School etc

St Thomas' Church of England Primary School

St Thomas' Church of England Primary School
Huddersfield Road

phone: 01706 847093

headteacher: Mrs R Williams Ba (Hons) Qts Npqh


school holidays: via Rochdale council

153 pupils aged 4—10y mixed gender
147 pupils capacity: 104% full

85 boys 56%


70 girls 46%


Last updated: June 18, 2014

Primary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Religious character
Church of England
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 393903, Northing: 411715
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.602, Longitude: -2.0936
Accepting pupils
5—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Feb. 11, 2014
Diocese of Manchester
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › Rochdale › Milnrow and Newhey
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Rochdale

Schools nearby

  1. 0.4 miles Newhey Community Primary School OL164JX (259 pupils)
  2. 0.6 miles Hollingworth Business and Enterprise College OL163DR
  3. 0.6 miles Roch Valley High School OL163DR
  4. 0.6 miles Roughbank Farm OL163QH
  5. 0.6 miles Hollingworth Academy OL163DR (1195 pupils)
  6. 0.9 miles Milnrow Parish Church of England Primary School OL163JT (194 pupils)
  7. 1.1 mile Rushcroft Primary School OL27YL (205 pupils)
  8. 1.1 mile Crossgates Primary School OL163HB (274 pupils)
  9. 1.3 mile Buckstones Junior and Infant School OL28HN (208 pupils)
  10. 1.3 mile Moorhouse Primary School OL164DR (226 pupils)
  11. 1.4 mile St Mary's CofE Primary School High Crompton OL27PP (210 pupils)
  12. 1.4 mile Peppercorn OL163DA
  13. 1.5 mile Beal Vale Primary School OL27SY (191 pupils)
  14. 1.5 mile East Crompton St James CofE Primary School OL27TD (210 pupils)
  15. 1.5 mile East Crompton St George's CofE School OL28HG (155 pupils)
  16. 1.5 mile Crompton House CofE School OL27HS
  17. 1.5 mile The Croft OL28LU
  18. 1.5 mile The Crompton House Church of England Academy OL27HS (1319 pupils)
  19. 1.8 mile New Barn Junior School OL27BJ
  20. 1.8 mile New Barn Infant School OL27HD
  21. 1.8 mile Farrowdale House School OL27AD (87 pupils)
  22. 1.8 mile Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School, Rochdale OL164AW (228 pupils)
  23. 1.8 mile Springhill High School OL164XA
  24. 1.8 mile Kingsway Middle School OL164XA

List of schools in Rochdale

School report

St Thomas' Church of England Primary


Huddersfield Road, Newhey, Rochdale, Lancashire, OL16 3QZ

Inspection dates 11–12 February 2014
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous inspection: Satisfactory 3
Achievement of pupils Good 2
Quality of teaching Good 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils Good 2
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 and achieve well
Teaching is good or better in all classes and
Disabled pupils and those who have special

in both their personal and academic
development. By the end of Year 6 pupils are
achieving above average attainment in
reading, writing and mathematics.
the well-planned curriculum meets the needs
of pupils effectively.
educational needs, and the small number
entitled to support through pupil premium
funding, make similar progress to other pupils
because they receive a good level of
individual support with their learning.
Since the last inspection, leaders’, including
Pupils’ behaviour is good. Pupils like coming to
Parents are pleased with their children’s
Governors are proud of the school and are not
governors’, checks on classroom practice have
improved the quality of teaching which has
helped pupils to learn well and ensured
improved achievement of all groups of pupils.
school and say that they enjoy their learning.
They show a great deal of respect for others
and work hard in lessons.
education and how well they are cared for.
afraid to ask the staff challenging questions
about the quality of education the school
provides for pupils.
There are occasions when pupils are not clear
Teachers’ questioning does not always help
enough about what they are expected to
achieve in lessons and do not have enough
time to complete tasks.
pupils to think deeply about what they are
Teachers’ marking and verbal feedback to
Middle leaders are not skilled enough in using
pupils do not always help them to understand
what they have to do to improve their work.
Sometimes, pupils do not respond to the
assessment information to support their
monitoring of teaching and achievement.
Inspection report: St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 2 of 10

