School etc

St Vincent's Catholic Primary School

St Vincent's Catholic Primary School
Hammersmith Gardens
Houghton Regis

phone: 01582 862456

headteacher: Mrs C M Lake


school holidays: via Central Bedfordshire council

224 pupils aged 2—10y mixed gender
210 pupils capacity: 107% full

110 boys 49%


115 girls 51%


Last updated: June 19, 2014

Primary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 502427, Northing: 224295
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.908, Longitude: -0.51246
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Sept. 26, 2013
Diocese of Northampton
Region › Const. › Ward
East of England › South West Bedfordshire › Parkside
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Free school meals %

rooms to rent in Dunstable

Schools nearby

  1. 0.3 miles Hawthorn Park Community Primary LU55QN (399 pupils)
  2. 0.4 miles Thomas Whitehead CofE School LU55HH (239 pupils)
  3. 0.5 miles Tithe Farm Primary School LU55JB (230 pupils)
  4. 0.5 miles Kingsland Community College LU55PY
  5. 0.5 miles Kings Houghton Middle School LU55PX
  6. 0.5 miles Hillcrest School LU55PX
  7. 0.5 miles Brandreth Middle School LU55PX
  8. 0.5 miles Linmear Middle School LU55PX
  9. 0.5 miles Chiltern Education Trust LU55BT
  10. 0.5 miles Central Bedfordshire PRU LU55PY
  11. 0.5 miles Central Bedfordshire UTC LU55PY (105 pupils)
  12. 0.5 miles Houghton Regis Academy LU55PX (307 pupils)
  13. 0.5 miles The Academy of Central Bedfordshire LU55PY (44 pupils)
  14. 0.6 miles Thornhill Primary School LU55PE (186 pupils)
  15. 0.7 miles Houghton Regis Primary School LU55DH (265 pupils)
  16. 0.8 miles Chantry Junior School LU40QP
  17. 0.8 miles Chantry Infant School LU40QP
  18. 0.8 miles Avenue Centre for Education LU40QP (35 pupils)
  19. 0.9 miles Chantry Primary School LU40QP
  20. 0.9 miles Chantry Primary Academy LU40QP (559 pupils)
  21. 1 mile Willow Nursery School LU54QU (120 pupils)
  22. 1 mile Southfield Primary School LU40PE (461 pupils)
  23. 1 mile Southfield Infant School LU40PE
  24. 1 mile Mill Vale School LU54QP

List of schools in Dunstable

School report

St Vincent's Catholic Primary


Hammersmith Gardens, Houghton Regis, Dunstable, LU5 5RG

Inspection dates 26–27 September 2013
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

Most pupils, including minority ethnic pupils,
Children in the Nursery and Reception classes
Pupils’ behaviour is good. They feel safe, are
disabled pupils and those who have special
educational needs, make good progress
through each key stage because teaching is
good, especially for reading.
make good progress, particularly when
learning phonics (linking letters and sounds)
and to speak English.
well looked after by staff and enjoy school.
Leadership and management are good. The
The governing body is helping the school to

headteacher is ably supported by the senior
leadership team. Together they are effectively
improving teaching and pupils’ performance.
improve. Governors’ regular visits mean that
they know how well the school is performing.
Lower ability pupils are not making sufficient
progress in mathematics because teaching in
some lessons is not always appropriate for
There is not the same emphasis in classroom
displays to promote learning in mathematics as
there is for English.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 2 of 10

Information about this inspection

  • Inspectors observed 16 lessons taught by eight teachers. Two lessons were seen together with
    the headteacher.
  • Meetings were held with a group of six Year 6 pupils and the pupil council, the Chair of the
    Governing Body and one other governor, the headteacher, deputy headteacher and other senior
  • A discussion took place with a representative from the local authority.
  • There were 12 responses to the Ofsted online questionnaire (Parent View) by the end of the
    inspection. The inspectors took account of these, and also sought the views of parents as they
    arrived at school with their children.
  • The inspectors observed the school’s work and looked at a range of documents, including the
    school’s own information on pupils’ recent and current progress, planning for school
    improvement, and checks on teaching, behaviour, attendance and safeguarding.

