The inspection was carried out by three Additional Inspectors.
Description of the school
St Winefride's Catholic Primary School is larger than most primary schools. Pupils attend the school from different areas across Bradford. The school serves areas of some social and economic disadvantage. The large majority of pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is below average. Fewer than average numbers of pupils are identified as having learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The headteacher has been in post since September 2006 and there have been extensive changes to the school's management structure in this time.
Overall effectiveness of the school
This is a satisfactory and improving school. It has good capacity to make further improvement. The effective headteacher has a clear vision of how the school should develop and along with a new management team provides a strong sense of teamwork and purpose. As a result, there is a shared commitment to meeting the needs of every child and to tackling the priorities for the school's improvement. Improvements already having an impact on pupils' progress are seen in the new assessment procedures, which are now more accurate and the quality of teaching, which is becoming more even across the school. Consequently, pupils' learning is improving.
Standards are broadly average by the time pupils leave Year 6 and overall achievement is satisfactory. Children enter the Nursery with skills below those expected for their age and by the time they reach the start of Key Stage 1 they are still working at levels that are below those expected for their age. Over the last few years there has been a trend of declining standards at the end of Key Stage 1 in reading, writing and mathematics. Recent and current improvements to teaching are starting to raise standards and to increase pupils' progress, but there remains more to be done. By the end of Key Stage 2 pupils reach standards which are broadly in line with national averages. However, past inconsistencies in the quality of teaching have resulted in uneven progress throughout the school. As a result, not all pupils have achieved as highly as they could, especially those who are more able. A small number of parents agree that their children could do better. Some inconsistencies in teaching and learning remain, although the school is taking rigorous steps to identify weaknesses and bring about improvements. Recent revisions in the curriculum are also beginning to have an impact on pupils' learning and progress. This is because of the increased focus on and consistency in approach to improving pupils' basic skills throughout the school. For example, pupils' writing skills have shown some improvement this term because of the coordinated, focused actions of teachers.
Pupils have a good understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle and to stay safe. They enjoy school, especially when their lessons are lively and allow them to work together. The pupils also report that they like having visitors in the school to help support different aspects of their learning. Pupils behave well in lessons and around the school, taking good care of one another. Older pupils appreciate the various responsibilities they are given, including acting as prefects and buddies and organising playtime games to include everyone. Pupils feel well prepared for the next stages in their lives because of these responsibilities and the good arrangements for them to transfer to secondary school. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. There are regular opportunities for reflection and pupils enjoy learning about different faiths and cultures. Links with other schools and agencies, the parish church and the local community are good and enrich the curriculum and support pupils' social development.
Although there are some good lessons, teaching is satisfactory overall because it is not yet consistent enough. Most lessons are well planned and structured and pupils are clear about what they are supposed to be learning. Increasingly accurate assessments help teachers to plan for all abilities in their classes. However, this information is not always used to accurately match the learning opportunities for all groups of pupils in the classes, so that for some pupils the work is too easy, while for others it is too hard. This hampers the progress that pupils make and in particular higher-attaining pupils are not always challenged sufficiently. The additional effective support provided for those in danger of falling behind and those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities helps them to participate in lessons alongside other pupils and to make satisfactory progress. The recent curriculum review has also enabled the teachers to make links between subjects. This has helped teachers to plan lessons to interest pupils and to help them to increase both their knowledge and skills.
The school is well led and managed. The headteacher, staff and governors have accurately identified weaknesses in the school's work. These form the key priorities for development in the school improvement plan. The headteacher has a clear vision of how the school should develop further and this is shared and understood by all staff. Although some improvements are still at an early stage of development, their impact can already be seen; pupils' learning is improving and they are beginning to make better and more even progress across the school. Crucially, the implementation of improvements in the quality of teaching is starting to be more consistent. The school gives satisfactory value for money.
Effectiveness of the Foundation Stage
Progress in the Foundation Stage is satisfactory. When children join the Nursery their skills are below those expected for their age. Although achievement is satisfactory, they leave Reception with skills that remain below expectations. On entry to the Nursery a significant number of children find relating to others, speaking and listening particularly difficult. Staff recognised children's language skills as a priority last year and effective teaching enabled them to make better gains in this area. Personal, social and emotional development and calculation in mathematics are an additional focus this year. The carefully planned and varied activities provide suitable opportunities for children to improve their language, social and mathematical skills and help to prepare them for the start of Key Stage 1. Adults' enthusiastic approach secures children's interest and enjoyment. Staff use assessment to identify gaps in children's learning and plan activities to meet their individual needs. Occasionally, however, limited challenge in the teaching slows the progress of some individuals. Improved facilities inside and outdoors have widened opportunities in the Foundation Stage, particularly for physical development, and as a result children are becoming more confident. Teaching, the curriculum and assessment are becoming more consistent as a result of increasingly effective leadership and management in the Foundation Stage and this is starting to improve children's learning.
What the school should do to improve further
- Improve the consistency of teaching and learning throughout the school to raise pupils' achievements and standards.
- Make better use of assessment in lessons so that there is a better match of tasks to pupils' abilities.
- Increase levels of challenge for higher-attaining pupils.
