OFSTED Report / SIAMS Report
Our school was last inspected in December 2007. We were judged to be an Outstanding School.
This outstanding school provides a high standard of education which prepares pupils extremely well for the future both academically and personally. The vast majority of parents are extremely pleased with what the school provides. Many comment that it is an exceptional school and feel very pleased to have chosen to have their children taught there.
Pupils’ achievement is outstanding and standards are exceptionally high in English, mathematics and science. Children get off to a good start in the Foundation Stage as a result of the good provision. This is built on very effectively in the rest of the school through an outstanding curriculum and teaching which is consistently good and often exemplary. Lessons invariably feature very positive relationships between pupils and staff with high expectations of effort and behaviour. Teachers make lessons fun and interesting through the effective use of resources and regular opportunities for practical work and discussion. They successfully communicate their own very good subject knowledge to pupils who concentrate very well and work hard as a result. The pace and challenge in lessons enable the many very able pupils to achieve highly in every lesson. Teaching assistants work very effectively to support pupils’ learning, and contribute strongly to the exceptional progress made by pupils who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Teachers give pupils very clear criteria for success in their work. Pupils demonstrate well developed skills in evaluating their own learning and have a good knowledge of what it takes to improve their work. This is one of the reasons for their rapid progress.
Despite high standards at the end of both key stages over a number of years, the school is not complacent. Leaders and managers have acted swiftly to address the imbalance in the standards attained between boys and girls at the end of Key Stage 1 in 2007. Additional resources have been purchased, targeted support provided and the curriculum adapted to include a higher ratio of practical tasks in lessons. As a result, boys and girls do equally well throughout the school.
Excellent self-evaluation enables the school to have an accurate view of its effectiveness. This is used very effectively to focus on key areas for improvement. For example, the school has recognised that systems to track pupils’ progress need to be further refined so that the information gained can by used quickly to plan actions to maintain the rate of progress made by pupils. Governors play a full part in the school’s strategic leadership and effective management. The headteacher and the school’s leadership team are successful in providing the highest quality academic and personal education for each pupil. As such, the school is in an excellent position to improve even further.
Outstanding care includes robust safeguarding procedures and excellent levels of guidance and support. These contribute greatly to pupils feeling safe and secure, and in turn to their academic and personal success. Valuing others is embedded in the school’s ethos and through the pupils’ excellent spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. This is evident in their response to the many opportunities to raise funds or be involved in the work of charities, and in the pride they demonstrate in their various roles of responsibility including that of the school council. The pupils have a high degree of self-confidence and self-esteem; they behave outstandingly well. Their enjoyment is evident in their consistently above average attendance. Pupils are very aware of the need to lead a healthy lifestyle. There are exceptional opportunities for them to take part in sporting activities and levels of participation, and enjoyment are high. Every day brings exciting learning opportunities; during early morning sessions the hall is full with pupils of all ages engaged in the discipline of karate, at lunchtimes younger pupils can be seen engrossed in mastering the skills of chess and after school both girls and boys enter with enthusiasm into the rigours of Irish dancing. Some are less enthusiastic, however, about making healthy eating choices, still preferring to eat the things they like best rather than those which they know are better for them.
National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools Report
Our school was last inspected in July 2013.
The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Whickham Parochial as a Church of England school are outstanding
- Outstanding Christian ethos rooted in love, lies at the heart of this successful school and permeates all areas of school life. As a result, high expectations and exemplary pastoral care enable all to flourish; individual needs are met. Parents comment that their children feel safe, valued, supported and challenged to reach their full potential.
- The strong and effective leadership of the Head Teacher and Deputy Head Teacher supported by a committed team of staff, governors and the local church community.
- The clear and explicit Christian ethos based upon high expectation, mutual support and outstanding pastoral care
- The children’s enjoyment of all aspects of school life, including the spiritual, and especially Collective Worship.
The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners
The Christian character at Whickham Parochial Church of England (Voluntary Controlled) Primary School is evident in the high-quality relationships that exist between all members of the school community. There is a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere because Christian values underpin the school’s ethos and are constantly evidenced in the work of the school. As Christian values are high on the agenda, children respect and understand many points of view. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding, and as a result, pupil behaviour is exemplary; very good attitudes make a positive contribution to learning and relationships. Children understand how their decision making affects both self and others and how God can help them make the right decisions.
Parents speak warmly of the very good relationships that exist between the school and parental body and, as one parent expressed, “Care for our children is underpinned by the ethos of caring for the child as a whole as well as providing a good standards of education”. This statement is backed up by the schools own data which shows that all children achieve well and continue to make good progress. This is as a result of the school’s commitment towards meeting the needs of all learners at the highest level and developing the whole child, both academically and spiritually. In all year groups children learn about the content of Religious Education at the same time as they improve their skill development. Because of this they learn to become good citizens through conflict resolution and exploring the links between rights and responsibilities. Children feel safe and report that there is no bullying as ‘the buddies and staff look after you’; they know who to turn to if they are worried or concerned.
High quality displays and artefacts are used to promote the school’s distinctive Christian ethos as well as supporting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Christian values impact further upon pupils’ personal development because the school actively promotes regular fundraising activities contributing towards Christian stewardship and global community cohesion as well as allowing the children to experience the Christian values of service and gratitude.
The impact of collective worship on the school community is outstanding
Worship is a key element in the Christian distinctiveness and witness of the school, contributing to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the whole community. Inclusive acts of worship are planned around a cycle of carefully selected themes, including key questions for reflection and citizenship. These provide opportunities for spiritual development, to learn about the Anglican year, the significance of biblical texts and SEAL themes and issues.
Celebration of the Eucharist takes place regularly throughout the year with the parish family joining the school on these occasions; this does much to cement their relationships and to remind the children that they belong to an Anglican family. Pupils fully realise the importance worship plays in the life of the school; they behave well and their reverence ensures that worship takes place in an atmosphere of calm and respect.
Staff take an active part as worshippers alongside the children and a variety of people participate in leading worship including local clergy and the children themselves thus are providing diversity and richness in the worshipping experiences within the school. In discussion, pupils were able to clearly articulate their perceptions of worship and how it may be used to affect the school community; they see worship as ‘a special time where they “learn about God” and learn “how to be nicer to each other”.
Reflection provides opportunities for all pupils, including those of other faiths, to ‘think about what’s been happening and if you are wrong, say sorry.’ Children understand the importance of Jesus Christ and “how he spread the word of God”.
The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding
The Head Teacher, supported by a very effective Deputy Head Teacher, is committed to promoting a distinctive vision based upon Christian values. Thoughtful and insightful leadership, together with secure partnership with governors, is based firmly upon Christian values that are clearly articulated. Within the school community there is no doubt that this is a Church school as the ethos of trust, support and corporate ownership is understood, valued and embodied by all those connected with the school and in the wider community. One governor pointed out that, “The staff are wholly supportive of the core Christian values and highlight them in a positive way”.
Parents are very appreciative of all the school has to offer. Governors are effective in their role because they have good procedures in place for seeking the views of parents and children. For example, analysis of recent questionnaires reflects the genuine consultation that takes place, and the school’s follow-up response makes everyone feel valued and ensures high levels of satisfaction and respect for the work of the school. The Governing Body closely monitors the work of the school. A degree of critical challenge ensures that they know the school well and also have a good understanding of its development priorities. Close links exist and are valued between the school, the church and the local community. The church building is well used and the vicar makes an excellent contribution to the distinctiveness of the school as a church school, supporting both worship and pastoral care.