St Thomas Moorside CofE (VA) Primary School
phone: 0161 6249290
headteacher: Mr Adam Laskey
210 pupils capacity: 86% full
85 boys 47%
100 girls 55%
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: 395167, Northing: 407845
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.567, Longitude: -2.0744
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Diocese of Manchester
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Oldham East and Saddleworth › St James'
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- 0.3 miles Our Lady's RC Primary School OL42NE
- 0.4 miles Hodge Clough Junior School OL14JX
- 0.4 miles Hodge Clough Primary School OL14JX (392 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Hodge Clough Infant and Nursery School OL14JW
- 0.6 miles Hill Top Community Special School OL42LZ
- 0.7 miles Counthill School OL42PY
- 1 mile Watersheddings Primary School OL14HU (241 pupils)
- 1 mile East Crompton St George's CofE School OL28HG (155 pupils)
- 1 mile St Joseph's RC Junior Infant and Nursery School OL28SZ (244 pupils)
- 1 mile Kingsland School OL14HX (46 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Sacred Heart RC Junior Infant and Nursery School OL14NA
- 1.1 mile Farrowdale House School OL27AD (87 pupils)
- 1.1 mile St. Theresa's OL14NA (170 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Buckstones Junior and Infant School OL28HN (208 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Stoneleigh Primary School OL14LJ
- 1.2 mile East Crompton St James CofE Primary School OL27TD (210 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Royton and Crompton School OL26NT (1166 pupils)
- 1.2 mile The Croft OL28LU
- 1.2 mile Waterhead Academy OL43NY (1286 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Stoneleigh Academy OL14LJ (196 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Littlemoor Primary School OL42RR (315 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Blackshaw Lane Primary & Nursery School OL26NT (220 pupils)
- 1.3 mile New Barn Junior School OL27BJ
- 1.3 mile Beal Vale Primary School OL27SY (191 pupils)
St Thomas Moorside CofE (VA)
Coleridge Road, Sholver, Oldham, Lancashire, OL1 4RL
|Inspection dates||23–24 June 2015|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Outstanding||1|
|Leadership and management||Outstanding||1|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Quality of teaching||Outstanding||1|
|Achievement of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Early years provision||Outstanding||1|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is an outstanding school.
| This is an exceptionally happy and caring school |
Children get off to a flying start in the early years.
Pupils continue to build on this excellent
Teachers plan work that is challenging and
The school’s new marking policy encourages
where, as one parent commented, ‘They always
go the extra mile to help.’ All pupils are valued
and respected, expectations of what they can
achieve are high and pupils are helped to believe
in themselves. Parents are overwhelmingly
supportive of the school.
Adults get to know the children quickly, are
sensitive to their needs and interests, and plan
exciting activities so that children are eager to
foundation throughout Key Stages 1 and 2. All
groups of pupils make rapid progress, which is
continuing to accelerate.
extremely well matched to pupils’ different needs.
Highly skilled and experienced teaching assistants
play a very valuable role in supporting pupils’
learning. Pupils say that teachers make lessons
‘fun and interesting’.
pupils to reflect on their learning, as well as
receiving and responding to specific written
guidance from teachers. On occasion, however,
the new policy is not fully implemented.
| Pupils feel extremely safe, secure and well looked |
The curriculum is exceptionally well organised. It
The executive headteacher and head of school
Governors know the school extremely well and are
There is no hint of complacency in this school.
after. They behave very well at all times and are
unfailingly polite and considerate towards each
other and adults. They take considerable pride in
their work and are keen to do well.
provides a range of rich experiences which develop
pupils’ understanding of the world around them and
prepares them very well for life in modern Britain.
Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development is strong.
provide inspirational leadership. They lead by
example and ensure that leaders at all levels have
the skills and confidence they need in order to fulfil
their roles. Staff morale is high and teamwork
between staff at all levels is key to this school’s
regularly involved in school life. They provide strong
support for leaders within the school but also ask
challenging questions. This has contributed
significantly to improvements, particularly in pupils’
achievement and in the quality of teaching, since
the last inspection.
