards¹ reached by learners||3|
|How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between groups of learners||2|
|How well learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make progress||2|
|How good are the overall personal development and well-being of the learners?||1|
|The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||1|
|The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles||1|
|The extent to which learners adopt safe practices||1|
|The extent to which learners enjoy their education||1|
|The attendance of learners||3|
|The behaviour of learners||1|
|The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community||1|
|How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being||2|
|How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of learners' needs?||2|
|How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs and interests of learners?||2|
|How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?||2|
|How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement and supporting all learners?||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading to improvement and promote high quality of care and education||2|
|How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards||2|
|The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation||2|
|How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination eliminated||2|
|How well does the school contribute to community cohesion?||2|
|How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to achieve value for money||2|
|The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their responsibilities||2|
|Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government requirements?||Yes|
|Does this school require special measures?||No|
|Does this school require a notice to improve?||No|
22 September 2008
Inspection of St Mary's RC Junior School,Croydon,CR0 2EW
Thank you for making us so welcome when we visited you recently. You were all extremely polite and keen to talk to us about your work. We spent a lot of time looking at all we could about your school, and agree with what the School Council told us - St Mary's is a good school.
Some of the best things are.
I agree with what your parents told us about how good the school is. However, all the adults want it to be even better. We have asked the headteacher, the staff and governors to do these things.
You can help by continuing to work hard to meet your targets.
With best wishes for the future,