Mill Lane Primary School

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About Mill Lane Primary School

Name Mill Lane Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Sue Skillcorn
Address Wellington Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1QX
Phone Number 01642860055
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 227
Local Authority Stockton-on-Tees
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a school where all pupils are welcomed and cared for. Leaders ensure that pupils develop 'leadership, organisation, resilience, initiative and communication' in everything that they do. Leaders have high expectations of pupils' behaviour and achievement.

This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and pupils who speak English as an additional language. Pupils are positive about their learning. They are keen to work hard in lessons.

Pupils start the morning with a free 'Magic Breakfast' in their classrooms. They look after each other and work hard to ensure everyone is treated with respect. This is demonstrated through pupils'... good behaviour around the school.'

Playground Friends' support younger pupils in the school to encourage them to try out new play equipment and games. This helps pupils to feel happy and safe.

Pupils are taught about different types of bullying.

Pupils have a strong sense of right and wrong. They feel confident to tell a member of staff if they are worried about anything. Bullying is rare.

Leaders deal with it appropriately. Pupils learn about equality, fairness and the importance of respecting cultural differences. Leaders and staff are determined to prepare pupils to be responsible citizens of the future.

Many pupils enjoy taking on the responsibility of being a member of the school council.

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

Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum for all pupils from Nursery to Year 6. For each subject, leaders have made clear the important knowledge, skills and vocabulary they want pupils to learn.

A high number of pupils learn to speak English after they join the school. Many of these pupils have gaps in their subject knowledge. A large proportion of pupils have SEND.

Some pupils with SEND, including many with education, health and care plans, benefit from the expertise of staff in Class 7 and Class 8. Pupils make good progress from their starting points. They develop knowledge and understanding over time.

This is because leaders make sure that pupils' needs are promptly identified. Pupils receive the support they need to learn the curriculum well from their different starting points.

In most subjects, including mathematics, teachers design activities that build on pupils' knowledge.

For example, in Nursery, children learn to pair wellington boots. This helps to prepare children for later work in Year 1 where they count in multiples of two. In physical education (PE), pupils practise important skills.

For instance, in tennis, the sports coach challenges older pupils to grip a tennis racquet correctly. This gives pupils the confidence to take part in whole-school sporting events. However, in history, recent changes to the curriculum have not been fully implemented.

Some activities do not build well on pupils' prior knowledge.

Reading is a high priority in school. Leaders ensure staff have expert knowledge to teach pupils to read using the school's phonics programme.

This includes pupils who do not speak English. Children in Nursery enjoy learning nursery rhymes and listening to stories such as 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears'. Staff ensure children learn and understand important vocabulary.

Children become familiar with letters and the sounds they make. This helps to prepare them for phonics lessons in Reception.

Leaders use assessment extremely well to identify pupils who need extra support in reading.

Pupils have extra sessions to ensure they become successful readers. Some of the books provided for older pupils learning to read do not match their phonic knowledge. This means that these pupils do not have enough practice in reading and re-reading books to help them gain confidence.

Leaders make effective use of the resources available in Class 7 and Class 8. For example, they ensure that all staff benefit from specialist training. Leaders arrange for therapists and other experts to provide specialist support for pupils with SEND.

Teachers adapt teaching and activities appropriately. Pupils with SEND learn well.

Children follow routines and expectations for behaviour and learning right from the start in Nursery.

They develop resilience and independence with support from nurturing staff. High levels of respect ensure pupils behave well. A few pupils do not attend school often enough.

Leaders are taking action to improve this.

The curriculum for pupils' character development is helping to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Pupils with SEND acquire the knowledge they need to understand healthy relationships.

Staff with expert knowledge help pupils to understand and manage strong emotions. This helps pupils to access the full curriculum. New pupils are welcomed by all.

Pupils celebrate their 'global family'. Pupils have a strong knowledge of equality and different cultures. Leaders make effective links with local businesses.

This helps pupils to make connections between the curriculum and future careers. There are a range of lunchtime and after-school clubs to ensure that all pupils develop their physical health and well-being. Activities include basketball and cricket.

Leaders ensure that staff receive training to help build their expertise. Staff are proud to work at the school. They appreciate that leaders take action to support their workload and well-being.

Governors show commitment to supporting the school. They challenge leaders to ensure the actions taken benefit all pupils.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure that all staff are well trained and understand their responsibilities in keeping children safe. Staff know pupils and their families well. This helps staff to be vigilant to concerns.

Leaders make sure systems for reporting concerns are clear and thorough. They analyse records and use this information to make changes to the curriculum. This means that pupils know how to keep themselves safe.

For example, pupils know how to stay safe online. Leaders work with different external agencies to support pupils and families if they need it.

Leaders make sure that appropriate checks have been made on all adults who work in the school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few foundation subjects, including history, the activities that teachers set for pupils do not sufficiently reflect the ambitious content of the intended curriculum. This means that some pupils do not always learn as well as they could. Leaders need to make sure they continue to support teachers to ensure learning activities match the aims of the curriculum.

• Some older pupils at the early stages of learning to read do not read from books that match their phonic knowledge. This means that some pupils do not develop reading fluency and confidence quickly enough. Leaders should make sure that these pupils are given books that are well matched to their phonic knowledge.

• Some pupils do not attend school often enough. These pupils do not benefit as well as they could from their education. Leaders need to continue to take action to reduce persistent absence.

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