Northwood Primary School

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About Northwood Primary School

Name Northwood Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Zoe Beach
Address Pendleton Road South, Darlington, DL1 2HF
Phone Number 01325267222
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 394
Local Authority Darlington
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Northwood Primary School continues to be a good school.

The headteacher of this school is Zoe Beach.

This school is part of Lingfield Education Trust, which means other people in the trust also have responsibility for running the school. The trust is run by the chief executive officer, Nick Blackburn, and overseen by a board of trustees, chaired by Stuart Crowther.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud of their school and full of praise for their 'great teachers'.

They are keen to show visitors the school's impressive 'Street' and talk about the reading and learning that takes place there. Pupils learn a curriculum that they find interesting. The...y like and remember much of what they study.

True to one of the school's virtues, pupils become resilient learners. Many become confident in their speaking, reading and writing.

From the start of the excellent early years, pupils learn to follow routines and treat one another with kindness.

Most pupils respond admirably to adults' high expectations for their behaviour and learning. Pupils are motivated by the simple, effective behaviour recognition programme. They are keen to earn 'jewels' and receive a 'cool' reward.

Significant numbers of pupils join the school throughout the school year. Pupils new to the school are made to feel welcome. Most are quick to settle into school routines.

Pupils learn a great deal about themselves and others through the well-thought-out programme of enrichment activities. For example, pupils explain how taking on one of the many leadership opportunities helped them to 'realise how confident [we] can be'.

Pupils feel safe and rarely experience bullying.

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

With effective support from the trust, leaders and staff provide well for pupils in this inclusive school. In designing an ambitious, flexible curriculum, leaders take account of the changing pupil cohorts. The school's thorough 'new-starter conversations' process is the initial point in shaping the curriculum to meet pupils' needs.

Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), learn a curriculum that gives them plenty of opportunities to revisit important 'sticky' knowledge. This helps many pupils gain a secure grasp of what they study. Many achieve well, including in national assessments.

As one pupil said, 'Reading is a really big thing,' at Northwood Primary School. From the start of the early years, adults focus on developing children's communication and literacy skills. In Nursery and Reception classes, adults involve children in lots of purposeful discussions.

Along with precise phonics teaching, this helps children to secure the important knowledge that they need to become fluent, confident readers and speakers. Pupils who find reading hard are supported to catch up. On the 'Street', there are plenty of books for pupils to pick up and read, and many do.

This helps sustain pupils' interest in reading.

Teachers have a secure knowledge of subjects and how to teach them. They typically use assessment to make sure pupils, including those with SEND and those new to the school, understand key facts.

In lessons, teachers draw pupils' attention to subject-specific vocabulary. Pupils use this vocabulary accurately in their work. Teachers usually provide pupils with well-judged resources and lots of time to practise what they study.

For example, in mathematics, teachers took the time to make sure pupils were fluent in their work on shapes. Pupils are well placed to attempt more complex learning. However, at times, some teachers do not use suitable activities or resources to help pupils learn best.

Where this is the case, pupils lose focus, and their learning slows.

The school is thorough in its identification of the needs of pupils with SEND. Leaders make sure that these pupils receive the right support to access the full curriculum and other activities on offer.

The school provides comprehensively for pupils' personal development. Pupils are prepared well for their futures. For example, they learn the features of positive relationships and understand that friendships have their ups and downs.

So, while there can be fallings-out between friends, these are brief and swiftly resolved. Pupils also develop a mature understanding of diversity and equality.

Teachers make clear their expectations for pupils' behaviour.

Pupils, including those new to the school, develop positive attitudes to their learning. They support each other as they go about their learning. Sometimes, a few pupils' conduct falls below staff's high expectations.

Teachers use the school's behaviour processes to manage these instances effectively. This means learning normally proceeds with little interruption.Most pupils' attendance is high.

This is not the case for some others. The school makes all reasonable efforts to ensure pupils attend well. This is helping to improve the attendance of pupils who do not attend as often as they should.

Staff are proud to work at the school. They receive a wide range of training and are well equipped to carry out their roles. Leaders take suitable steps to reduce staff's workload.

Parents hold the school in high regard.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• At times, teachers use learning activities and/or resources that are not well matched to pupils' needs, and do not check with sufficient rigour that pupils have understood what teachers intend for them to learn.

When this is the case, pupils' attention drifts and their learning slows. Leaders should ensure that teachers match learning to pupils' needs, so that pupils achieve equally well in each subject.


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 an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in January 2019.

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