Information about this inspection

  • The inspector observed 11 lessons or part-lessons led by teachers, including a joint observation
    with the headteacher. He observed in all the classes, as well as groups of pupils supported
    outside the classroom.
  • The inspector spoke with a small group of parents and took account of the 36 responses to the
    online questionnaire (Parent View) as well as talking to parents informally during the inspection.
    The inspector took account of the school’s own parental surveys.
  • The inspector observed teaching in a number of short reading sessions at the start of the day.
    He listened to pupils in Years 2 and 6 read individually and met with a group of pupils.
  • The inspector spoke with four members of the governing body, including the Chair of the
    Governing Body, and to a representative of the local authority. He also spoke to school staff,
    including senior and subject leaders.
  • The school’s work was observed and the inspector looked at documentation, including policies
    relating to safeguarding and behaviour, information on pupils’ progress, attendance figures, the
    school’s improvement planning and records of checks carried out by leaders on the quality of
    teaching. He observed playtimes and lunchtimes, as well as looking at the school’s website.
  • Work in pupils’ books was reviewed during classroom observations and the inspector scrutinised,
    in detail, pupils’ books from Years 2 and 6.

Inspection team

Andrew Morley, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Inspection report: St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 3 of 10

Full report

Information about this school

  • This is a smaller than average-sized primary school.
  • Only a very small proportion of pupils are supported by the pupil premium. The pupil premium is
    additional government funding allocated to the school for pupils known to be eligible for free
    school meals, children of service families or those looked after by the local authority.
  • The proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs supported through
    school action is average.
  • The proportion of pupils supported at school action plus or with a statement of special
    educational needs is below average.
  • A lower than average proportion of pupils speaks English as an additional language.
  • Pupils are mainly classified as White British.
  • In 2013, the school met the current government floor standards, which are the minimum
    expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the quality of teaching and learning so that more is outstanding by:
    making sure that pupils are consistently clear about what they are expected to achieve in
    lessons and have more time to practise and reinforce what they are learning independently of
    their teachers
    giving pupils time during lessons to think about their learning and to respond to their teachers’
    suggestions on how their work might be improved further
    further developing teachers’ questioning skills to help the pupils think more deeply about their
    sharing the outstanding practice evident in teaching across the school.
  • Improve the quality of leadership and management by:
    ensuring that subject leaders use effectively all information about the progress of pupils and
    the quality of teaching and learning to enable even better monitoring of achievement and the
    quality of teaching.
Inspection report: St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 4 of 10