Inspection team

Joseph Peacock, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Matthew Klimcke Additional Inspector
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 3 of 10

Full report

Information about this school

  • The school is a slightly smaller than the average-sized primary school.
  • It has a Nursery class which children attend on a part time basis in the morning or afternoon
    and one class in each year from Reception to Year 6. Numbers in school are fairly static.
  • Almost half of all pupils are from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds. Most speak English
    fluently but just over 10 per cent of all pupils have English as an additional language.
  • The proportion of pupils supported by additional government funding through the pupil premium
    is well below the national average but is increasing year on year. In this school, the pupil
    premium almost entirely applies to pupils who are known to be eligible for free school meals.
  • The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs supported
    through school action is below average. The proportion who are supported at school action plus
    or who have a statement of special educational needs is average.
  • The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
    for pupils’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Raise attainment in mathematics in all classes to enable more lower attaining pupils to achieve
    expected standards by;
    raising the profile of mathematics in classroom displays to support learning
    ensuring teachers match work more closely to the ability of lower attainers to enable them to
    make faster progress.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 4 of 10

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • Children start in the Nursery with skills and understanding that are usually well below those
    typical for their age. Many are at the early stages of learning to speak English. Teaching is
    consistently good, helping all to achieve well.
  • Good teaching continues in Reception. All staff in the Nursery and Reception classes promote
    speaking and listening skills well, encouraging children to ask and respond to questions. Nursery
    children talk excitedly to one another and to adults when using the climbing frame. Most make
    good progress in learning letters and the sounds they make (phonics). This is because of the
    effective daily sessions, stories, opportunities to write words and sentences and individual
    support for those who speak English as an additional language.
  • Staff carefully assess children’s progress as they tackle activities indoors and outside in the well-
    resourced learning areas. There are plenty of opportunities for children to gain early reading and
    writing skills. Planning usually makes good links between indoor and outdoor activities, ensuring
    a good progression in learning new skills. Children have time to work and play independently
    and gain new skills working in small groups with adults.
  • Staff are continuing to develop the format of the Early Years Foundation Stage planning,
    ensuring a good balance between the different areas of learning. information shows that
    children are well prepared for Key Stage 1, as most attain the levels expected, and some exceed
    expectations in each area. Learning English remains a priority for some and mathematics skills
    are generally lower for many than in other areas.
  • Pupils’ make good progress in reading, writing and mathematics in each year in Key Stages 1
    and 2 because teaching is consistently effective. Attainment in reading has risen the fastest
    because improving reading skills has been a school priority for the past year.
  • Attainment varies from year to year because some year groups are relatively small and there are
    significant proportions of pupils learning English or disabled pupils and those who have special
    educational needs. Recent information shows that there is an upward trend in attainment.
    Attainment by Year 2 is average and by Year 6 it is usually above average. Information about
    the current Year 6 shows that they are on track to attain above average standards by the time
    they leave school. More-able pupils invariably achieve their potential. However, attainment in
    mathematics throughout the school is below the levels reached in reading and writing as not
    enough lower ability pupils are achieving the expected standard.
  • Pupils make good progress in reading because of the strong emphasis on teaching phonics and
    the special sessions such as guided reading to advance reading skills. Those who speak English
    as an additional language make rapid progress because of the opportunities to discuss learning
    with ‘talk partners’ and the individual help they have from supportive teaching assistants.
  • Effective links are made between different subjects and these give pupils good opportunities to
    practise writing skills. Year 2 used a list of words to write descriptions of mathematical shapes,
    for example.
  • Additional funding is providing more opportunities for pupils to participate in physical education
    and sport. These are helping pupils to develop healthy lifestyles and promoting positive attitudes
    towards school and their learning. Standards are rising, as a result.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 5 of 10 5 of 10
  • Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs are provided with appropriate
    tasks and supported closely in lessons by teachers and teaching assistants. They make good
    progress from their starting points.
  • In mathematics, tasks are usually challenging and fun. Year 5 teacher made deliberate mistakes
    when solving subtraction problems and these were spotted immediately by pupils. Reception
    children enjoyed counting to the beat of a drum. Most pupils, especially the more able, are
    achieving the standards expected by the end of Year 6. A scrutiny of pupils’ progress data,
    however, shows that a significant proportion of lower attaining pupils are not making sufficient
    progress and are achieving below the level expected in mathematics.
  • Although pupils known to be eligible for free school meals make good progress, in 2012 some
    Year 6 pupils were almost a year behind their classmates in English and mathematics.
    Unvalidated data shows that they are closing the gap in 2013. Teaching assistants provide
    effective individual help for pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium. School records
    show that this is helping to improve their attainment in English and mathematics and is closing
    the gap in learning between them and other pupils. However, some are not making the same
    good progress in mathematics as they are in English by Year 6.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Teaching has improved significantly over the past two years and is consistently good and
    occasionally outstanding. The strong emphasis on teaching reading has raised attainment in
    reading and in writing. There is not the same emphasis in class displays to promote skills in
  • In the Nursery, adults support children well, giving them all the encouragement necessary to
    learn English and effectively develop new skills in reading, writing and counting. The learning
    environment is particularly vibrant, stimulating and attractive.
  • In Reception, the emphasis on learning to speak and understand English continues. Children
    work well together, both indoors and out, supported closely by adults who encourage speaking
    and listening through conversation and questioning. Children make particularly good progress in
    phonics, and this prepares them well for reading and writing when they move into Year 1.
    Learning new mathematics skills in some sessions is not always tailored closely enough to
    individual needs and skills in mathematics are below those in other areas.
  • Teachers accurately assess pupils’ rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics over
    time, so any pupils who are falling behind are quickly identified and supported, often
    individually. Teachers and teaching assistants ensure that pupils who speak English as an
    additional language are supported closely and these pupils make the same good progress as
    other pupils.
  • Staff manage behaviour consistently well, and normally deal with any rare incidents of
    inappropriate behaviour immediately and effectively.
  • Disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs make good progress because
    their individual learning needs are recognised and planning ensures that they have tasks
    relevant to their ability level. Well-trained and attentive teaching assistants support these pupils
    learning effectively in lessons.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 6 of 10 6 of 10
  • Reading and writing are taught well to most pupils, so they build effectively on their phonic
    knowledge to read accurately, spell simple words correctly and punctuate sentences
    appropriately. In mathematics, teachers usually plan challenging, problem-solving tasks to
    engage and interest most pupils.
  • Occasionally, the learning needs of lower attaining pupils’ are not effectively met in mathematics
    lessons. Overly long lesson introductions cause this group of pupils to lose concentration and,
    sometimes, tasks are not matched closely to their level of ability. Pupils’ progress slows in these
    lessons and, over time, this group of pupils do not make the same amount of progress in
    mathematics as they do in reading and writing.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • ‘Jesus, be the centre of our lives’ is a mission statement that pupils relate to and the message is
    reflected in their positive attitudes to school and their learning. ‘You get a good education here’
    is a commonly held view amongst pupils.
  • Behaviour is good in lessons and around school. Only occasionally, when learning or long lesson
    introductions are not relevant for some, do pupils lose concentration. School records show that
    there have been no exclusions since the previous inspection. This reflects how well most behave.
  • Pupils say that they feel safe and that ‘adults make us feel unique and special’. This correctly
    reflects the impressive level of care and support that pupils receive.
  • Pupils have a good understanding of different types of bullying. They know that name-calling
    and hitting others are wrong. All were clear about internet safety. School records show that
    incidents of bullying or racist behaviour are rare.
  • Attendance is broadly average. It was improving over time but dipped last year due to an
    outbreak of chicken pox. Currently it is above average. There is very little persistent absence