Leaders, staff and governors are committed to and
successful in doing the very best for all the pupils in
their care. The school is well placed to continue
Information about this inspection
- The inspectors observed teaching and learning in all classes, including three observations carried out
jointly with the executive headteacher. They observed the teaching of reading skills and listened to pupils
read. The inspectors also observed teaching in small support groups. Together with senior leaders, they
looked at examples of pupils’ work to gain a view of teaching and learning over time.
- The inspectors held meetings with pupils, staff, members of the governing body and a representative from
the local authority. They observed and talked with pupils at lunchtimes and during their break times.
- The inspectors spoke with parents informally before and after school, and as they came into school with
their children in the early years classes. They took account of the school’s own surveys of parents’ views,
one letter from a parent and of the 20 questionnaires returned by staff. There were no published
responses to the Ofsted online questionnaire (Parent View).
- The inspectors looked at a range of documents, including the school’s most recent data on pupils’
attainment and progress across the school, the school’s own view of its effectiveness and its plans for
improvement. They also considered information relating to checks on the quality of teaching.
- In addition, the inspectors looked at arrangements for safeguarding pupils and at records relating to
attendance and behaviour.
|Christine Potter, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Stephen Helm||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- The school is smaller than the average-sized primary school, although the number of pupils on roll is
- Most pupils are of White British heritage.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is above average.
- The proportion of disadvantaged pupils, those eligible for support through the pupil premium, is well
above average. The pupil premium is additional government funding to support pupils known to be eligible
for free school meals and children who are looked after by the local authority.
- The early years provision comprises a Nursery class and a Reception class. Children attend both of these
on a full-time basis.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum expectations for
pupils’ attainment and progress in reading, writing and mathematics by the end of Year 6.
- The school provides a breakfast club for pupils.
- The school is federated with East Crompton St James’ CE Primary School. There is a joint governing body
and a shared executive headteacher. St Thomas Moorside is run a on a day-to-day basis by a head of
school. The current soft federation will change to a hard federation on 1 July 2015.
- A children’s centre is located on the same site. This provision is subject to a separate inspection and a
separate report can be found on the Ofsted website.
- The school has Gold Accreditation in Investors in People.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Fully implement the new marking policy, in order to improve teaching even further, by ensuring that:
pupils always respond in a timely manner to specific written guidance from teachers about how to
improve their work
pupils’ own written comments indicate more precisely how they feel about the work that they have
|The leadership and management||are outstanding|
- The executive headteacher, ably supported by the head of school, provides very strong leadership. They
share an ambitious vision for the school, which is demonstrated by the whole-school belief that every
teacher will perform to the highest standards and that all pupils will do as well as they possibly can. All
staff are committed to continuous school improvement. They work together enthusiastically and highly
effectively to secure pupils’ outstanding achievement.
- Leadership is successfully shared across different levels. The executive headteacher and head of school
have been keen to develop the leadership potential of other staff and there is now a strong team of
middle leaders. Their actions have had a significant impact on improvements since the last inspection,
such as in raising standards in writing across the school. Leaders value the incisive contributions of all
staff to school improvement planning.
- Senior leaders have taken very effective action to eliminate weaker teaching and to ensure that, overall,
its quality is outstanding. Rigorous systems are in place to check the quality of teaching on a regular basis.
Detailed feedback when lessons are observed, a wealth of training opportunities for teachers and support
staff, and the chance to work together, both within school and with the federated school, ensure that
teaching continues to improve.
- The school’s systems for checking pupils’ progress are highly effective and leaders know precisely how
well individual pupils are doing. Teachers and support staff all contribute to regular pupil progress
meetings and make decisions about how best to support pupils who are not doing as well as they should.
- Parents who completed the school’s survey, together with those who spoke to inspectors, were almost
unanimous in their praise and appreciation of the school. ‘I would not want them to go anywhere else,’
was typical of their comments. Parents love the fact that staff know their children so well and support
them all, whatever their needs. Weekly class newsletters keep them well informed about what their
children are doing in school and what they should be doing at home. Holiday projects, such as building
model castles, engage them successfully in their children’s learning.
