Downs Junior School

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About Downs Junior School

Name Downs Junior School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Giovanni Franceschi
Address Rugby Road, Brighton, BN1 6ED
Phone Number 01273558422
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 7-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 508
Local Authority Brighton and Hove
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Parents, pupils and staff are all extremely enthusiastic in their praise for the school's inclusive culture and community spirit. Pupils proudly talk about the opportunities and experiences they gain through their school. These include competitions, assemblies and a vast array of clubs, such as 'Downs Play', chess club, 'Mega Choir' and writing club, among many others.

Pupils come to school eager and ready to learn. They explore an interesting curriculum that enables them to achieve well and inspires them to do their best. Pupils foster a love of learning through the memorable experiences that staff plan and offer.

This includes a visit to an 'astrodome' in school, wh...ere pupils learn different information about space. Pupils state they 'feel lucky' to have their own underground air raid shelter where they gain a realistic experience of learning about life during World War II.

The school is ambitious for all pupils to achieve well.

Mostly, pupils behave well and work hard to meet the high expectations across the school. They demonstrate excellent social skills, quickly opening doors and greeting visitors with enthusiasm. There are strong links with the community and parents appreciate the school's nurturing approach in providing support for pupils.

Pupils feel safe at school. Bullying is rare and never tolerated.

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

The school has designed a curriculum which is broad and reflects their high expectations for all.

This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The school ensures that any additional needs of pupils are identified as early as possible. This enables staff to carefully plan how learning is adapted to ensure it meets pupil's individual needs.

As a result, pupils with SEND achieve well alongside their peers.

In some subjects, for example, mathematics, the curriculum is well established. Regular training and support ensure teachers have a clear understanding of what pupils need to ensure their knowledge and skills build over time.

For example, in mathematics, pupils are given regular opportunities to recall their knowledge to solve mathematical problems in different contexts. Pupils achieve well as they can make connections between different topics and remember their learning.

However, in a few subjects, the curriculum is at an earlier stage of development.

The precise knowledge that pupils need to know is not always clear. This means some activities teachers choose are not always closely matched to what pupils need to learn. This also makes it difficult for teachers to identify what pupils already know and address any gaps in knowledge quickly.

Pupils in these subjects are less confident in remembering what they had been taught before and how it links to what they are learning now.

Staff have developed a love of reading across the school. Pupils regularly share books and read independently.

More fluent readers talk positively about being part of the 'reading crew', who help less confident readers by practising their reading together. While reading is generally taught well, some phonics teaching is not as sharply focused as it could be. There is also some variability in the quality of extra support that some pupils receive.

However, the school knows this and is already acting to address these inconsistencies in helping all pupils learn to read.

During lessons, pupils mostly settle into routines that support learning. Usually learning is not disrupted.

If this does happen, staff usually manage this well. There are some occasions when the behaviour policy is not followed consistently by some staff. Pupils play together with care and respect during breaks and lunchtime, where there is a buzz of happy energy.

Staff work hard to support pupils' high levels of attendance across the school and effective support is in place, when needed, to help pupils attend regularly.

Pupils' personal development is carefully planned and woven throughout the whole school. Pupils are encouraged and develop strong, respectful, positive relationships and celebrate each other's differences.

Staff ensure that pupils' talents and interests thrive. Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with SEND benefit from their participation in the varied extra-curricular activities.

Staff are happy and effusive in their praise for leaders.

They feel extremely valued at this school. Leaders and governors manage staff's workload well and support them effectively.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• There are some inconsistencies in how well a small number of pupils are taught to read. This means that these pupils do not always learn to read quickly enough. The school should continue to take action to ensure all pupils learn to read confidently and fluently as quickly as possible.

• Staff do not always use appropriate checks to see if pupils are secure in their knowledge and skills before moving on to new learning. As a result, activities are not always planned carefully enough to help pupils achieve well across the curriculum. The school should ensure pupils' understanding is checked, so that any gaps or misconceptions can be identified to secure the intended learning.

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