Victoria Lane Academy
phone: 01388 603588
headed by: Mrs Jane Richardson
196 pupils capacity: 80% full
80 boys 51%
80 girls 51%
Last updated: June 25, 2014
Primary — Academy Sponsor Led
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Academy Sponsor Led
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Dec. 1, 2012
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 424113, Northing: 529830
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 54.663, Longitude: -1.6277
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- May 14, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North East › Bishop Auckland › Coundon
- Town and Fringe - less sparse
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- Coundon Primary School DL148NN
- St Joseph's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School, Coundon DL148NN (131 pupils)
- Coundon County Infant School DL148NN
- 1 mile Dene Valley Primary School DL148RP
- 1.3 mile Prince Bishops Community Primary School DL148DY (185 pupils)
- 1.5 mile Kirk Merrington Primary School DL167JB (103 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Middlestone Moor Junior School DL167AT
- 1.7 mile Eldon Lane Primary School DL148SJ
- 1.7 mile King James I Community Arts College DL147JZ
- 1.7 mile King James I Academy Bishop Auckland DL147JZ (740 pupils)
- 1.9 mile St Andrew's Primary School DL146RY (116 pupils)
- 2 miles Cockton Hill Junior School DL146HW (239 pupils)
- 2 miles Cockton Hill Infant School DL146HW (162 pupils)
- 2 miles Sunnydale Community College for Maths and Computing DL42EP (404 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Spennymoor West Infant School DL167DA
- 2.1 miles Thornhill Primary School DL41ES (206 pupils)
- 2.1 miles St John's Church of England Aided Primary School, Shildon DL42EQ (242 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Whitworth School DL167DB
- 2.1 miles Middlestone Moor Primary School DL167DA (266 pupils)
- 2.1 miles The Oaks Secondary School DL167DB (244 pupils)
- 2.2 miles Etherley Lane Nursery School DL147RF (69 pupils)
- 2.2 miles Etherley Lane Primary School DL147RB (293 pupils)
- 2.3 miles Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College DL167LN (1107 pupils)
- 2.3 miles Windlestone School DL170HP (73 pupils)
Victoria Lane Academy
Victoria Lane, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 8NN
|Inspection dates||14–15 May 2014|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Previous inspection:||Not previously inspected|
|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
| Pupils make good progress in reading, writing |
The quality of teaching is good. Teachers
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
and mathematics. They reach standards that
are above average in reading and average in
mathematics by the time they leave at the
end of Year 6. Standards in writing are
plan interesting activities with care and
precision so that pupils are very clear about
what is expected and how to make good
make outstanding progress in their personal
and social skills, so that their behaviour is
exemplary. This is because adults create
exceptionally stimulating learning activities
and constantly praise and encourage the very
| Pupils are courteous and well behaved. They |
There is a warm and positive atmosphere
Leadership and management are good. The
treat adults and their peers with respect. As a
result, bullying incidents are rare and when
they do happen pupils say they are dealt with
throughout the school so that pupils enjoy
working in a happy, safe environment. Parents
have high levels of confidence in the
headteacher and other staff.
headteacher has created and inspired a climate
where everyone wants to succeed. Actions are
improving teaching and achievement. All
leaders, including governors, share the
headteacher’s high aspirations for pupils. The
leaders’ clear view of what still needs to be
done and the pupils’ good progress ensure the
school will continue to improve.
| Standards in writing are not high enough |
because grammar is not taught well enough
and pupils are not given sufficient
opportunities to write at length.
| Pupils do not always have enough |
opportunities to correct or improve their work
in order to make even better progress.
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 11 lessons taught by seven teachers as well as reviewing pupils’ work.
Some observations were carried out jointly with senior leaders.
- Inspectors talked to pupils at break and lunch times, and heard others in Year 1, Year 2 and
Year 6 read.
- The views of 16 parents who responded to the on-line questionnaire (Parent View) were taken
into account, as well as the views of parents gained informally at the start and end of the school
- Inspectors met with senior and middle leaders, teachers, members of the governing body,
members of the board of directors and a representative of the local authority.
- The school’s improvement plan and records of pupils’ achievement, records of the quality of
teaching, pupils’ behaviour and safeguarding were examined.
- Twenty-five staff submitted their views via a questionnaire and inspectors took these into
|Christine Cottam, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Kathleen Mullen||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This school became an Academy on 1
December 2012. It is sponsored by Tudhoe Colliery
- Both schools are members of Tudhoe Learning Trust, a partnership of four primary schools led
by an executive headteacher, who is also the headteacher of the sponsor school. The trust has a
board of directors. Victoria Lane Academy also has its own governing body and headteacher,
appointed in January 2013.
