Graham James Primary Academy

Name Graham James Primary Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 28 November 2019
Address The Sorrells, Corringham, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, SS17 7ES
Phone Number 01375675889
Type Primary
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 470 (53% boys 47% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 25.3
Academy Sponsor Graham James Primary Academy
Local Authority Thurrock
Percentage Free School Meals 11.1%
Percentage English is Not First Language 4.7%
Persisitent Absence 11.6%
Pupils with SEN Support 18.3%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No


Graham James Primary Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils love attending Graham James Primary Academy. Pupils feel happy and safe in school.

Teachers have high expectations of what pupils can achieve. Staff have created a culture where pupils confidently try again when they have made mistakes. Pupils are keen to explore new ideas and enjoy their learning. Teachers prompt pupils to think deeply about what they know and what they need to know. This enables them to share their views confidently.

Pupils’ behaviour is positive in lessons and around school. Pupils know the difference between what is right and wrong. Pupils show respect to each other and their teachers. They enjoy good relationships with staff. There is a strong sense of community within the school and working together is important to all. Bullying is rare. When it does occur, it is dealt with quickly by teachers.

Parents speak highly of staff. A number of parents stated how their child has come on ‘in leaps and bounds’ since joining the school. Pupils benefit from wide-ranging provision for personal development which is responsive to pupils’ needs. For example, pupils and parents appreciate the focus on supporting mental health through activities such as the school’s ‘mental health day’.

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

In early years children make an excellent start to their education. Nursery children, including two-year-olds, quickly gain the skills they need to learn to read. The focus on talking and listening helps children enjoy stories read to them. Children entering the school with little speech are well supported through conversation and role-play. Teachers skilfully use the school’s chosen phonics programmes. Their subject knowledge about developing early reading skills means that many children become confident early readers by the end of Reception.Leaders believe in their mantra ‘no reader left behind’. They ensure that struggling readers are well supported. Many such pupils catch up rapidly and enjoy reading as a hobby. Older pupils are equally enthusiastic about reading, whether talking about authors they admire or the books they have read. Pupils use a range of techniques, such as skimming and scanning, to understand what they read. Parents appreciate the workshops on reading and the helpful communication through pupils’ reading records.

As pupils progress through the school they become adept at writing at length. They understand the importance of accuracy with spelling and punctuation. Pupils learn from their mistakes. They independently use different ways to remember how to spell tricky words. Pupils commented that it was helpful when teachers used examples of types of writing as a starting point for their writing. They said that it helps them express their ideas.

Mathematics is taught well. Teachers explain methods clearly and show pupils how to work out complex calculations. Teachers’ careful planning introduces new knowledge that builds on what pupils have learned before. Leaders provide valuable training and support for staff. The focus on making mathematics fun means that pupils enjoy mathematics. Pupils say that they ‘love mathematics especially when they have problems they have to work out together in class’.

Leaders and staff have worked on developing their chosen thematic approach across the curriculum. Their ambition is for pupils to gain a rich store of knowledge in all subjects. This is starting to make a difference in subjects such as history, where the knowledge and skills that pupils learn is clear. Pupils remember what they learned previously. For example, Year 6 pupils accurately recounted facts about the life and times of the ancient Egyptians which they studied last year. They could explain how their historical skills have developed from their current learning based on the First World War. While this is the case for most subjects, the modern foreign language (MFL) subject plan is less well structured. Pupils lack the opportunity to practise the language and vocabulary they have learned. Staff are not confident teaching MFL and their subject knowledge is not as secure.

Leaders provide pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) with the right support. Teaching assistants know pupils well and the school uses specialists where needed. Pupils with SEND are able to access the learning and enjoy the same broad curriculum as their peers.

In lessons, pupils concentrate well and listen carefully. Learning is rarely interrupted. Pupils enjoy being at school and pupils’ attendance has improved.

Leaders want pupils to appreciate diversity. There is a strong focus on ensuring that pupils understand life in modern Britain. To help this, leaders organise purposeful cultural trips and visiting speakers.

Leaders and governors are careful to ensure that teachers’ workload is manageable. Teachers appreciate this and staff morale is high.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders, governors and staff make safeguarding a priority. All understand their statutory duties and how to keep pupils safe. Everyone who works at the school has received up-to-date safeguarding training. All concerns are logged and monitored carefully. Leaders ensure that external agencies provide timely support to vulnerable pupils and their families. Leaders are aware of the risks associated to the local community and ensure that pupils know how to keep themselves safe. Pupils also know how to keep themselves safe online. They feel confident to share any worries or concerns with staff.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Leaders have made a good start to developing a well-sequenced and coherently planned curriculum which ensures that pupils learn well across a broad range of subjects. Leaders should embed their chosen thematic approach of delivery so that pupils know and remember more over time in all subjects. . Leaders need to make sure that the planning of MFL is as good as the other subjects. In addition, leaders need to provide appropriate training for staff so they improve their subject knowledge and their confidence with the delivery of MFL throughout key stage 2.


When we have judged a school to be good we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good. This is called a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we judged the predecessor school, also called Graham James Primary Academy, to be good on 16–17 January 2013.