School etc

St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Middle School Closed - result of amalgamation Aug. 31, 2011

see new St Bede's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School
see new St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School
see new St Benet Biscop Catholic Voluntary Aided High School

St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Middle School
Claremont Terrace

phone: 01670 *** ***

headteacher: Mr Paul Ibbetson

school holidays: via Northumberland council

Middle Deemed Secondary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Middle Deemed Secondary
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
Close date
Aug. 31, 2011
Reason closed
Result of Amalgamation
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 430809, Northing: 581195
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 55.124, Longitude: -1.5184
Accepting pupils
9—13 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Dec. 6, 2010
Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle
Region › Const. › Ward
North East › Blyth Valley › Isabella
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Blyth

Schools nearby

  1. St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School NE242LE (315 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles Blyth Princess Louise First School NE242TS
  3. 0.3 miles Croftway Primary School NE242HP
  4. 0.3 miles Malvin's Close Primary School NE245BL
  5. 0.3 miles Croftway Primary Academy NE242HP (453 pupils)
  6. 0.3 miles Malvin's Close Primary School NE245BL (461 pupils)
  7. 0.4 miles Crofton First School NE242HN
  8. 0.4 miles Blyth Ridley High School NE242SY
  9. 0.4 miles Bede Academy NE242SY (1765 pupils)
  10. 0.5 miles Delaval Community Middle School NE243NL
  11. 0.6 miles Blyth Plessey Road First School NE243BY
  12. 0.6 miles Wensleydale Middle School NE243ED
  13. 0.7 miles Morpeth Road Primary School NE245TQ
  14. 0.7 miles Morpeth Road Primary School NE245TQ (367 pupils)
  15. 0.8 miles Newsham Primary School NE244NX (448 pupils)
  16. 1 mile Blyth South Beach First School NE243PX
  17. 1 mile Blyth Tynedale Middle School NE244LQ
  18. 1 mile Wellesley Community Home NE243PF
  19. 1.1 mile New Delaval Primary School NE244DA (213 pupils)
  20. 1.1 mile Blyth Tynedale High School NE244LN
  21. 1.2 mile Blyth Community College NE244JP
  22. 1.2 mile The Blyth Academy NE244JP (854 pupils)
  23. 1.3 mile Blyth Bebside Middle School NE244RE
  24. 1.3 mile The Dales School NE244RE (73 pupils)

List of schools in Blyth

St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary

Aided Middle School

Inspection report

Unique Reference Number 122373
Local Authority Northumberland
Inspect ion number 359240
Inspect ion dates 6–7 December 2010
Report ing inspector Moira Fitzpatrick

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

Type of school Middle deemed secondary
School category Voluntary aided
Age range of pupils 9–13
Gender of pupils Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 209
Appropriate author ity The governing body
Chair Mr J Usher
Headteacher Mr P Ibbetson
Date of prev ious school inspection 5 March 2008
School address Claremont Terrace
Northumberland NE24 2LE
Telephone number 01670 352919
Fax number 01670 546311
Email address blythstwilfrid' reveal email: srcv…
Age group 9–13
Inspect ion dates 6–7 December 2010
Inspect ion number 359240


This inspection was carried out by three additional inspectors. Eighteen lessons taught by
12 teachers were observed. Meetings were held with the headteacher, staff, groups of
pupils and members of the governing body. Inspectors observed the school's work and
looked at documentation including the school's improvement plan, attainment and
progress data and safeguarding procedures. The responses to 87 questionnaires returned
by parents and carers and those completed by staff and pupils were considered.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the

  • How well senior leaders and staff are maintaining the forward momentum of the
    school in the face of impending closure.
  • If assessment strategies are effective in providing secure starting points for all
    groups of pupils to work independently and make similar progress.
  • Whether the quality of teaching has been sustained despite the loss of some
    experienced staff in the last year.

