|Name||St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Outstanding|
|Inspection Date||11 February 2020|
|Address||Western Avenue, Woodley, Berkshire, RG5 3BH|
|Religious Character||Roman Catholic|
|Number of Pupils||416 (51% boys 49% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||24.5|
|Percentage Free School Meals||7%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||29.6%|
|Pupils with SEN Support||5.8%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||Yes, our catchment area data is FREE|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils cannot praise their school highly enough. They relish coming each day because they learn so much that is new and interesting. Leaders and teachers do not place a ceiling upon what pupils can do and achieve, taking every opportunity to reinforce their high expectations. This gives all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), a tremendous sense of purpose and ambition.
Pupils are fascinated by the world around them. They debate the big ideas that shape the way people think, respecting the views of others. Leaders provide excellent opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and hobbies. One pupil commented, ‘There is something for everybody.’
The school is highly inclusive. All feel they belong to the ‘St Dominic Savio family’. Pupils also make a strong contribution to school life. For example, they clear dishes at lunchtime, contribute to the active school council and support their peers with staying safe online.
Pupils are very courteous to each other and to staff. They behave exceptionally well in class and during playtimes. Pupils and staff do not accept any form of bullying, including the use of unkind words. Pupils feel safe and well cared for.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Teachers and leaders are dedicated to providing an excellent education for all. They are determined that all aspects of their work contribute to this goal. Governors ask penetrating questions about pupils’ learning and achievement. As a result of the above, pupils achieve highly in national tests and assessments.
The school’s curriculum, including in early years, is top-notch. Children get off to a flying start from their earliest days. The strong early years curriculum means that children embed essential knowledge about numbers and letters. Children also participate in play activities, which inspire them with new words and ideas. In key stages 1 and 2, the ambitious curriculum enables pupils to build a sophisticated web of knowledge, skills and key concepts in a range of subjects. Pupils apply these concepts to make meaningful connections between topics. For example, in history, pupils could explain how the growth in the cotton trade in Victorian times contributed to the Industrial Revolution. Pupils leave school with a very good grounding in a broad range of subjects. They are extremely well prepared for the demands of the secondary curriculum.
Teachers, including those in early years, use their excellent subject knowledge to explain new vocabulary and bring abstract concepts to life. To embed knowledge in pupils’ memories, teachers skilfully use a variety of assessment methods. Teachers and assistants also support pupils with SEND exceptionally well. They remove any barriers to these pupils participating fully in learning. For example, teaching staffprovide them with daily additional support in reading so that they can read fluently by the end of Year 2. This means that they can better access the key stage 2 curriculum.
Leaders rightly see reading as the doorway to learning, enjoyment and success. They make sure that all pupils learn to read as soon as possible. Pupils accurately apply their phonic knowledge to books that are well matched to their capabilities. Last year, every Year 1 pupil reached the expected standard in the phonics check. The key stage 2 curriculum is stimulating. It includes rich and challenging texts, such as ‘The Hobbit’.
The school is a close-knit community, nurturing all its members. Everyone matters and no concern is too small. Leaders and governors promote the well-being of teachers along with that of pupils. They ensure planned changes are based on well-tested evidence and do not add unnecessarily to teachers’ workload.
Pupils take great pride in their school. They delight in the extensive opportunities provided for them to fulfil their potential. Many, including disadvantaged pupils, take part in activities that are new to them, such as ballroom dancing and golf. Some go on to pursue these at a higher level. Because pupils are so keen to learn, they often regulate their own behaviour and that of their peers. Leaders are not complacent. They work well with the small proportion of pupils whose behaviour does not meet their expectations. It is noticeable how positive pupils’ attitudes to learning, the staff and each other are.
Through the impressive personal development programme, pupils build a deep understanding about society and relationships. The school’s religious ethos is deep rooted, with all pupils feeling included within it. Through discussion and assemblies, staff promote the importance of being humble and caring for others. Pupils understand that these values are celebrated across many cultures and traditions.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. The designated safeguarding leader and members of the team are highly trained. They ensure that concerns are dealt with swiftly and pupils receive the support they need, including from staff with expertise in well-being. The team keeps up to date about the risks children face, such as those from social media. They share this information very well with parents and carers and pupils through regular updates.
Leaders have very high standards, which they apply to this aspect of their work. They have recently commissioned an external audit that covers all aspects of safeguarding, including checks made on staff.