- The well-planned curriculum, while retaining a strong focus on ensuring that pupils acquire the necessary
basic skills, brings subjects together into topics that engage pupils’ interests very successfully. Pupils have
frequent opportunities to practise and develop their literacy, numeracy and information and
communication technology skills in other subjects and in meaningful contexts.
- The school promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral and social development exceptionally well. Pupils have many
opportunities to work together and reflect on their beliefs and those of others. During the inspection,
pupils in the school choir listened thoughtfully to one another and performed sensitively together. Pupils
are keen to support local and national charities. As one pupil said during a Key Stage 1 assembly, ‘If you
can help someone else, then you should help them.’
- Good relations are fostered extremely well by the school. Pupils clearly respect each other and say that,
whatever someone’s culture or beliefs, ‘You should always treat someone as you like to be treated.’
Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated in the school. Pupils develop an excellent understanding of
British values. They democratically elect school prefects and learn about the importance of laws within
wider society. They are therefore very well prepared for life in modern Britain.
- The school makes very good use of the additional funding to support disadvantaged pupils. Additional
support for eligible pupils means that they can take part in all aspects of school life and make the same
rapid progress as other pupils. Leaders ensure that special provision is available for disabled pupils and
those who have special educational needs. This, and the fact that all groups of pupils make outstanding
progress, demonstrates leaders’ excellent promotion of equality of opportunity.
- The primary school sport funding is used well. A specialist coach provides regular sport and physical
education lessons for pupils of all ages. Additional after-school activities have increased the numbers of
pupils participating in a variety of sports, from street dance to athletics. Pupils have been able to take part
in adventurous outdoor sports, including rock climbing and ghyll scrambling, all of which have improved
their confidence and social skills, as well as contributing to their health and well-being.
- The school currently receives ‘light touch’ support from the local authority. Leaders have facilitated
support from independent consultants, who work very successfully to secure ongoing school improvement.
The strong partnership with the federated school enables both schools to share resources, ideas and best
- Arrangements for safeguarding fully meet requirements. There are very clear policies and procedures in
place and case studies demonstrate how highly successful these are when there are any safeguarding
concerns. Leaders monitor training records closely to make sure that staff and governors are trained to
the appropriate levels.
- The governance of the school:
Governors provide very effective support and challenge for the school to ensure its continuing success.
They are linked to classes and, therefore, gain first-hand information on teaching and learning. They
receive detailed and clearly presented information about pupils’ achievement, and demonstrate a very
good understanding of the school’s performance data. Governors are keen to ensure that all pupils
achieve as well as they should and that the quality of the school’s work is of a consistently high
standard. They are extremely proud of the school and its role in the community.
Governors ensure that teachers are held accountable for the progress pupils make, and that
arrangements for deciding on any increases in salaries are based firmly on the effectiveness of their
teaching and their contribution to wider school life. Governors have a sound grasp on school finances.
They are particularly keen to ensure that the pupil premium funding is used wisely and has an impact
on the progress of eligible pupils. They check rigorously that pupils are kept safe and secure in school.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- The behaviour of pupils is outstanding.
- The school is a very happy place. Pupils are friendly, polite and considerate; they behave extremely well
around school, both when working and playing. Their excellent attitudes to learning and the pride that
they take in their work strongly contribute to their outstanding achievement.
- Pupils know that they are respected and valued as individuals and, in return, respect and value others.
They eagerly take on responsibilities, such as emptying the recycling bins or preparing equipment for
morning fitness sessions. Breakfast monitors at the school’s breakfast club take their role very seriously
and are particularly helpful towards the younger pupils. Pupils are proud of their contribution to school life.
- There are clear systems in place so that pupils understand the consequences of their actions. They quickly
learn how important it is to take responsibility for their own behaviour and value the rewards that they
receive for behaving well. They admit that just occasionally, if they are ‘in a really bad mood’, they might
fall out with one another and might call each other names. However, they say that they are usually able to
sort these minor problems out themselves and good relations are soon restored.
- The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding.
