Churchwood Primary Academy

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About Churchwood Primary Academy

Name Churchwood Primary Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Rob Smith
Address Church-in-the-Wood Lane, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN38 9PB
Phone Number 01424852326
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 245
Local Authority East Sussex
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a school that sits at the heart of the local community. Older pupils are particularly understanding of the needs of others. Pupils across the school act responsibly.

They know that some of their friends find it hard to behave perfectly all of the time. This includes those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). However, more than one pupil told inspectors that people are mostly kind at their school.

Another pupil reflected that 'Sometimes people are just rude to others. It's because they are too competitive.' Others in the group agreed.

They also agreed that staff work hard to make school enjoyable and safe for everyone.

St...aff have high expectations. They want all pupils to succeed.

Leaders understand the barriers many pupils face. They ensure that the school's curriculum is enriched with additional opportunities as far as possible. This includes in early years and in the school's specialist class for pupils with autism spectrum disorder.

Older pupils in key stage 2 are looking forward to their impending residential trip. One younger pupil told an inspector: 'My mum and dad wanted me to come here, and it turned out they were right! Because the school is good.' Inspectors agree.

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

Teaching and support staff are very focused on providing high-quality education that meets the needs of all pupils who attend Churchwood. Children in early years benefit from a similar personalised approach. Children in the new Reception Year have already settled well.

Visits to both nursery and reception classrooms showed well-planned learning environments. Developing children's language and communication skills is given a high priority. Specialist support staff are skilled at delivering speech and language therapy from the outset.

This support is particularly effective for pupils with SEND, including in early years.

Staff know pupils well. They are particularly adept at providing for pupils with SEND.

This includes senior leaders, who constantly evaluate how the school is doing. Leaders know and celebrate the school's strengths. They also understand the things that need to be better.

The school's curriculum is constantly evolving. Subject leaders are supported effectively by senior leaders from the school and the trust. This means that for most subjects, pupils are following a well-organised programme of learning.

Where this is not so strongly the case, leaders are aware and have started to review and revise planning.

Subjects such as mathematics, English and science are strengths of the curriculum. Leaders attach great importance to ensuring that pupils develop their reading skills early and securely.

They understand that pupils who cannot read confidently will struggle across the wider curriculum. Developing pupils' interest in books has been a priority over time. However, fresh initiatives also help with this.

Recent appointments of 'reading ambassadors' and the school's book vending machine were hot topics when inspectors talked to pupils.

The school recently introduced a new phonics programme. Consequently, staff received some additional training.

Resources to support them to deliver the programme are mostly in place. Most staff are confident and have the expertise to teach phonics well. Some need additional training to ensure that they teach phonics as effectively as they could.

The personal development and pastoral care of pupils are strong. The school provides pupils with a wide range of enrichment experiences, both on and off site. Older pupils are enthusiastic about visits to local castles or 'going up against' another school at football.

Pupils learn about equality and diversity through the school's personal, social and health education programme. This is supplemented by age-appropriate relationships and sex education. The school's own 'superhero values' support pupils in respecting others and building confidence and self-esteem.

All parents and carers that inspectors spoke to at the start of both days of the inspection were very positive about the school. This included praise for the way the school had supported families during the COVID-19 pandemic. A minority of parents who responded to Ofsted's online survey, Ofsted Parent View, were less positive about some aspects of the school.

Governance is provided by the multi-academy trust and by a local governing board. These arrangements are effective at holding leaders to account. Leaders are supported well by officers from the trust and from well-developed partnerships with other trust schools.

This works particularly well for pupils with SEND, who benefit from the shared expertise across the trust's schools. The trust also provides leaders with additional capacity to manage finances and human resources, as well as ensuring that policies are effective and updated in a timely manner.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The culture to safeguard pupils is strong. Staff know what to do if they have concerns. The school's extended safeguarding team works closely with external agencies to ensure that pupils and families get the support they need.

This includes pupils who do not attend school as often as they should.

The school and trust work closely with the local authority to ensure that systems and procedures to protect the welfare, health and safety of pupils and staff are fit for purpose. Staff safeguarding training is up to date.

Pre-employment checks are carried out diligently and in a timely manner.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Not all staff are as confident or as expert as they should be when teaching phonics. Some refresher training has taken place.

However, there are inconsistencies in the way the school's new phonics programme is being implemented in classrooms. Leaders should address this issue as a matter of urgency so that pupils benefit from consistently high-quality phonics teaching. ? Some curriculum subjects need further development regarding the long-term planning and sequencing of the knowledge pupils will learn over time.

Some subjects are more advanced than others. More needs to be done to ensure that curriculum planning, including in subjects such as music and modern foreign languages, enables teachers to design learning that builds on what pupils already know and can do. This will ensure that pupils are better prepared for their transition to secondary school across all curriculum subjects offered by the school.

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