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St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, Colchester Closed - academy converter May 31, 2012

see new St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, Colchester

St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, Colchester
Priory Street

01206 *** ***

Headteacher: Ms Bridget Harris


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Primary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
Close date
May 31, 2012
Reason closed
Academy Converter
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 600245, Northing: 225183
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.889, Longitude: 0.9085
Accepting pupils
4—11 years old
Ofsted last inspection
May 15, 2008
Diocese of Brentwood
Region › Const. › Ward
East of England › Colchester › Castle
Urban > 10k - less sparse

Rooms & flats to rent in Colchester

Schools nearby

  1. St Mary's Convent School CO12QB
  2. St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, Colchester CO12QB (211 pupils)
  3. 0.2 miles St James' Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School CO12RA (369 pupils)
  4. 0.5 miles St John's Green Primary School CO27HE (269 pupils)
  5. 0.6 miles Donyland Lodge CO12HS (3 pupils)
  6. 0.6 miles The Sixth Form College Colchester CO11SN
  7. 0.7 miles St George's New Town Junior School CO27RU (324 pupils)
  8. 0.7 miles St George's Infant School and Nursery CO27RW (320 pupils)
  9. 0.7 miles North Primary School and Nursery CO11RP (416 pupils)
  10. 0.8 miles Colchester High School CO33HD (453 pupils)
  11. 0.9 miles St Anne's Primary School and Nursery CO40DT
  12. 0.9 miles Kendall Church of England Primary School CO12HH (183 pupils)
  13. 0.9 miles Colchester Royal Grammar School CO33ND
  14. 0.9 miles St Helena School CO33LE
  15. 0.9 miles Oxford House School CO33NE (156 pupils)
  16. 0.9 miles Colchester Institute CO33LL
  17. 0.9 miles Willow Brook Primary School and Nursery CO40DT (245 pupils)
  18. 0.9 miles Colchester Royal Grammar School CO33ND (846 pupils)
  19. 0.9 miles St Helena School CO33LE (866 pupils)
  20. 0.9 miles Willow Brook Primary School and Nursery CO40DT
  21. 1.1 mile Hamilton Primary School CO33GB (421 pupils)
  22. 1.1 mile Greenstead, St Andrew's Nursery and Infant School CO43QJ (251 pupils)
  23. 1.1 mile St Andrew's Junior School CO43QJ (178 pupils)
  24. 1.1 mile Unity Academy CO43QJ

List of schools in Colchester

Ofsted report transcript

St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School

Inspection report

115205Unique Reference Number
EssexLocal Authority
311877Inspection number
15 May 2008Inspection date
Godfrey BancroftReporting inspector

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

PrimaryType of school
Voluntary aidedSchool category
411Age range of pupils
MixedGender of pupils

Number on roll

The governing bodyAppropriate authority
Mr Simon FenningChair
Mrs Bridget HarrisHeadteacher
13 June 2005Date of previous school inspection
Priory StreetSchool address
01206 865722Telephone number
01206868745Fax number

4-11Age group
15 May 2008Inspection date
311877Inspection number


© Crown copyright 2008
This document may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial educational purposes, provided that
the information quoted is reproduced without adaptation and the source and date of publication are stated.
Further copies of this report are obtainable from the school. Under the Education Act 2005, the school must
provide a copy of this report free of charge to certain categories of people. A charge not exceeding the full cost
of reproduction may be made for any other copies supplied.

Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008


The inspection was carried out by one Additional Inspector
The Inspector evaluated the overall effectiveness of the school and investigated the following

  • the ability of the school to sustain the current pattern of improvements in standards and in
    pupils' progress

  • the impact of recently introduced measures to enhance the curriculum and make pupils'
    learning more meaningful

  • the role of governors in evaluating the quality of the school's work and in holding it to

Evidence was gathered from observations of lessons, sampling of pupils' work, the analysis of
school documentation and discussions with pupils, staff and governors. Other aspects of the
school's work were not investigated in detail, but the inspector found no evidence to suggest
that the school's own assessments, as given in its self-evaluation, were not justified, and these
have been included where appropriate in this report.

Description of the school

This is an average sized primary school. It caters for pupils who are mainly from Catholic families

across a relatively wide area around Colchester. Children's attainment on entry to the Reception
class is close to that expected for their age. The percentage of pupils eligible for a free school
meal is well below that found nationally. The percentage of pupils from minority ethnic groups
and the percentage who speak English as an additional language are broadly average. The
percentage of pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities is below average.

