Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Voluntary Academy

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About Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Voluntary Academy

Name Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Voluntary Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Lucy Saxton
Address Mere Lane, Armthorpe, Doncaster, DN3 2DB
Phone Number 01302833941
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 190
Local Authority Doncaster
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders have created a caring and supportive ethos where every pupil and member of staff is valued. Being kind and encouraging others are a way of life in this school. As one pupil said: 'We don't judge people.

Being kind is the most important thing of all.' Pupils behave incredibly well and show positive attitudes to their learning and each other. Pupils are confident that adults will resolve any rare cases of bullying.

Pupils choose a trusted adult who they can turn to with any difficulties or worries. They say that all adults in school help them to feel safe and well cared for.

Leaders have a strong desire for all pupils to achieve well.

Pupils pa...rticipate in a range of experiences. These include a school choir, residentials, fundraising and visits to care homes for the elderly. Pupils enjoy the well-being afternoons each Friday where they take part in activities such as board games, yoga and meditation.

Pupils also relish responsibilities, such as being a special friend for the new Reception children.

Leaders have worked hard to involve parents and carers in their children's learning. Staff make a home visit to all pupils before they join the school.

Regular workshops and stay and play events help parents to know what their children are learning so they can support this at home.

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

Leaders have brought about considerable improvements to pupils' achievement and behaviour. They are determined that all pupils, including those who are disadvantaged or with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), should be successful.

Leaders are part-way through designing a new curriculum. In subjects such as English, mathematics and science, the curriculum is carefully sequenced. This helps pupils to build their knowledge over time.

Whole-school systems give teachers clarity about what to teach and the most appropriate methods to use. New teachers receive training and support. This gives them the expertise needed to use these approaches consistently.

Some subjects are at an earlier stage of development. They have not been as coherently planned and sequenced. For example, in art, some isolated activities do not build on pupils' prior learning well enough.

In contrast, some art units of work gradually build pupils' skills. This allows them to produce a high-quality final piece of work, making choices about which materials and techniques to use. Leaders have identified that the curriculum in some subjects needs further development.

It is clear from their actions that this is being effectively addressed.

Leaders have prioritised reading since the inspection of the predecessor school. Reading is central to the school's curriculum.

The timetable ensures that pupils have lots of opportunities to read and be read to. Most pupils meet the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening check. Almost every pupil reaches the standard by the end of Year 2.

Leaders are determined that even more pupils should read with accuracy, fluency and understanding by the time they begin Year 2. With this in mind, an early reading leadership role was created. This has given greater capacity to provide training and support for staff so that they can become experts in the teaching of phonics.

The whole-school approach begins at the start of Reception. It continues until pupils are secure with their phonics knowledge. Pupils who fall behind with reading, including those with SEND, are spotted straight away.

They are receiving additional support which is helping them catch up as quickly as possible.

Pupils spend lots of time practising reading in school. Leaders have made sure that in the early stages of learning to read, pupils read books that are well matched to their phonics knowledge.

This helps them read with accuracy and growing fluency. Teachers' love of reading is evident. For example, in Reception, children were eager to show me the treasure chest full of books which they have enjoyed being read to them.

Pupils are engrossed in story time each day and enjoy hearing teachers use different voices which bring the characters to life. Pupils say they enjoy reading. The range of texts they encounter through the English curriculum helps them to broaden their reading choices.

Pupils' personal development is fostered very effectively. It makes a strong contribution to the warm and caring relationships which are evident throughout the school. Pupils and their parents are unfailingly positive about the school.

Pupils love learning and are keen to do well. They behave exceptionally well and support and encourage each other to be successful. They particularly value the well-being afternoons which support their physical and mental health.

Leaders' actions to improve pupils' attendance are resulting in some success overall. However, too many pupils with SEND or who are disadvantaged are regularly absent.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have created a strong culture of safeguarding. They have developed systems which support them in responding to concerns appropriately and in a timely manner. External agencies provide effective specialist support so that pupils and families get the help they need.

Leaders' training and updates make sure that staff feel well informed and are confident to raise any concerns.

The curriculum incorporates plentiful opportunities for pupils to learn how to keep themselves safe. This includes being safe when pupils are online, crossing the road or riding a bicycle.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

The curriculum is not developed well enough in some subjects. In these subjects, leaders have not mapped out the curriculum coverage with enough detail to help teachers know how to build pupils' knowledge more effectively over time. Leaders need to continue their work to devise effective plans for every subject and make sure that these are implemented throughout the school.

. The teaching of early reading has been improved since the last inspection. Leaders should continue to make sure that the approach is embedded well so that even more pupils are reading with accuracy and fluency at an earlier stage.

. A high proportion of disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND are persistently absent. Leaders should make sure that attendance for these groups of pupils continues to improve further so they are not disadvantaged by poor attendance.

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