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • The majority of children start school in the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills typical of
    those expected for their age, but an increasing number have weaknesses in their language
    development. From these starting points, pupils make good progress throughout the school. By
    the end of Key Stage 2, they reach standards in reading, writing and mathematics which are
    improving and above the national average.
  • Children make good progress during the Early Years Foundation Stage. They establish good
    listening and cooperation skills as well as enjoying exploring and playing with a range of
    materials. They benefit from good space and resources as well as skilful teaching.
  • Pupils continue to make good progress across Key Stage 1. Standards in reading and writing
    have been consistently above average. Teachers have worked hard to ensure that mathematics
    is now at the same standard.
  • By the time they leave St Thomas, pupils are achieving standards of attainment which are above
    average in reading, writing and mathematics. This was clear from pupils’ work and from the
    school’s systems to track the progress of individual pupils in English and mathematics.
  • Taking account of their different starting points, the proportion of pupils making and exceeding
    expected progress in English and mathematics compares favourably with the national average.
    This represents good achievement.
  • Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs make good progress because of the
    additional support provided, particularly the small-group learning sessions.
  • The most able pupils are now also making good progress because of the high expectations of
    their teachers and their own motivation to succeed.
  • The progress of the very small number of minority ethnic pupils, especially those pupils who
    speak English as an additional language, is also good and reflects the effective level of care and
    support they receive from the school.
  • The additional funding for the small number of pupils who are eligible for support through the
    pupil premium is used well and provides good extra support for learning through small-group
    and one-to-one sessions. The attainment of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is
    in line with their peers in school in both English and mathematics and is better than their peers
    nationally in both.
  • Reading is given a high priority in school. Pupils enjoy reading and a large majority leave school
    as fluent, accurate and expressive readers.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Teachers have high expectations of the progress pupils are capable of making.
  • Teaching in all subjects, including in mathematics and English, is usually good with examples of
    outstanding practice. A majority of the teaching observed during the inspection was of a good
    standard; some was outstanding.
  • In the Early Years Foundation Stage, good provision ensures that children enjoy, and are
    motivated in, their learning. Adults take every opportunity to extend children’s language and
    numeracy skills by frequently asking them about the things that they are doing. Children make
    good use of the indoor and the outdoor spaces to develop children’s skills. An example of this
    was in a lesson in which the children had great fun and made good progress in exploring
  • Pupils’ learning is particularly strong when teachers have good subject knowledge and ensure
    they are engaged. In a mathematics lesson, pupils in Years 5 and 6 were extremely motivated
    and challenged to solve a problem using a whole range of mathematical concepts. Pupils
    cooperated well, helped each other, made outstanding progress and produced work of a high
    standard. The most able pupils concentrated well and responded eagerly to personal challenges
    such as working out higher-order number problems during the lesson and so reached their
Inspection report: St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 5 of 10
  • The teaching of reading is well supported by the regular teaching of letters and sounds, and
    extra support programmes are used effectively to support less able readers.
  • The teaching of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs, and also the small
    number of pupils who speak English as an additional language, is well planned and organised.
    The teacher with responsibility for these pupils is passionate about ensuring that they do well. A
    mixture of whole-class, small-group and individual sessions is used effectively to help these
    pupils make good progress.
  • The quality of teachers’ marking of pupils’ work in books varies. Some is of a good quality, but
    there are occasions when marking, and spoken feedback in lessons, do not always give pupils
    enough detail about what they need to do to improve their work. When good feedback is given,
    pupils do not consistently respond to this advice and this prevents them from making the best
    possible progress.
  • Most of the teaching makes sure that pupils know what it is that they are expected to learn
    within the lesson. However, this is not consistently the case. Sometimes, teachers’ questions are
    not specific enough to encourage pupils to think more deeply about what they are learning.
    Occasionally, pupils do not have enough time to complete the given work successfully, which
    slows their progress.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils are very polite and courteous. They show respect for
    others, for example, in the way they play together in the playground. In most lessons, pupils
    concentrate and stay involved in the activities they are given.
  • The school greatly benefits from the attitudes and maturity of the older pupils. They understand
    that they are role models for the younger children and take their responsibilities, including,
    ‘playground pals’ and ‘reading partners’ seriously. The `playground pals’ show great maturity in
    their role to ensure that younger children are looked after on the playground and around school.
  • The pupils further enhance the school in the way they take responsibility, such as being a
    member of the school council. Council members work well together and their determination to
    improve the school is exemplified by their detailed plans to improve the outdoor space.
  • Pupils have a good understanding of how to keep themselves and others safe and this is evident
    at lunchtime where children take great care in what is quite a small playground space. Pupils
    enjoy playtimes which are very happy and secure for all.