Information about the school

The school is smaller than the average for its type. The majority of pupils are from a
White British heritage and there are very few pupils who speak English as an additional
language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is average.
The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is broadly
average, so, too, is the proportion with a statement of special educational needs. Each
year a higher than average proportion of pupils join and leave the school during the year.
The school holds a number of awards including the Sportsmark and Healthy School status.
Since the previous inspection the school has been subject to arrangements for its closure.
This was planned for August 2010. The school was informed in September 2009 that this
was to be deferred until August 2011. In September this year, the school did not admit
any Year 5 pupils and there had been some reduction in staffing to reflect this.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school? 2
The school's capacity for sustained improvement 2

Main findings

St Wilfrid's is a good school. Good leadership and management at all levels have enabled
the school to improve provision and maintain good achievement for pupils since the
previous inspection. Despite staff reductions and redeployment in the past year, staff have
maintained a good level of morale in the face of school closure. Their dedication to pupils
is unwavering, which is a testament to their professionalism and reflects their commitment
to the spirit of the school. The headteacher's caring leadership has ensured that pressures
have been well managed and that staff have remained focused on raising standards and
getting the best for and from pupils. Effective monitoring and evaluation by senior and
middle leaders and governors give the school an accurate picture of its provision and
performance. The school demonstrates a good capacity to sustain improvement.
Excellent relationships between staff and pupils provide a safe and secure environment for
learning. Teaching is good overall, so pupils make good progress. However, teachers' use
of assessment strategies to check how well pupils are learning in lessons and then to
adapt their methods to match the needs of all groups in the class is inconsistent. Where
this is good, teachers are quick to spot misunderstandings or note pupils who are ready to
move more quickly. In other lessons, teachers plan for average-attaining pupils, so that
higher-attaining pupils can be held back, while lower-attaining pupils can be unsure or
confused. Pupils' attainment is usually average by the end of Year 6, except in the current
year when there was a dip in performance, mainly due to high mobility during the year. By
the end of Year 8 attainment is above the expected level for pupils of this age. A well-
balanced and enriched curriculum gives pupils good opportunities for developing basic
skills, as well as special interests and talents. Pupils' personal qualities are good overall.
Their attendance is high and behaviour is exemplary; both of which make a significant
contribution to pupils' learning. Pupils hold their school in high regard. Some pupils cannot
think of a single thing they would improve and say, 'It's just perfect as it is.'
Priorities for the coming year are appropriate and focused on achieving the best for pupils
and celebrating the school's long tradition of care with a Christian ethos. Parents and
carers, like their children, hold the school in high esteem. One comment represents the
views of many, 'All staff are dedicated to children and supportive to parents. Pastoral care
is excellent.'

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the consistency and effectiveness of teachers' assessment of learning in
    lessons by:
    Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate
    Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms
    requiring teachers to identify how they will make appropriate provision for the
    different ability groups in their classes so that all pupils understand what they are
    expected to learn before beginning their tasks
    regularly monitoring pupils' learning in lessons to ensure they can work
    independently by being well prepared, and can complete tasks because they are
    set at the correct level
    ensuring that the monitoring of pupils' work in lessons identifies any pupils who
    are at risk of underachievement.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils 2

Pupils enjoy school, as their high attendance testifies. They work hard in lessons because
they are keen to do well and please their teachers. Pupils' excellent behaviour makes a
powerful contribution in lessons, because time is well used as they move smoothly from
one task to another. Pupils say they enjoy learning most when they work with a partner
and learn from each other, because they are able to decide for themselves how, and how
quickly, they will learn. Excellent learning in a Year 6 lesson on persuasive writing
demonstrated very well the effectiveness of this way of working. Pupils say that they feel
very safe and secure in school because they have been taught to be aware of risks to their
well-being, and they have high levels of trust in teachers to look after them and deal with
any concerns they may have. They are keen supporters of a healthy lifestyle, with high
numbers taking part in the many vigorous sporting activities that are available. Pupils have
a well-developed sense of citizenship, seen in their willingness to support their school
community by respecting each other, driving improvement through the school council and
by supporting the rules that make the school run smoothly. They are active fund-raisers,
who recognise the needs of others and understand and tolerate difference. These qualities
and their good spiritual, moral, social and cultural development prepare them well for the
future and the challenges of the next stage in education.
Pupils of all abilities, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities,
achieve well and make good progress from their below-expected starting points in Year 5.
By the end of Year 6 their attainment is broadly average and by the time they leave in
Year 8 a higher proportion of pupils have reached the level expected for their age and
good proportion exceed the expected level.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

These are the grades for pupils' outcomes

Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning 2
Taking into account:
Pupils' attainment¹
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress 2
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
and their progress
The extent to which pupils feel safe 2
Pupils' behaviour 1
The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les 2
The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community 2
The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to
their future economic well-being
Taking into account:
Pupils' attendance¹
The extent of pupils' spir itual, moral, social and cultural development 2


The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4

is low

How effective is the provision?