- Victoria Lane Academy is smaller than the average sized primary school.
- The proportion of pupils eligible for support through the pupil premium is higher than average.
The pupil premium is additional funding for those pupils who are known to be eligible for free
school meals and those children who are looked after by the local authority.
- The vast majority of pupils are of White British heritage and speak English as their first
- The proportion of pupils supported through school action is higher than the national average as
is the proportion supported school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standard, which is the minimum expectation for
pupils’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics at the end of Year 6.
- The school has Healthy School status and has achieved the silver Activemark.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Raise standards in writing and increase the proportion of pupils reaching average and above
average levels by:
improving the quality of pupils’ handwriting and presentation
helping pupils to use the correct grammar and punctuation appropriate to their age and ability
extending pupils’ vocabulary and their ability to use complex sentences through providing
opportunities for them to write at greater length.
- Improve the effectiveness of marking and feedback by ensuring that pupils have enough
opportunities to correct or improve their work in order to make more rapid progress.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Pupils make good progress from their starting points because close checks are kept on pupils’
progress and tasks set an appropriately challenging level.
- Children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills and abilities that are well below those
typically found for their age. Recent improvements to teaching ensure children are now making
good progress, so that the majority have acquired the skills they need to get off to a flying start
in Year 1.
- Pupils make good progress in Key Stage 1. They reach broadly average standards in reading and
mathematics. Standards are a little lower in writing because no pupils are reaching higher than
- This good progress continues throughout Key Stage 2 so that pupils reach standards that are
above average in reading and average in mathematics. Again, standards in writing are slightly
- Pupils make good progress in reading. By the time they leave Year 6 all pupils have reached the
standard expected for their age and about a third have reached a higher level. This is because
reading is taught well throughout the school. Younger pupils are making good progress learning
letters and sounds, while older pupils read fluently, and discuss authors and the types of books
they prefer to read.
- Achievement in writing is improving so that a greater proportion of pupils are reaching average
levels for their age. Not enough pupils are reaching higher levels because handwriting,
presentation and basic grammar need to improve. Pupils do not have enough opportunities to
use complex sentences or write more extensively.
- Pupils make good progress in mathematics. They calculate accurately and use their number skills
to solve problems. There are good opportunities for pupils to apply their mathematical skills in
other subjects, most notably in science.
- Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs make good progress. This is because
teachers set work at an appropriately challenging level and then make sure pupils are supported
well in order to achieve.
- Pupils supported by the pupil premium make good progress. This group includes those known to
be eligible for free school meals. There is a small gap in attainment at the end of Year 2 and
eligible pupils are approximately a term behind their peers in the school. However, by the end of
Year 6, there is no such gap with eligible pupils matching the standards reached by their peers.
This improvement shows that the school’s leaders are using additional funding well to ensure
equality of opportunity.
- The most able pupils make good progress because they are set work that is more challenging
and reflects their ability, particularly in reading and mathematics.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is effective and activities inspire and motivate pupils. For example, children in the Early
Years Foundation Stage are extremely curious about the recently hatched chicks in their
classroom. They explain the hatching process of chicks and how to care for them.
- New work is carefully explained so that pupils understand what they have to do and also the
standards they are expected to reach. Pupils’ understanding of what they are to do and learn
deepens during effective question-and-answer sessions. Pupils answer questions enthusiastically
because they are interested and want to share their knowledge.
- Teaching assistants are knowledgeable and confident. They are deployed effectively so that they
make a good contribution to pupils’ progress. For example, teaching assistants successfully teach
‘letters and sounds’ to their own groups of pupils on a daily basis.
- Pupils’ understanding is assessed regularly and accurately. This information is used well to set
work that is sufficiently challenging for different groups of pupils.
- Pupils enjoy writing because they often work on unusual activities that fire their imagination. For
example, Year 6 pupils enjoyed the challenge of writing fictional letters to other schools to
persuade them to go to ‘Hansel and Gretel’s’ cottage in the woods. However, pupils are not yet
reaching above average standards because grammar is not taught systematically and pupils do
not receive enough opportunities to express their ideas using more complex sentences.
- Teachers mark pupils’ work systematically and point out how their work could be improved.
Pupils have targets which set out what they need to be able to do in their writing and
mathematics in order to reach the next level. Sometimes, pupils have opportunities to return to
their work to improve or correct it, but this is not consistently the case.
