Castletown Primary School

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About Castletown Primary School

Name Castletown Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Lee Duncan
Address Grange Road, Castletown, Sunderland, SR5 3EQ
Phone Number 01915497777
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 378
Local Authority Sunderland
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils embody the school values. They are welcoming, respectful, hardworking, caring and kind. Pupils are proud of their school and its grounds.

They say behaviour is good. Teachers deal with any issues, including bullying, immediately. Pupils cannot remember bullying happening in the recent past.

Pupils work hard in class. They respond to teachers' ambitious expectations of them. They also behave well in lessons and want to succeed for themselves.

Days are full of fun. Most pupils play happily together with a range of equipment at break and lunchtime. The 'crafty cabin' is a particular favourite.

Music is everywhere. Pupils play a variety of wind an...d stringed instruments. After school clubs have good attendance.

These include a variety of sports, the choir and the citizenship club. The citizenship club recently planted sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, when discussing world-wide issues.

Pupils feel safe in school.

They know how to raise a concern and feel comfortable sharing it with an adult. Some ask to speak with the school counsellor. Pupils learn what is right and what is wrong.

They show tolerance and respect. They learn about different cultures, faiths and family structures.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders have worked hard to address gaps in learning as a result of disruption caused by COVID-19.

Reading has been a priority and is now a strength of the school. Phonics is integrated into daily teaching for younger pupils. Teachers are methodical in recapping known sounds.

Staff are well trained. They help pupils learn new words and sounds. Leaders make sure expert teachers work with lower-attaining pupils.

Teachers select books to match the sounds and words pupils already know. Pupils in Years 1 and 2 are becoming fluent, confident readers. Year 6 school librarians keep the new library in order.

They suggest themes for book displays. Librarians collect book recommendations from pupils. There are author spotlights with letters from known authors to the school.

The 'Reading Hall of Fame' display celebrates pupils' reading achievements.

Leaders have designed a curriculum to link key ideas together. In most subjects, like mathematics and art and design, leaders have clearly planned this out.

Teachers in mathematics lessons repeat important facts. This helps pupils remember them. Lessons start with a recap session so that pupils practice and embed key ideas.

In art and design, teachers plan lessons that build learning progressively. Concepts such as painting, drawing and sculpture are taught sequentially across year groups. Curriculum thinking in some subjects is not as well developed.

The key knowledge pupils must remember lacks coherence and structure.

In most subjects, teachers assess what pupils know and can do effectively. They make daily checks on what pupils have grasped.

This helps teachers to plan work accordingly or devise immediate extra support. More detailed termly assessment is used in mathematics and English. This helps teachers understand pupils' broader attainment.

In some subjects, assessment is over-complicated. Systems do not enable staff to check if learning has moved from working memory to long-term memory. Checks on what pupils must know and remember in some foundation subjects are vague.

They do not help teachers identify gaps or misconceptions.

Behaviour in lessons and attitudes to learning are consistently positive. These attitudes start in the early years.

Children in Nursery are independent and curious. Similarly in Reception, groups work together well. The environment supports their learning across the curriculum.

Children respond to questions and are polite and courteous. This continues through school. Pupils work with endeavour and purpose.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) do not miss out on what they need. The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) is skilled in identifying pupils who may need extra help. All receive the same curriculum offer.

Pupils with SEND receive extra support before a unit of work and have subject-specific vocabulary reminders available.

Each week starts with a 'character statement' from the headteacher. This is shared in class or in reflection areas.

Pupils learn about citizenship and respect. They raise money for charitable causes close to home. Older pupils assume positions of responsibility.

These include head girl and boy, star prefects, house captains or the 'Wellbeing Rainbow Team'. Good use of local areas of interest expands pupils' appreciation of the world they live in. Staff take pupils on visits to the beach, the local dene and a residential trip to an outdoor adventure centre.

Morale among staff is high. Staff know leaders will support them. Leaders take positive action to make sure everyone's workload is manageable.

Staff describe their colleagues as an extended family. They appreciate the approachability of senior leaders.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Systems to keep pupils safe are meticulous. All staff know how to spot signs that a pupil may need extra help or attention. Staff know the local safeguarding risks.

Training equips staff to address these issues should they arise. Staff know the procedure to report a concern about a colleague, including leaders. Leaders work closely with safeguarding partners such as the community police, when appropriate.

Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe such as around water, on roads or online. They know who to speak to about a concern and are confident to do so.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Curriculum thinking in some foundation subjects is muddled and the curriculum lacks structure in these subjects.

Essential knowledge is not clearly identified and key ideas that link learning are unclear. Pupils are unable to make connections to what they already know. They cannot apply their knowledge into larger concepts.

Leaders should implement their plans to ensure that the school's curriculum is sufficiently well planned and sequenced in all subjects. ? Assessment systems in some subjects are not sharp enough. Checks are not made to discover if the knowledge pupils should have acquired is transferred to their long-term memory.

It is not clear whether pupils have the essential knowledge needed for future learning in these subjects. Gaps in pupils' knowledge and skills are not being consistently identified. Leaders must continue to develop and implement a consistent approach to assessment in every curricular subject so that pupils' skills and knowledge are checked accurately.

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