- Pupils say that they feel absolutely safe in school and that, as pupils commented, ‘All the adults look after
us and are really kind.’ Parents unanimously agree that the school keeps their children very safe. Pupils
have an excellent understanding of how to keep themselves safe, including when using the internet or
mobile phones. The school goes to great lengths to develop pupils’ confidence, resilience and
independence so that they are well prepared for transfer to high school.
- Pupils demonstrate an excellent understanding of different types of bullying and know that it is not
tolerated in school. They know that persistently excluding someone from their group is a form of bullying.
They understand exactly what steps to take, should they feel that they are being bullied, and are totally
confident that it would be dealt with promptly and effectively.
- The school works tirelessly to promote good attendance. The school effectively supports specific pupils
and their families in order to help pupils attend regularly and on time. Attendance has therefore improved
significantly and is now broadly average.
- The school’s breakfast club is popular and well attended, both by pupils and their parents. It provides a
calm, positive start to the school day and ensures that pupils are able to have a healthy breakfast. Staff,
including the head of school, are on hand to chat to parents. The club has contributed to the
improvements in attendance.
|The quality of teaching||is outstanding|
- Work in pupils’ books, the school’s assessment information and records of checks carried out on teaching,
all indicate that the quality of teaching over time is outstanding.
- There are excellent relationships between adults and pupils. Adults have high expectations of what pupils
can achieve. The praise and encouragement that pupils receive mean that they develop the confidence to
have a go at increasingly challenging work and to learn from their mistakes. From an early stage, pupils
learn the importance of setting their work out neatly and taking pride in what they do.
- Well-established classroom routines, careful planning and the efficient organisation of resources mean that
lessons flow smoothly and no learning time is wasted. Pupils’ work builds highly successfully on their prior
learning and is well matched to their different needs and abilities.
- The recently introduced ‘must, should and could’ learning targets, used consistently across the school,
raise pupils’ aspirations and provide them with challenging goals at different levels. Clear explanations and
teachers’ demonstrations help pupils to understand precisely what is expected of them. Ongoing checks in
lessons and questioning that enables pupils to explain their thinking mean that misunderstandings are
corrected quickly and progress is accelerated.
- Reading skills are taught extremely well across the school. Pupils become confident readers at an early
stage because of the very systematic way that phonics (the sounds that letters make) is taught. They
quickly learn that it is important to understand what they are reading. Older pupils study texts more
closely and learn to draw conclusions based on their reading. Pupils in a mixed Years 3 and 4 class, for
example, were exploring how evidence from direct speech and tone of voice could be used to back up the
inferences that they were making.
- The teaching of writing has improved significantly since the last inspection. Good links are made between
the texts that pupils read and their writing in a range of styles and for different purposes across the
curriculum. Pupils are challenged to include varied sentence structure and extend their vocabulary. For
example, Year 2 pupils developed their use of different adjectives to improve their persuasive writing.
They were further challenged to explain how their writing could be made even better by using different
- The school’s detailed calculation policy means that there is a consistent approach to teaching basic skills in
mathematics. Pupils’ mathematical understanding is deepened successfully as they apply these skills to
solving problems in a broad range of different contexts. Pupils in Year 5 and 6, for example, were
constructing pie charts based on their project on endangered species and were using the information to
consider deeper questions concerning man’s role in conservation.
- Teaching assistants are highly skilled and experienced. They provide extremely valuable support for pupils’
learning, particularly when teaching individuals and small groups. They know the pupils and their needs
well and plan activities carefully so that they are all helped to make rapid progress.
- Teachers mark pupils’ work regularly and praise their efforts and achievements. However, the school’s
new marking policy is not yet fully implemented by all teachers. For example, sometimes pupils do not
have the opportunity to respond in a timely manner to teachers’ specific guidance on how to make their
work better. Pupils’ own comments do not always identify precisely enough how they feel about the work
they have done.
|The achievement of pupils||is outstanding|
- The school’s data and work in pupils’ books demonstrate that they make rapid and sustained progress
from their starting points in reading, writing and mathematics in all year groups across the school.