The school has gained the following awards: Activemark, Artsmark, Basic Skills, Healthy Schools,

Inclusion Mark and Investors in People.

Key for inspection grades

OutstandingGrade 1
GoodGrade 2
SatisfactoryGrade 3
InadequateGrade 4

3 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

Overall effectiveness of the school

Grade: 1

This is an outstanding school. It is popular, over-subscribed and highly regarded by the
community it serves. One parent, summing up the overwhelmingly positive views of many,
commented 'I cannot praise the school enough. It has high standards and my children say
learning is fun'.

Pupils achieve exceptionally well. Over recent years, the results of national tests reveal a picture

of rising standards and pupils who make excellent progress. Pupils, who for a variety of reasons,
sometimes find learning difficult, also make exceptional progress. The same applies to those
who are learning English as a second language. This is because the school is vigilant at
recognising any pupil who might be at risk of falling behind and staff intervene promptly to
ensure that progress is maintained. Teachers are also exceedingly good at challenging those
pupils who learn quickly. Consequently, at the end of Year 2, standards in reading, writing and
mathematics are above average. Standards, by the end of Year 6, in English, mathematics and
science are consistently well above average, and exceptionally high in some years. The school
sets very challenging, but realistic, targets for attainment, showing the current trend of rising

standards is on course to be maintained. Pupils' academic success and their exceptional personal

development are based on the outstanding care, guidance and support the school provides.
Procedures to ensure that pupils are safe and well cared for are robust. In turn, the outstanding
leadership of the headteacher, who provides the school with a very clear sense of direction and
purpose and has brought together a hard working and extremely effective team of staff,
underpin the school's success.

Pupils' personal development and well-being, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural

development are outstanding. Attendance is broadly average. Whilst a few parents continue
to take their children on holiday during term time, the school is doing all it can to improve
attendance. Behaviour in lessons and around the school is exemplary. Pupils flourish both
academically and socially. As one pupil, who was typical of many said, 'I just love everything
about my school'. Pupils' spiritual development is enhanced by close links with the Catholic
Church and by excellent opportunities to participate in the creative arts, including dance and
musical activities. Pupils know how to stay safe and are knowledgeable about the importance
of taking regular exercise and the need to eat healthily. The high standards they attain in
English, mathematics and information and communication technology (ICT) mean pupils are
prepared exceptionally well for the next stage of their education and to face future challenges.
Teaching and learning are outstanding and the school provides a base for training teachers
who are new to the profession. A significant amount of exemplary teaching was seen during
the inspection. Lessons are planned with great care to meet the needs of the full range of
abilities in each class. The promotion of pupils' speaking and listening skills, often through the
superb use of drama, is a very positive feature of many lessons. Relationships between pupils
and adults are exemplary. Pupils clearly enjoy their lessons and are very eager learners. They
appreciate the ways in which teachers make lessons interesting. Pupils' progress is assessed
accurately and marking provides them with helpful information about how to improve their
work. Whilst marking is good, it does not always link advice for improvement closely enough
to pupils' targets. Arrangements to track pupils' progress over longer periods and to keep them
and their parents and carers informed about the progress they are making are excellent.

4 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

The curriculum is outstanding and an exceptional range of additional activities and after-school

clubs enhances pupils' learning. Even so, the school has introduced a series of initiatives to link
pupils' learning and promote their understanding across different subjects through topics and
themes. It has done this with great success. Music, sport and performances have a high profile
in the life of the school and give great pleasure to pupils and their families.
Leadership and management, including the work of governors, are outstanding. Governors are
involved fully in monitoring and evaluating the quality of provision and are very knowledgeable
about the work of the school. Procedures to analyse the performance of the school and to

identify any areas in need of improvement are accurate and robust. Senior and middle managers

also contribute very well to these procedures and the school is further developing the role of
recently appointed subject leaders. Even so, the evaluation of initiatives in the development

plan is not linked closely enough to the school's targets to raise attainment and further improve

pupils' progress. Arrangements to consult with pupils and with parents and carers about the
quality of provision and to respond to their views are good.

The school has addressed the issues identified at the time of the last inspection very successfully,

to the extent that the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance
pupils' learning in all subjects is outstanding. The school is not in any way complacent about
the quality of education it provides. Given the pattern of improving standards and the impact
of the work of the headteacher and senior managers, the school's capacity for continued
improvement is outstanding.

Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage

Grade: 1

Children in the Reception class make outstanding progress in all areas of their learning. They

are eager and independent learners, who behave very well, and benefit greatly from exceptional

teaching and a very effective curriculum. The recently introduced scheme to help children speak

correctly and develop their writing skills is building very effectively on their early language
skills. Consequently, children's progress in language and literacy is excellent. By the time they
leave the Reception class, children's attainment, in all areas of their learning, exceeds that
expected for their age. Learning activities are carefully tailored to meet children's individual
needs. This is because the progress of each child is assessed accurately and frequently.

Consequently, teachers are able to modify what they teach in the light of assessment outcomes.

Teachers and their assistants also provide a very effective balance for children between activities

that are directed by adults and others in which children can make choices about what they wish
to do. The school is currently exploring ways of making even more use of the outdoor

environment to enhance children's learning, particularly in terms of their physical development.

What the school should do to improve further

  • Relate the advice that marking provides for pupils about how to improve their work more
    closely to their targets.

  • Create stronger links between the evaluation of initiatives in the school development plan
    and the data available for measuring standards and pupil's progress.
    5 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008


Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out
in the guidance 'Complaints about school inspection', which is available from Ofsted’s website:

6 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

Inspection judgements


Key to judgements: grade 1 is outstanding, grade 2 good, grade 3 satisfactory, and
grade 4 inadequate

Overall effectiveness


How effective, efficient and inclusive is the provision of education, integrated
care and any extended services in meeting the needs of learners?


Effective steps have been taken to promote improvement since the last


How well does the school work in partnership with others to promote learners'

1The effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
1The capacity to make any necessary improvements

Achievement and standards

1How well do learners achieve?

The standards


reached by learners


How well learners make progress, taking account of any significant variations between

groups of learners

1How well learners with learning difficulties and disabilities make progress

Personal development and well-being


How good is the overall personal development and well-being of the

1The extent of learners' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
2The extent to which learners adopt healthy lifestyles
1The extent to which learners adopt safe practices
1How well learners enjoy their education
3The attendance of learners
1The behaviour of learners
1The extent to which learners make a positive contribution to the community

How well learners develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to
their future economic well-being

The quality of provision


How effective are teaching and learning in meeting the full range of the
learners' needs?


How well do the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs
and interests of learners?

1How well are learners cared for, guided and supported?


Grade 1 - Exceptionally and consistently high; Grade 2 - Generally above average with none significantly

below average; Grade 3 - Broadly average to below average; Grade 4 - Exceptionally low.

7 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

Annex A

Leadership and management


How effective are leadership and management in raising achievement
and supporting all learners?


How effectively leaders and managers at all levels set clear direction leading
to improvement and promote high quality of care and education

1How effectively leaders and managers use challenging targets to raise standards
1The effectiveness of the school's self-evaluation

How well equality of opportunity is promoted and discrimination tackled so
that all learners achieve as well as they can


How effectively and efficiently resources, including staff, are deployed to
achieve value for money


The extent to which governors and other supervisory boards discharge their


Do procedures for safeguarding learners meet current government

NoDoes this school require special measures?
NoDoes this school require a notice to improve?

8 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

Annex A

Text from letter to pupils explaining the findings of the inspection

16 May 2008
Dear Pupils
Inspection of St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, Colchester,Essex, CO1 2QB
You may recall I recently visited your school to check if it was working effectively. Many of you
and your parents and carers told me you think your school is excellent. I agree, it is a superb
school. I was very impressed by your willingness to explain about your work and to tell me how
much you enjoy lessons and the many other activities available to you.
Your teachers and the other staff all do an outstanding job, which helps you to make rapid
progress and do very well in all subjects. The excellent help provided for those of you who
sometimes find learning hard means that you too can always do your best. Your behaviour is
exceptionally good and your willingness to work hard is most impressive. What comes over is

that being a pupil at St Thomas More's is great fun. I thought your eagerness to answer questions

and to participate in the drama activities was brilliant.
Mrs Harris, the staff and governors all work very hard and very successfully, to make sure
everything at school works as well as it should. Even so, they are always looking for ways of
making things even better. With this in mind, I have asked them to consider:

  • making sure that when they mark your work, they include advice about how to meet your

  • when they plan school improvements, they evaluate their success by looking closely at how
    they have helped you to make progress.

I am confident that with your love of learning you will continue to do well in the future.
Yours sincerely
Godfrey Bancroft
Lead inspector

9 of 9Inspection Report: St Thomas More's Catholic Primary School, 15 May 2008

Annex B

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