Teaching is good, because staff have risen well to the challenge of extending their subject
knowledge and skills since the previous inspection. They have adapted well to the
changing needs of the school as staffing is reduced. Teachers' high expectations of pupils
promote good attitudes to learning and stimulate pupils to do their best in most lessons.
Excellent relationships ensure that pupils feel safe, valued and ready for learning. In good
and better lessons, good questioning shows the teacher how well pupils' understanding is
developing and where there is misunderstanding. This helps teachers adjust their
explanations and questions so that learning is effective for all groups of pupils. In the best
lessons teachers adapt resources and tasks to match the different needs of pupils so that
all are able to work independently and develop confidence in their ability to learn.
However, the use of assessment strategies within lessons is inconsistent, because senior
leaders have not captured the most effective practices to share with all staff. This
sometimes restricts learning for some groups of pupils, especially in mixed-ability classes
because not all pupils are given the best preparation or the correct starting points for
independent learning. Not all pupils are clear about what they are expected to learn
before beginning their tasks. Work is marked regularly but this is not always helpful to
pupils in pointing out what they should do to improve to reach their targets.
The broad curriculum provides good opportunities for pupils of all abilities to develop their
personal skills and interests. Staff provide an extensive range of extra-curricular clubs

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

which are well supported by pupils who say they thoroughly enjoy these. Pupils also
benefit from the many visits and visiting experts that the school arranges to extend their
learning, for example, with an annual visit to the Clothes Show in Birmingham. The basic
skills of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology are well
developed in other subjects through, for example, regular opportunities for writing in
history and geography and research projects that involved the use of computers and
mathematics. Sometimes in mixed- ability classes, there is not enough support given to
lower-attaining pupils to allow them to complete writing tasks and work independently so
that they feel the same level of success as others in their class.
Pastoral care is a strength of the school. Staff know pupils and their families very well and
are able to spot any changes in performance or mood very quickly and then to take
prompt action to provide support for pupils. The school has good links with external
support agencies to provide well-targeted support for those pupils who need it. Pupils
whose circumstances place them at risk of being vulnerable are well supported through
timely and appropriate interventions, and the school can point to a number of examples of
how pupils have been effectively supported to improve their attendance, behaviour or
achievement. Good arrangements prepare pupils well for the move into the high school,
while pupils who join during the school year are well supported by thorough induction
arrangements to settle quickly and make friends.

These are the grades for the quality of provision

The quality of teaching 2
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
The extent to which the curr iculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships
The effectiveness of care, guidance and support 2

How effective are leadership and management?

During a difficult period of staffing reduction and preparation for closure, the school has
remained well focused on maintaining and improving the quality of provision and
outcomes for pupils. The role of senior and middle leaders has developed since the
previous inspection so that they now play a full part in monitoring and evaluating the work
of the school. This provides an accurate picture of where the school needs to improve and
explains why the school has adapted successfully to changing circumstances.
Members of the governing body give good support to the school, through a range of
monitoring activities and by challenging it over, for example, the dip in attainment at the
end of Year 6 this year. They ensure that safeguarding arrangements and procedures
meet requirements. The school promotes equal opportunities well, so all pupils have equal
access to the curriculum. It robustly prepares pupils for life in a multicultural, multi-faith
society so that they are becoming tolerant and accepting of different points of view.
Community cohesion is satisfactory, with strengths in local and diocesan links. Effective
partnership with parents and carers make a good contribution to pupils' sense of well-

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

being and give parents a role in supporting their children's learning. The school has well-
developed links with local schools and external providers which enhance and extend
pupils' learning.

These are the grades for leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition a nd driving
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers 2
The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-be ing 2
The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles
The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures 3
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion 3
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money 2

Views of parents and carers

Parents and carers hold overwhelmingly positive views of the school. They are confident
that their children are safe and well cared for. The inspection findings endorsed parents'
and carers' positive views. There was no strong pattern of concern over any issues in the

Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's questionnaire

Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic
Voluntary Aided Middle School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements
about the school.
The inspection team received 87 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total,
there are 209 pupils registered at the school.
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The
percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of
completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question,
the percentages will not add up to 100%.