  • Parents who responded to the inspection questionnaire had, justifiably, very positive views about
    the school. They fully agreed with almost every question and most said that they would
    recommend the school to others. Those spoken to during the inspection were equally positive
    about the school. ‘Behaviour is noteworthy and so is the friendliness of staff’ was a typical view.
The leadership and management are good
  • The headteacher is the driving force behind much of the improvement that has occurred over
    the past two years. With the help and support of senior leaders, weak teaching has been
    eliminated and all leaders share the same strong determination to tackle areas still to be
    improved. Responsibility for assessing how well pupils are doing and analysing data to measure
    progress is a team effort. Leaders have already identified the underperformance of lower
    attaining pupils in mathematics.
  • The leadership of the teaching in the Nursery and Reception classes, and for disabled pupils and
    those who have special educational needs is good. The school makes good use of outside
    specialists to support those who have special educational needs.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 7 of 10 7 of 10
  • There are well-established procedures for the headteacher and the governing body to make sure
    that teachers’ pay rises are closely linked to their performance. National standards are used
    effectively to judge the quality of teaching, so accurate judgements are made on how well
    teachers are doing their jobs.
  • The headteacher and leadership team check teaching in termly lesson observations. These
    checks have succeeded in ensuring that all teaching is at least good and some outstanding.
    Matching tasks to pupils’ abilities in all parts of lessons and raising the profile of learning in
    mathematics are aspects identified for improvement.
  • The curriculum is well planned and generally meets the learning needs and abilities of pupils.
    There is currently, however, a stronger emphasis on developing literacy skills than numeracy
    skills. Learning opportunities beyond the normal timetable, such as learning to play the guitar or
    clarineo, a simpler form of the clarinet, and sport, contribute well to pupils’ spiritual, moral,
    social and cultural development. Staff regularly share their Hindu and Muslim faiths with pupils,
    giving them a rich firsthand knowledge. Links with children in Sierra Leone further help pupils to
    understand different cultures and values, such as tolerance and respect.
  • The additional funding allocated to increase sporting opportunities has already been used to
    further enhance the quality and breadth of physical education and sport provision. It has
    significantly increased participation by enabling professional coaches to teach pupils skills in a
    diverse range of sports.
  • The welfare and safety of pupils has a high profile. All parents and carers hold positive views
    about the school. They rightly endorse that staff treat every pupil equally, their children are safe
    and looked after well, and that discrimination is not tolerated in any form. Pupils are well
    prepared for life in Britain and a global society.
  • The local authority has supported staff effectively over time. Support since the arrival of the
    new headteacher in 2011 has helped to significantly improve the quality of teaching. This has
    resulted in most pupils making good progress in each year group and being well prepared for
    the next stage in their education. Governors have also benefited from the wide range of training
    programmes provided for them and these have helped them to develop their skills and expertise.
    As a result, governors have the knowledge and confidence to analyse data and hold the school
    to account for the performance of different groups of pupils, increasing their effectiveness.
  • The governance of the school:
    The regular visits by governors give them a good understanding of the quality of teaching and
    how well pupils are achieving. They are able to compare how well pupils are doing in
    comparison to others nationally. Governors are beginning to focus much more on helping the
    school to check how well it is tackling its identified priorities for improvement and to evaluate
    the impact of their own work. The performance of the headteacher and other teachers is
    reviewed each year to determine pay and promotion. Governors’ personal expertise is used to
    good effect to support their work. All current national requirements relating to employment
    and safeguarding are met. Governors carefully check the impact of the pupil premium and the
    funds allocated to provide additional sporting opportunities on the achievement and behaviour
    of pupils.
Inspection report: St Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 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 Vincent's Catholic Primary School, 26–27 September 2013 9 of 10

School details

Unique reference number 109631
Local authority Central Bedfordshire
Inspection number 425195

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 222
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Leo Fitzgerald
Headteacher Christine Lake
Date of previous school inspection 1-2 March 2012
Telephone number 01582 862456
Fax number 01582 862456
Email address reveal email: stvi…


print / save trees, print less