St Aidan’s Church of England Primary School

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About St Aidan’s Church of England Primary School

Name St Aidan’s Church of England Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Lesley Steele
Address Derwentwater Road, Gateshead, NE8 2HQ
Phone Number 01914772690
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 219 (44.7% boys 55.3% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 19.0
Local Authority Gateshead
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

At St Aidan's Church of England Primary School, pupils are encouraged to 'shine like lights in the world'. Leaders ensure that the strong Christian ethos underpins the experience of everyone who attends or works at the school.

Different cultures are embraced. Visitors are made to feel welcome. Leaders have high expectations for pupils.

Pupils achieve well.

Pupils feel safe and happy at school. They are polite and courteous.

There are strong relationships between staff and pupils. There is a calm and purposeful learning atmosphere. On the rare occasions when children fall out or there are concerns, staff are quick to address issues.

Leaders h...ave ensured that there is a wide range of partnerships in place, both locally and internationally. For many years, the school has had effective links with China and Italy, including residential visits to China. Staff and pupils have benefited by learning about other cultures.

Staff have also introduced teaching approaches they have seen abroad successfully.

Leaders are mindful of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work of the recently appointed mental health and outdoor learning leads is having a significant, positive impact.

Pupils particularly enjoy the opportunities to cook on an open fire, which has helped them to learn new skills, as part of their forest school work. They have been taught to assess risks thoroughly when learning outdoors.

Music is a strength of the school.

Specialist teachers deliver music lessons in Years 3 to 6. The older pupils particularly enjoy the whole-class ukulele and guitar lessons. Many pupils relish the opportunity to receive individual instrumental teaching in piano, violin or guitar.

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

Leaders have created a well-planned curriculum for all subjects from early years to Year 6. They have identified the knowledge that they intend pupils should learn in every subject. However, some planned learning is too general.

It has not been broken down into small enough detail. In some subjects, such as music, leaders have identified the vocabulary they would like pupils to learn. During lessons, pupils use their prior learning well.

Pupils produce work of a high standard, for example in mathematics and history.

Teachers address most misconceptions during lessons. Pupils reflect on their own learning maturely by completing end-of-unit self-assessments.

Pupils' knowledge is assessed across the curriculum. Teachers use the assessments effectively to inform their planning.

Pupils are very well behaved.

They know the behaviour system well and enjoy earning rewards, such as house points and certificates. Pupils and staff know and refer to the three rights: to learn, to feel safe and valued, and to be respected. Leaders reward pupils' regular attendance with certificates and badges.

Leaders ensure that parents and carers know whether their child's attendance is at the expected standard each term. A minority of pupils, 7%, do not attend school regularly enough. They miss out on too much vital learning.

Leaders have recently introduced a new phonics scheme. Staff have been very well trained. They are teaching phonics consistently.

Pupils are regularly assessed. Those who are falling behind are helped to catch up quickly with daily support. Books are closely matched to pupils' phonics ability.

Pupils read accurately, fluently and with confidence. Pupils share a book from the school's phonics reading scheme and a book chosen from the school's library with their parents at home. Reading has a high priority in the school.

Pupils enjoy daily story time and weekly library visits. Leaders provided a whole week of activities based on World Book Day recently.

In early years, detailed and effective planning is in place for all seven areas of learning.

Children access a variety of exciting activities, both indoors and outdoors. At the time of inspection, the Nursery teacher had only been in post for one week. This naturally meant that some routines and relationships with the children were in the early stage of development.

Staff communicate with the children well. They model manners during snack time and at all other times of the day. Parents share their children's interests via a 'home school' book, so staff know the children well.

Leaders have high expectations of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Staff are quick to identify pupils' needs. Pupils with SEND are fully included in all activities.

Effective plans to meet pupils' needs are in place and regularly reviewed. Pupils with SEND are well supported. Pupils with SEND are making pleasing progress.

Planning for pupils' personal development covers all aspects of keeping healthy and staying safe. Pupils have a thorough understanding of fundamental British values, such as democracy and mutual respect. However, pupils are less aware of some of the protected characteristics, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

Pupils benefit from a rich range of experiences, such as educational visits and themed days or weeks, for example 'Keeping ourselves safe week'. The Year 6 pupils are developing their leadership skills effectively on the Archbishop of York's Young Leaders Award programme. Most pupils enjoy a wide range of clubs, such as karate, art and dance, which help them to develop a range of skills effectively.

Pupils value their roles of responsibility as house captains.

Staff value the support from leaders for their well-being and workload. Parents, staff, governors and officers from the local authority and the diocese speak highly of the school.

This is summarised by one parent, who wrote: 'I am comfortable that my children are taught well and looked after by confident, professional and experienced teachers.'


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure that staff are well trained.

Staff know their pupils and families well. Concerns are identified quickly and addressed effectively. As a result, pupils receive the help they need.

Leaders have carefully considered the local risks to pupils, such as road safety, and included these in the curriculum. Pupils understand how to keep themselves safe, including online.

The necessary checks are completed to ensure that adults in school are safe to work with the children.

Leaders addressed gaps in the school's single central record of recruitment checks during the inspection.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In most subjects, curriculum planning is sufficiently detailed. However, in some subjects, leaders have not clearly specified the knowledge and vocabulary they want pupils to retain.

Nor is the learning broken down into the small steps that will build pupils' knowledge over time. Teachers are not consistently sure what pupils should learn and remember. Leaders should ensure that planning, from Nursery to Year 6, is sufficiently detailed so that staff know precisely what to teach and assess.