St Dominic Catholic Primary School

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About St Dominic Catholic Primary School

Name St Dominic Catholic Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Miss Clare O'Sullivan
Address St Dominic Catholic Primary School, Southdown Road, HARPENDEN, AL5 1PF
Phone Number 01582760047
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 240
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are incredibly proud of their school. They feel safe in the calm, caring environment adults have created here.

Pupils love learning. They work hard and achieve extremely well, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school's values are threaded through everything it does.

Pupils demonstrate these, focusing on a different one each month, kindness, for example. Older pupils are exceptional role models. As a result, when younger pupils struggle to act out the values, they follow the example of the older pupils.

Pupils' conduct around the school is calm and courteous. Beautiful manners come naturally to them. There is a strong cultur...e of respect.

Pupils say one of the best things about their school is the warmth of the relationships they enjoy with each other and with their teachers.

Pupils enjoy a wide range of extra-curricular activities, such as a very popular lunchtime chess club. They take part in competitive sporting events against other schools.

Trips enrich pupils' learning. Residential trips develop pupils' independence and resilience. Visitors to the school give them memorable experiences that strengthen their character.

For example, pupils learned that 'nothing is impossible' from an inspirational visitor who has overcome multiple challenges.

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

The school's curriculum is very carefully planned from the early years through to Year 6. As soon as they join the Nursery class, children begin to learn the foundational knowledge they will need for later learning.

The curriculum is designed so that pupils build their learning gradually. It sets out what pupils should learn in each subject area and the order in which they should learn it.

Teachers deliver lessons confidently.

They make learning 'sticky', by recapping previous learning at the start of each lesson. They check pupils' understanding regularly and adjust their teaching if necessary. Pupils' ability to recall what they have learned is impressive.

They use what they already know to approach new learning with enthusiasm. In music, for example, pupils learn about rhythm and beat in the early years. By Year 5, pupils use various elements of music, including improvisation, in their own jazz compositions.

The school prioritises reading. Well-trained adults deliver daily phonics sessions from the Nursery class to Year 1. These teach children the sounds they need for early reading.

Teachers are quick to identify any pupils who need extra help. They act promptly to support these pupils. As a result, the majority of pupils can read fluently by the end of Year 2.

Older pupils are avid readers. Reading lessons in key stage 2 develop higher-level skills such as comprehension, inference and prediction. Pupils are motivated to read widely and often by the school's millionaire readers and reading super-power awards.

The school is ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Teachers make adaptations and adjustments for these pupils to enable them to access the same curriculum as their peers. Pupils with SEND are supported to be successful in their learning.

Pupils listen attentively in lessons. They understand what is expected of them and show highly positive attitudes to learning. Teachers help pupils to manage their feelings so that they are always ready to learn.

If any pupils need extra help with this, the school acts swiftly and effectively to put tailored support in place.

In the early years, children thrive. They benefit from caring, attentive adults, a stimulating environment and a carefully planned curriculum.

Children show high levels of concentration and perseverance. They become engrossed by activities that are set up for them. For example, classifying shells using different criteria, or working as a team to find out what is inside a pumpkin.

The school's programme for pupils' personal development is highly effective. Pupils learn about healthy lifestyles and relationships. They talk knowledgeably about peer pressure, consent and stereotyping.

Pupils are very well prepared for life in modern Britain. They celebrate and value diversity. They show tolerance and respect for a range of religious beliefs and understand the purpose of rules.

Pupils are proud to be members of the school or eco-council. Older pupils have ambitious goals for their future lives.

Senior leaders are highly reflective.

They share an ambitious vision for the school and are focused on driving continuous improvements. Governors work alongside leaders, providing support, challenge and guidance. Staff are extremely positive about the way leaders and governors, look after their well-being and workload.

A small number of parents would like the school to improve its communications systems. However, the majority are very happy with their children's education.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

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