St Helen’s Primary Academy

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About St Helen’s Primary Academy

Name St Helen’s Primary Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Miss Victoria Gorton
Address St Helen’s Way, Monk Bretton, Barnsley, S71 2PS
Phone Number 01226295210
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 219
Local Authority Barnsley
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud to be part of this highly inclusive school. Leaders have established a set of values based on 'excellent attitudes, knowledge and teaching'. These values galvanise staff to provide the best possible education for pupils.

Pupils are inspired to live out these values through their conduct and attitudes towards learning. St Helen's Primary Academy is a friendly and happy place to learn.

The recently established leadership team has implemented a curriculum that helps pupils to secure a deep knowledge of the subjects that they study.

For example, pupils shared their impressive understanding across a number of subjects, including the reasons behind... Viking raids and the role of trade during this period in history.

Adults help pupils to manage their own feelings and to behave well. Leaders have established a behaviour ladder to help pupils to understand what adults expect of them.

Staff apply this consistently. As a result, pupils behave well most of the time. When behaviour slips, staff immediately help pupils to get back on track.

This means that pupils can focus on their learning, with few distractions.

Leaders make sure that pupils and families understand why attending school is important. Staff provide lots of support to help pupils attend every day.

This is making a positive difference to pupils.

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

The school has established an ambitious curriculum that supports all pupils well. This curriculum is implemented consistently by all staff.

In early years, children develop their understanding of the past by learning about themselves and their local area. This helps them to secure their understanding of chronology before studying other important periods in history. For example, pupils explained in detail the context of Magna Carta and its impact on Britain.

In early years, adults help children develop their mathematical skills by giving them lots of opportunities to explore number. Leaders have made sure that the curriculum supports all pupils to become increasingly fluent mathematicians. Teachers respond consistently to the misconceptions that pupils might have.

However, in some subjects, including mathematics, pupils have gaps in their knowledge from previous years. Pupils do not have enough opportunities to address these gaps, and this can make it difficult for them to learn new ideas.

The education that pupils are now receiving is not reflected in the weaker outcomes achieved by Year 6 pupils in 2023.

These pupils were adversely affected by the disruption caused by the pandemic. They did not have the time to benefit from some of the significant improvements that the school has made to the quality of education.

The school has made reading a priority.

Staff get the training that they need to help pupils to learn to read. In early years, adults help children to get off to a flying start by learning phonics and beginning to read simple words. When pupils struggle to read, skilled adults provide exactly the right support to help them to catch up.

Adults have selected a range of high-quality books for pupils to enjoy. Leaders have made sure that improving pupils' language and vocabulary is a golden thread that runs through the whole curriculum. The school's work to broaden pupils' vocabulary is exemplary.

This has a very positive impact on pupils' confidence to read. One pupil summed this up by saying, 'When my teacher hears me read, it makes me feel brave to do my reading.'

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) learn the same ambitious curriculum as their peers.

Leaders have made sure that all teachers successfully adapt learning to meet a wide range of needs. Pupils with SEND are flourishing as a result.

In early years, staff help children to build positive relationships.

Children cooperate consistently well with each other. Skilled adults encourage children to use new vocabulary and extend their talk. Pupils show consistently positive attitudes towards their learning.

They are able to concentrate well in order to complete the activities that they are given. However, some of the activities that the school provides for children to do are not helping them to deepen their learning well enough.

The curriculum for personal, social, health and economic education helps pupils to understand how to stay safe when online.

Pupils know when personal information should not be shared. Adults also make sure that pupils learn about the diverse world that they live in. This inspires pupils to treat each other with respect and to accept each other's differences.

The school makes sure that pupils have a range of activities to help develop their talents and interests. For example, pupils take part in badminton sessions, while others attend yoga and the football club.

Those responsible for governance are extremely knowledgeable about the school.

They check that leaders' actions impact positively on pupils. The trust provides highly effective support and professional development for staff. The workload and well-being of all staff are priorities.

Staff are proud to work at this school. They are inspired by the considerable difference that their work makes to the lives of all pupils.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils have some gaps in their knowledge from previous years across a number of subjects. This means that pupils lack some of the prior knowledge that they need in order to build new learning. The school should make sure that pupils are given opportunities to address these gaps so that they have the knowledge and skills they need to help them to learn new knowledge and concepts.

• In early years, some activities that children are given to do are not focused closely enough on the knowledge, skills and behaviours that they need to learn. This means that sometimes, pupils are completing tasks that do not sufficiently deepen their learning. The school should make sure that the activities children are given provide better opportunities for them to learn more deeply.

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