Cotherstone Primary School

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About Cotherstone Primary School

Name Cotherstone Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Julie Gibson
Address Cotherstone, Barnard Castle, DL12 9QB
Phone Number 01833650491
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 54
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy attending Cotherstone Primary School. It is a small, welcoming and close-knit community. The school provides a nurturing environment where pupils can 'believe, aspire and thrive together'.

Staff know pupils very well. Pupils are happy, confident and respectful. The school ensures that the curriculum is relevant to the needs and interests of the pupils, for example drawing on many pupils' love of nature.

As a result, pupils are enthusiastic about their learning.

Teachers have high expectations of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils behave very well in lessons.

Teachers regularly pr...aise pupils and recognise their achievements. Pupils are motivated by the house points that they receive. Pupils learn to read and write well but are less secure in their mathematical understanding.

The school supports the personal development of all pupils well. Pupils are safe. They understand that every person is unique and that differences between people should be celebrated.

The school has provided pupils with opportunities to learn from a wide range of visiting speakers, such as a Buddhist monk, a representative from the nearby Sikh community and a footballer who is blind.

Pupils enjoy a range of educational visits and experiences that deepen their understanding of the curriculum.

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

The school has developed a curriculum that is broad and ambitious.

Pupils develop a rich body of knowledge and skills. From the early years through to Year 6, the school has thought carefully about the important knowledge that pupils should remember. The school plans opportunities for pupils to revisit this knowledge regularly over time.

Leaders have ensured that the curriculum is ambitious for all pupils, including those pupils with SEND. The school regularly reviews the support plans for pupils with SEND to make sure they meet individual needs.

The curriculum is taught well.

Teachers have secure subject knowledge. They provide pupils with clear explanations and instructions. Teachers focus on developing pupils' vocabulary.

This work begins in the early years. The school has recently developed its curriculum in mathematics. There is now a greater focus on improving pupils' fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills.

These changes are in the early stages of development. The school does not check what pupils know and remember effectively. Assessment procedures in the foundation subjects are not consistent.

As a result, the school does not consistently identify the gaps in pupils' knowledge or their misconceptions.

The school has prioritised the teaching of reading. Staff have received the training they need to ensure the reading curriculum is taught consistently well.

Staff quickly identify and support pupils who are not keeping up with the programme. Effective teaching is helping pupils to develop into keen, confident and fluent readers. In Nursery, children prepare well to learn to read.

They learn songs and rhymes that help them to begin to recognise letters and sounds. Older pupils, who need support with reading, follow a programme that helps them to catch up quickly. By the end of key stage 2, pupils achieve well in reading and writing.

Pupils behave well. The school has embedded routines that all pupils follow. In lessons, pupils are keen to answer questions and they work hard.

At social times, pupils enjoy mixing with their peers. They use the outdoor resources cooperatively. Older pupils act as role models for younger pupils each week on the 'buddy bench'.

This is when older pupils praise younger pupils for the work they have recently completed.

The school provides pupils with a range of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. For example, pupils enjoy roles on the school council, or as play leaders.

Pupils have a deep understanding of the importance of tolerance in society. Pupils enjoy extra-curricular activities such as music, sport and baking. The school teaches pupils to keep themselves safe online and offline.

Governors are ambitious for the school. They have an accurate understanding of the strengths of the school and the areas that need further development. Staff are proud to work at the school.

They value the recent training opportunities they have received. Parents and carers are highly supportive of the school's work. They appreciate the levels of high-quality communication.

They praise the quality of care that their children receive as well as the opportunities for personal development.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The implementation of the new mathematics curriculum is in the early stages.

This means the impact of the new curriculum has not been realised. Pupils have not always made the sustained progress in mathematics of which they are capable. The school must embed the new mathematics curriculum consistently so that pupils secure and deepen their fluency, reasoning and problem-solving skills.

• The school does not check what pupils know and remember consistently. This means that they do not identify and address the misconceptions that pupils have. The school must ensure that teachers check pupils' knowledge and understanding systematically so that gaps in knowledge and skills can be quickly identified and addressed.

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