Statements Strongly
Agree Disagree Strongly
Total % Total % Total % Total %
My child enjoys school 47 54 35 40 3 3 1 1
The school keeps my child
53 61 30 34 3 3 0 0
My school informs me about
my child's progress
46 53 37 43 1 1 0 0
My child is making enough
progress at this school
52 60 31 36 2 2 1 1
The teaching is good at this
51 59 33 38 2 2 0 0
The school helps me to
support my child's learning
40 46 39 45 4 5 2 2
The school helps my child to
have a healthy lifestyle
30 34 50 57 6 7 0 0
The school makes sure that
my child is well prepared for
the future (for example
changing year group,
changing school, and for
children who are finishing
school, entering further or
higher education, or entering
38 44 42 48 5 6 0 0
The school meets my child's
particular needs
42 48 38 44 2 2 1 1
The school deals effectively
with unacceptable behaviour
44 51 34 39 6 7 1 1
The school takes account of
my suggestions and concerns
37 43 37 43 6 7 2 2
The school is led and
managed effectively
46 53 35 40 2 2 1 1
Overall, I am happy with my
child's experience at this
57 66 26 30 3 3 1 1


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding school
provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.
Grade 2 Good These are very positive features of a school. A school that
is good is serving its pupils well.
Grade 3 Satisfactory These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory
school is providing adequately for its pupils.
Grade 4 Inadequate These features are not of an acceptable standard. An
inadequate school needs to make significant improvement
in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors
will make further visits until it improves.

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 58 36 4 2
Primary schools 8 43 40 9
Secondary schools 10 35 42 13
Sixth forms 13 39 45 3
Special schools 33 42 20 4
Pupil referral units 18 40 29 12
All schools 11 42 38 9

New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that inspectors now
make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 and are the most
recently published data available (see Please note that the sample of schools
inspected during the autumn and spring terms 2009/10 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Secondary school figures include those that
have sixth forms, and sixth form figures include only the data specifically for sixth form inspection

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their learning,
development or training.
Attainment: the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and
examination results and in lessons.
Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue
improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what
the school has accomplished so far and on the quality
of its systems to maintain improvement.
Leadership and management: the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities,
not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities,
directing and motivating staff and running the school.
Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
Overall effectiveness: inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall
effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school. The following judgements,
in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness
judgement will be.
The school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils.
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships.
Progress: the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and
over longer periods of time. It is often measured by
comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key
stage with their attainment when they started.

8 December 2010
Dear Pupils

Inspection of St Wilfrid's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Middle School, Blyth,
NE24 2LE

Thank you all for the warm welcome you gave the inspection team when we visited
your school recently. It was a delight to spend time with you all because you care for each
other so well and your behaviour is outstanding. Your positive attitudes to learning and
the effort you put in to succeed in lessons also impressed us very much. Your school
provides a good standard of education. Teaching is good so you all make good progress
and achieve well. Your school is helping you become good citizens who are well prepared
for the future because you understand the importance of respecting the v alues and beliefs
of other people and are clear about your own.
You enjoy an interesting and varied curriculum that gives you many opportunities to
discover your special talents and interests, as well as giving you a good grounding in basic
skills. It was good to see how well you are developing computer skills and enjoying the
new equipment in the information and communication technology room. You told us that
your teachers take great care of you and are always on hand to help with problems. Some
of you told us this is why you feel so safe and comfortable in school. We agree that they
know you very well and have your well-being at the heart of all they do. They make good
links with your parents and carers to make sure that there is a good exchange of
It was clear to us that you value your school very much and that you enjoy
learning. I was delighted to find that a group of you like it so much you could not
suggest a single thing to make it better! The inspection team think the school could
improve your learning in some classes by sharing the most successful methods of
explaining new work and helping you to be independent by making sure that you all have
tasks that you can do by yourself, so you gain in confidence and feel pleased with your
Our very best wishes to you all for your last year at St Wilfrid's Middle School
Yours sincerely

Moira Fitzpatrick
Lead inspector


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