A small proportion of schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory but which have areas of underperformance will receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Achievement and standards
Achievement is satisfactory and by the end of Year 6 pupils reach broadly average standards. Pupils enter Key Stage 1 with knowledge and skills below those expected for their age. Over the past four years standards have declined at the end of Key Stage 1. Inspection evidence shows they are now recovering. At the end of Key Stage 2 in 2007 standards were broadly in line with national averages. In 2007 there was a drop in English standards related to writing. There were also insufficient numbers of pupils reaching the higher levels. Recent developments in the quality of teaching, and improvements in the curriculum are starting to improve pupils' progress. This is satisfactory overall. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make satisfactory progress because of the support they receive. However, higher-attaining pupils in both key stages are not challenged sufficiently, and as a result, do not make the progress they are capable of.
Personal development and well-being
Pupils have positive attitudes, enjoy school, and like their lessons and teachers. They say, 'School is fun. You learn new things and make new friends'. They particularly enjoy lessons where they feel involved, although in some lessons pupils are too passive. Pupils' spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development is a strength of the school. Pupils are thoughtful and reflective in exploring their feelings and those of others, through collective worship in class, assemblies and personal, social and health education. They are interested in learning about other faiths and cultures. They have many opportunities for this, for example through special days, which have included visits from Islamic dancers and members of the Interfaith Centre. The school council makes a positive contribution and has recently introduced a recycling scheme. Older pupils take on many responsibilities in the school and this aids their social development. The school choir visits senior citizens to sing for them. Pupils are polite and behave and work well together in class. Most parents agree with the inspection's view that the behaviour of the majority of pupils in and around school is good. Attendance is line with the national picture and the school has good strategies to encourage pupils to attend regularly. Pupils know how to stay safe, and who to turn to if they need help. They know about healthy eating and exercise and often choose the healthy options at lunchtime. Enterprise activities help older pupils to feel well prepared for the future world of work.
Quality of provision
Teaching and learning
Recent strategies, including more effective ways of assessing pupils' progress, are helping teachers to improve their lessons. As a result, there are good lessons throughout the school, although some remaining inconsistencies mean that the overall impact of teaching on pupils' learning is satisfactory. Most lessons have clear learning objectives, which are shared with the pupils so that they know exactly what they are learning and why. This helps them to see why their lessons are important in helping them to make progress. Good relationships, effective organisation and interesting tasks ensure pupils' enjoyment. Good attention to developing pupils' speaking and listening skills through questioning, discussions and teamwork activities are often very effective ways of extending and developing learning. Teachers generally plan activities for pupils of different abilities. However, they do not always make enough use of their increasingly accurate assessments to plan appropriate work for individuals and groups of pupils. As a result, expectations and pace of learning are not always high enough, especially the more able, do not make sufficient progress. Marking of pupils' work clearly indicates good features and also how it can be improved. Teachers are also making greater use of targets for improvement. School support staff are experienced and dedicated and give good support to pupils in lessons, especially to those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.
Curriculum and other activities
The school has begun a review and improvement of the curriculum and planning systems in the school. There has been a particular focus on improving pupils' basic skills and accurately evaluating pupils' progress. This is helping to create a better systematic approach throughout the school to support learning. Consequently, there are increasingly clear and detailed programmes of work for teachers to follow. Visits, visitors and a wider range of out-of-school activities enrich pupils' learning. These make a significant impact upon pupils' personal and social development. Other developments show a greater recognition of pupils' individual learning styles and importantly a greater involvement of the pupils in evaluating their own learning. Links between learning in different subjects are now being used to good effect, for example in giving more opportunities for the pupils to practise their skills, especially in writing. Pupils are very positive and say that they enjoy lessons. However, these initiatives remain at an early stage of development and have not yet been fully established or evaluated.
Care, guidance and support
Caring for pupils is central to the work of the school. Pupils feel safe because of the school's good care of them. Arrangements for safeguarding pupils are in place and known to staff. Governors are regularly informed of health and safety issues. Playtime routines support vulnerable pupils and develop pupils' social skills. Pupils feel valued by their teachers, which develops their self-esteem and confidence. Those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities and other vulnerable pupils are identified by staff, through the newly developed tracking system, and effective support is put in place. The school promotes and rewards good behaviour through class traffic lights, merits, 'golden time' and whole-school assemblies on Mondays, so that pupils are keen to behave well. Parents' views of the care and support given to their children by the school are generally positive. Strong links with a range of outside agencies, including the parish priest, a local church support group and social services, ensures that the welfare of pupils and their families is given a high priority. Assessments of pupils' work are not yet used systematically enough throughout the school to ensure that every lesson helps all pupils in the class to make as much progress as they can. Pupils have targets to help them improve their work and guide them as to what needs to be done next. However, this is not yet fully embedded throughout the school.
Leadership and management
The headteacher provides strong leadership with a clear focus on raising achievement. The recently revised staff teams and roles have established a common sense of purpose among staff. School leaders have an accurate understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses, gained through thorough self-evaluation. This has provided a clear and shared understanding of the priorities for improvement and the actions needed to bring this about. These actions are starting to improve pupils' learning and progress, but have yet to be fully evaluated because some are too recent. Senior staff provide positive models to all staff in ensuring the well-being and involvement of every pupil. Governors have a good understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses and are challenging as well as supportive. Although some parents feel that the school's communication with them could be improved, generally good links with parents, the parish church and the wider community support the work of the school and are helping to improve pupils' learning and achievements. The accurate self-evaluation and the initial positive effects of actions to secure improvement provide the school with good capacity to improve further.