- The small numbers of pupils in Year 6 over recent years means that their attainment varies. Published
data for 2014 and the school’s data for 2015 show that almost all pupils make the progress that is
expected of them across Key Stage 2. The proportion of pupils who make more than expected progress is
consistently high. Most pupils reach the standards expected for their age by the end of Key Stage 2 and
an increasing proportion are doing better than this. Progress in writing has accelerated particularly quickly
since pupils have had more opportunities to write in different subjects across the curriculum.
- The most able pupils make outstanding progress overall and achieve high standards at the end of both
Key Stages 1 and 2. This is because the work they are given challenges them well, helps them to deepen
their understanding and accelerates their progress. For example, in mathematics, the most able pupils are
regularly given problems and investigations that involve several steps and processes.
- The proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in the Year 1 screening check on phonics in 2014
was above average and is expected to be even higher this year. Almost all of those pupils currently in Year
2 who did not reach the standard last year are expected to do so this year.
- Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs make excellent progress from their
individual starting points, taking account of their often complex needs. This is because of the extremely
well-structured and highly personalised teaching and support that they receive.
- There were too few disadvantaged pupils in Year 6 in 2014 to make comparisons with other pupils without
identifying individual pupils. The school’s own data show that disadvantaged pupils in all year groups
make progress which is similar to, or better than, that of other pupils. Gaps are closing extremely rapidly.
|The early years provision||is outstanding|
- The overwhelming majority of children enter the early years with skills and understanding below those
typical for their age. A small proportion has significant special educational needs. Children are looked after
extremely well, their skills are carefully assessed and routines are quickly established. Children who need
extra help are identified early so that they get the support that they need to do well.
- Most children make rapid progress from starting points below those typical for their age, particularly in
communication, language and social skills. This is because of the outstanding teaching and the highly
individual support that children receive. Adults model language and engage children in conversation at
every opportunity. They constantly ask children questions which help them to express their ideas and
feelings. There is a strong emphasis on developing the personal skills and attitudes which will provide a
firm basis for children’s future learning.
- The proportion of children reaching a good level of development at the end of the Reception class in 2014
was below average. This was partly due to the high number of children with special educational needs in
this group who, nevertheless, made outstanding progress from their starting points. However, standards
are rising and this year the proportion is expected to be closer to average. Children are, therefore,
increasingly well prepared for Year 1.
- The early years areas buzz with activity as children move confidently and independently between different
tasks. Everywhere there are smiling faces and children’s enjoyment and enthusiasm for learning are clear.
They are eager to chat about what they are doing.
- Activities, both indoors and outdoors, are very carefully planned. All the adults are involved in this
planning, which is based extremely effectively on their ongoing assessment of children’s interests and
developing skills. Children in the Nursery class were excitedly searching for the pirate’s jewels, which they
counted and then matched to numerals. The most able children were challenged to write the numerals
and identify ‘one more than’ the number they had found. Children in the Reception class were expected to
use their reading skills to follow clues in their hunt for the pirate’s belongings.
- There are particularly good opportunities for children to develop their skills in information and
communication technology. Children had designed their own treasure map and were programming toys to
travel in different directions. Others were using hand-held computers to read codes and find out more
- Leadership in the early years is outstanding. Staff work exceptionally well together as a team, sharing
information about children’s progress on a daily basis and adapting what they do to meet children’s needs.
Beautifully presented learning journals provide a clear record of children’s progress. There is a clear,
shared vision for developing and improving the provision further.
- Parents are encouraged from the start to be involved in their children’s learning. They thoroughly
appreciate being able to come into school with their children at the beginning of the school day. They
enjoy the chance to talk to the staff and to see how well their children are doing.
- Children behave extremely well. They love the opportunity to carry out responsibilities such as collecting
whiteboards. They clearly feel very safe and secure. There are excellent procedures in place to ensure
children are kept safe, including rigorous checks on equipment and thorough risk assessments of all
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
|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
|Unique reference number||105695|
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||203|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||2 May 2012|
|Telephone number||0161 624 9290|
|Fax number||0161 620 4706|