- Pupils have good homework opportunities that help them with their English and mathematics
skills. For example, they have on-line access to reading books and mathematics practice that
they particularly enjoy.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils are polite and friendly towards adults and each other.
This is because adults nurture respectful relationships and are consistently firm and fair. Pupils
speak highly of their school and say one of the best things is how well their teachers treat them.
One boy who had been to two other schools said, ‘teachers don’t shout at children here’. Pupils
are thriving in this well-ordered, happy atmosphere.
- Pupils’ attitudes to learning are positive. They work hard in lessons and want to do their best.
This helps them to make good progress.
- Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make very rapid progress in the development of
their personal and social skills. They show high levels of curiosity in the many varied and
interesting learning activities that are provided for them and will happily concentrate for long
periods of time, considering their age.
- Leaders check on pupils’ behaviour over time and provide additional support where pupils
experience difficulty conforming to the rules and routines. There have been a small number of
exclusions since the school opened, but these have decreased because pupils with additional
needs are managed so well. As a result, learning is rarely disrupted in lessons.
- The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is good. Pupils have a good knowledge of how
to stay safe in a variety of situations, for example on the internet, crossing the road and near
open water. Pupils say that bullying hardly ever happens, but when it does it is sorted out very
quickly so that it stops.
- Parents are unanimous in their view that their children enjoy coming to school and feel safe.
Parents say that the school manages behaviour well and they have no concerns about bullying.
- Attendance has improved and is now broadly average.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The new headteacher has inspired the trust and confidence of parents, pupils and staff. She is
knowledgeable, efficient and approachable.
- The headteacher and executive headteacher work extremely well together as a dynamic force
with a vision for the very highest standards for pupils. Their ambition and drive is shared by all
who work in the school. Staff and parents are unanimous in their view that the school is doing
exceptionally well under this leadership.
- Leaders have an accurate picture of how well the school is performing and improvement
priorities are set out in clear plans in order to tackle any underperformance. This is because
leaders check the progress of pupils regularly and use this information to hold teachers to
- They also check the quality of teaching and work in pupils’ books and then provide accurate
feedback to help teachers to improve. This information is used well to manage the performance
of teachers and ensure pay is commensurate with that of performance. As a result, the quality of
teaching has improved so that it is good and sometimes better.
- The Trust is having a significant impact on improvements in the school. The expertise of staff is
developed across the Trust so that the best examples of performance are shared. For example,
the middle leaders from all four schools are taking part in leadership training together. The Trust
is able to recruit high calibre teaching staff through its links with a local university.
- Middle leaders are knowledgeable and ambitious. They receive good support from senior leaders
and have an equally strong understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of achievement and
- The curriculum has a bias towards English and mathematics and this is helping to raise
standards. However, pupils have good opportunities to apply their skills in other subjects, such
as science. There are extensive opportunities for pupils to enjoy additional activities, including
visits out of school, which are widening pupils’ horizons and helping them to develop good
spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness.
- The primary school sport funding has been used effectively to extend the range of sports on
offer. Specialist coaches, for example in gymnastics and dance, work alongside teachers.
Teachers report that their skills and confidence have increased as a result. Pupils say they enjoy
the increased sports competitions that are now provided.
- The school is a caring, safe environment where safeguarding practices meet statutory
- The local authority provides effective support through a school improvement professional who
visits the school regularly and provides high quality reports to the governing body.
- The governance of the school:
Governors bring a range of individual skills that are used effectively to support the school. For
example, one has a health and safety background and another works in school improvement.
Governors visit the school regularly during the school day and also ask challenging questions
As a result, governors are knowledgeable about achievement, safety and the quality of
teaching. They use information well to reward good teaching. Successful action has been
taken in the recent past to tackle underperformance so that teaching is now consistently good.
The Chair of the Governing Body and executive headteacher are both directors of the Tudhoe
Learning Trust. This is ensuring good communication between the governing body and the
Governors ensure resources such as the pupil premium funding are used effectively. They
review data and ask questions about any gaps in pupils’ performance. They have ensured
action has been taken so that any gap in achievement between eligible pupils and their
classmates has closed by the time pupils leave Year 6.
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 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.
|Unique reference number||138555|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Primary|
|School category||Academy sponsor-led|
|Age range of pupils||3–11|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||152|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||Not previously inspected|
|Telephone number||01388 603588|
|Fax number||01388 603588|