Lower Darwen Primary School

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About Lower Darwen Primary School

Name Lower Darwen Primary School
Website http://www.lowerdarwenprimary.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Steven Cumbo
Address Milking Lane, Lower Darwen, BB3 0RB
Phone Number 0125455639
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 379
Local Authority Blackburn with Darwen
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are happy to attend each day and they are proud of their school. They feel that they are supported well by their teachers and other staff. This helps them to feel safe in school.

Leaders have ensured that pupils are eager to help each other, whether this be with learning or at playtimes. Pupils, including those who attend the specially resourced provision for pupils with SEND (specially resourced provision), are confident, articulate ambassadors. Added to this, they have many opportunities to represent the school, for example in different sporting competitions.

Leaders have high expect...ations of what pupils can achieve, regardless of their background or the challenges that they may face. Similarly, leaders expect the best of pupils' behaviour. Pupils value the rewards that they receive for positive behaviour.

They are keen to do their best, and take pride in their work. Pupils behave calmly and courteously at social times.

Staff deal with incidents of bullying quickly and effectively.

When appropriate, leaders ensure that staff are trained well to help and support pupils to resolve any friendship issues that may arise.

The school sits at the heart of the local community. Parents and carers value the support offered by staff.

For example, staff signpost where families can go to get practical help that they might need.

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

Leaders have designed an ambitious and well-ordered curriculum that is informed by the needs of pupils, including children in the early years. Pupils, including pupils in the specially resourced provision, achieve well across the curriculum.

Children in the early years learn the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed in Year 1.

For the most part, leaders have thought carefully about how pupils' learning in each subject builds on what they already know, from the early years through to Year 6. However, in a few subjects, leaders are not as clear about the building blocks of knowledge that pupils should learn.

In these subjects, teachers are less confident to design learning that supports pupils to build securely on their prior knowledge.

Mostly, teachers are knowledgeable about their subjects. They use their expertise to design learning for pupils and to provide explanations with clarity.

Added to this, most teachers are skilled at checking regularly on pupils' learning and putting support in place for pupils who are in danger of falling behind. That said, in a few subjects, some teachers have not received sufficient training to deliver some aspects of the curriculum with confidence. From time to time, this hinders some staff in choosing the most appropriate activities to help pupils to learn the intended curriculum.

Leaders have ensured that pupils with SEND are identified by staff at the earliest possible stage. Leaders make sure that staff receive training on how to best support pupils with SEND to access the curriculum. This includes pupils who attend the specially resourced provision.

Pupils with SEND are fully involved in all aspects of school life, including participating in competitive sports.

As soon as children join the Reception Year, they begin learning phonics. Leaders have ensured that staff are equipped well to deliver the phonics programme.

Staff choose books for pupils to read that carefully match the sounds that they have learned. Teachers check on pupils' progress through the phonics curriculum frequently. Leaders ensure that pupils who fall behind receive the support that they need to catch up quickly.

As a result, almost all pupils can read with accuracy and fluency by the end of Year 2.

Older pupils enjoy reading. For example, they were keen to tell inspectors about the books they were reading to support their learning in other subjects.

During lessons, pupils show interest and enthusiasm for the topics that they are learning about. Disruption to learning during lessons is rare. Well-established routines in the early years support children to learn independently.

Pupils attend school regularly.

Leaders' personal development programme is designed to ensure that pupils develop self-belief, determination, integrity, courage, leadership and entrepreneurship. For example, pupils have been supported to set up their own businesses to raise money for charity.

Pupils understand, and firmly believe in, the importance of respecting individual differences and beliefs without discrimination. They have a strong understanding of fundamental British values and how these help to shape our modern society. Leaders have taken great care to ensure that pastoral support from staff supports pupils to develop as resilient, confident individuals.

Leaders and governors are informed well about the strengths of the school and those aspects that require further development. For example, leaders have already made several positive changes to the wider school curriculum. These changes are having a positive impact on pupils' learning.

Mostly, leaders are mindful of staff's well-being, and they are careful not to create unnecessary workload.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders work together effectively to identify and help vulnerable pupils and their families, when needed.

Leaders ensure that staff receive current, suitable safeguarding training. This ensures that all staff remain alert to the signs that may indicate a pupil is at risk of harm.

Leaders have been highly successful in building strong relationships with outside agencies.

This ensures that pupils and their families receive timely and appropriate support.

Through the well-designed personal, social, health and economic education curriculum, pupils learn how to keep themselves safe. For example, they understand the importance of respecting other people's wishes and personal space.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a small number of subjects, leaders have not ensured that the specific building blocks of knowledge that pupils should learn are clear enough to teachers. In these subjects, teachers are less able to design learning that supports pupils to build logically on what they already know. Leaders should ensure that teachers have the information that they need to design learning for pupils that builds sequentially towards ambitious end-points.

• In a few subjects, some teachers have not received the support and training that they need to deliver some aspects of the curriculum with confidence. On occasion, this prevents some staff from choosing the most appropriate activities to help pupils to learn the intended curriculum. Leaders should ensure that all staff are equipped well to design learning for pupils.

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