  • The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good. Safety is promoted effectively by the
    curriculum. The ‘internet safety day’, which was attended by both pupils and parents, was a
    wonderful experience, with all understanding the dangers and how to stay safe on the internet.
  • Pupils know about different kinds of bullying, such as physical bullying and name-calling, and say
    such instances are rare. Pupils with behavioural difficulties find it hard to act responsibly at
    times. However, they respond very positively to the school’s consistently applied rules and their
    behaviour has shown improvement over time.
  • Pupils are keen to achieve well. They often work purposefully and do not give up easily if the
    work is difficult. Their commitment is demonstrated by their learning logs, which they complete
    at home to a very high standard. They mostly listen carefully to their teachers but, when work is
    not demanding enough, their attention wavers.
  • Pupils’ enjoyment of St Thomas School is reflected in attendance that is above average. ‘We like
    our school because it’s fun and we get to do lots of sports and everyone is kind’, is a typical view
    of the pupils.
  • Parents are supportive of the school and those who responded to Parent View indicated that
    they are pleased with the behaviour of the pupils and how the school deals with bullying.
Inspection report: St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 6 of 10
The leadership and management are good
  • The headteacher has worked in partnership with all the pupils, staff, governors and parents to
    bring about the changes necessary from the last inspection and to provide the pupils with rich
    and varied experiences. This includes improvements to the way behaviour is managed, and the
    provision of a wide range of very well-attended lunchtime and after-school clubs. Ensuring that
    pupils achieve their potential is the biggest achievement and, more recently, there is evidence
    that all pupils are making faster progress.
  • Senior leaders know their school very well and identify accurately the priorities for improvement.
  • The school has developed effective systems to check the quality of teaching and uses the
    information well to ensure that teachers are provided with the training they require in order to
    improve their practice. Targets are set clearly and reviewed regularly. As a result, teaching and
    pupils’ achievement have improved since the last inspection. However, there is outstanding
    practice in the school which, as yet, is not used to its potential to improve teaching and learning
    in all classes.
  • Pupils’ progress is checked regularly. The progress of all pupils, including the most able and
    pupils with special educational needs, is looked at closely and those who fall behind the
    expected standard are given the help they need to catch up.
  • Middle leaders are beginning to take responsibility for checking the quality of teaching and
    pupils’ achievements in their subject, with the aim of helping staff to increase progress further.
    However, these middle leaders do not currently access enough information about pupils’
    achievement to help them maximise their impact on improving teaching and pupils’ progress.
  • The school promotes equality of opportunity successfully. This is demonstrated by the way that
    all groups of pupils make good progress. The curriculum follows a thematic approach linking
    subjects to areas of study. Pupils appreciate these links and there are good examples of writing
    across a range of subjects. The curriculum is enriched by a variety of extra-curricular clubs and
    educational visits.
  • There are many opportunities to broaden pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
    development. The varied programme of visits and trips and the links with outside organisations
    extend pupils’ cultural awareness well.
  • The school is engaged in a range of partnerships, such as the Rochdale Anglican Federation and
    the Pennine Cluster of Schools. These partnerships involve staff and pupils working on a range
    of school improvement initiatives that have supported improvements in teaching.
  • The primary school sports funding is used to provide specialist sports coaches to deliver physical
    education lessons alongside school staff and to provide extra sports equipment in school. Pupils
    and staff benefit from the extra professional development offered by specialist coaches. Parents
    are very appreciative of the success of this initiative.
  • Parents are increasingly involved in the school and appreciate the learning events which support
    them in helping their children with their learning. They greatly appreciated the ‘internet safety
  • The local authority offers light touch support as a result of its confidence in the school’s
  • All safeguarding requirements are met and health and safety are priorities within the school.
  • The governance of the school:
    Governors are very committed to the school and its success and have a thorough knowledge
    of its strengths and areas for development. This is achieved through their regular visits to the
    school and the good information they receive about its performance. They support and
    challenge the school in equal measure so that there is a sharp focus on pupils’ achievement.
    They carefully monitor how effectively leaders use the pupil premium funding to support
    Members of the governing body undertake training, for example, in data analysis, and this
    means that they are able to question school leaders knowledgeably about teaching quality.
    Governors fulfil their statutory duties well, carefully assess the headteacher’s performance
    annually and, increasingly, link salary progression to teachers’ performance. They know what
    the school is doing to tackle any underperformance.
Inspection report: St Thomas' Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 7 of 10
Inspection report: St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 8 of 10

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 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.

Inspection report: St Thomas’ Church of England Primary School, 11–12 February 2014 9 of 10

School details

Unique reference number 105824
Local authority Rochdale
Inspection number 430988

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 5–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 153
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Emerson Whitworth
Headteacher Rebecca Williams
Date of previous school inspection 7 March 2012
Telephone number 01706 847093
Fax number 01706 847093
Email address reveal email: h…


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