High Spen Primary School

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About High Spen Primary School

Name High Spen Primary School
Website http://highspenprimary.org
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Andrew Firth
Address Hugar Road, High Spen, Rowlands Gill, NE39 2BQ
Phone Number 01207542373
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 199
Local Authority Gateshead
Highlights from Latest Inspection


High Spen Primary School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders put pupils at the heart of all they do at High Spen Primary School.

Pupils feel they are part of an extended family. Those pupils that have been awarded leadership badges, for example school council member, wear them with honour. The school motto of 'looking out for each other' is fulfilled by the positive relationships between pupils and also with the adults that care for them.

Pupils feel looked after and safe.

Leaders have high expectations of pupils. Staff share these expectations.

Pupils are engaged in learning and achieve well. One parent, echoing ...the views of many, said: 'My children are thriving in school; their needs are understood and met. All staff go the extra mile to ensure children are happy and listened to.'

Pupils are tolerant of differences. They understand that some families are different. Older pupils were keen to share their understanding of the need for everyone to be treated equally.

Bullying is not tolerated. Staff deal with it quickly when it does happen.

Pupils are excited by the range of activities available to them outside lessons.

For example, pupils work with a food bank to reduce food waste. Pupils learn how to cook healthy food on a limited budget. Pupils were particularly happy that drama club had started up after the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented pupils working together to prepare a performance.

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

Reading is a priority at High Spen Primary School. Leaders have ensured that all staff have the training they need to skilfully teach children to read. Children begin to learn to read as soon as they start in the Reception Year.

Staff teach sounds accurately and use tools such as 'use your robot arms' to help the pupils to decode and blend sounds accurately. As a result, pupils learn to read with fluency and confidence.

Leaders work hard to give pupils the opportunity to develop a love of reading.

Books are everywhere in school. Teachers regularly read books to their classes. Pupils have worked with adults to redesign the library to make it an enticing place for reading, well-being and reflection.

In each classroom, there are wrapped 'books to treasure' that are about diverse topics or from new authors. Pupils are excited to unwrap and discover these new adventures into reading.

Children in early years make a strong start to their learning journey.

Leaders have designed the curriculum to help children to be well prepared for the move into Year 1. Staff design activities that are tailored to individual needs. Staff regularly check to make sure that children remember what they are taught.

Children who need extra help to keep up are provided with effective support which helps them to be ready for the next stage of their education.

In some subjects, leaders have put in place a rigorous programme of training that has ensured that the curriculum is delivered consistently and effectively. For example, in mathematics, teachers encourage pupils to calculate mentally and reason verbally to explain their answers.

As a result, pupils are quick to complete calculations accurately.

In some subjects, such as history and religious education, leaders have created detailed curriculum plans that build pupils' knowledge over time. In most lessons, teachers design tasks that help pupils to remember the content they are being taught.

In some classes, teachers do not have a strong understanding of the subject they teach. They do not create opportunities for pupils to revisit key knowledge, such as the festivals in different faiths. As a result, some pupils have gaps in their knowledge.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are quickly identified. Support plans clearly outline the support that pupils with SEND need to access the same curriculum as their peers. Teachers skilfully use these plans to ensure that activities are purposefully adapted and appropriate.

As a result, pupils with SEND achieve well.

Pupils understand the importance of the rule of law and democracy. Pupils put this into action when they vote for their school council representatives.

Pupils know their opinions are heard. For example, the school council put a successful bid to the governors for a new climbing frame after taking a poll from their classmates.

Staff are proud to work at the school and feel that their well-being is a priority for leaders and governors.

Leaders ensure that there is time for staff to plan together. This contributes to the staff feeling valued and cared for.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff at High Spen know their pupils and families well. Leaders ensure that staff regularly attend safeguarding training. As a result, staff notice any concerns early and report them promptly.

Leaders follow up concerns quickly and effectively.

Leaders undertake the appropriate checks when recruiting staff. They ensure that all staff understand their responsibility to keep pupils safe.

Leaders adjust the personal, social and health education curriculum to reflect emerging local safeguarding risks.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few subjects, leaders have not ensured that the curriculum has been implemented as intended. Some pupils do not have the opportunity to regularly revisit important knowledge.

As a result, some pupils do not learn the content identified in leaders' curriculum plans. Leaders should ensure that staff receive subject-specific training in order to teach all subjects well.


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 or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, 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 deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in February 2012.

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