St James’ Catholic Primary School, Skelmersdale

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About St James’ Catholic Primary School, Skelmersdale

Name St James’ Catholic Primary School, Skelmersdale
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Angela Blacoe
Address Ashurst Road, Ashurst, Skelmersdale, WN8 6TN
Phone Number 01695728989
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 221
Local Authority Lancashire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

There is a genuine warmth in the interactions between pupils and staff at this nurturing school. One member of staff summed this up best as the 'loving approach' that pupils and staff take towards their relationships with each other. This helps pupils to feel well cared for and happy.

Pupils feel safe. They rarely fall out with their classmates. Leaders deal with any bullying concerns effectively.

Pupils meet leaders' high expectations for behaviour. Pupils engage enthusiastically in lessons and enjoy their learning. They play particularly well together at social times.

For example, groups of friends take leisurely strolls around the racetrack while eating th...eir snacks and chatting about their shared interests. Other pupils climb along the trim trail or play ball games together.

Leaders capitalise on any unique opportunities that arise to give pupils special, one-off experiences.

In recent times, these have ranged from video calls with people living near the Amazon rainforest to cooking experiences at a regional restaurant.

Many pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), achieve well in many subjects.

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

Leaders have implemented an ambitious curriculum for all pupils at the school, including pupils with SEND.

They have considered the important knowledge that pupils need to learn from the two-year-old Nursery class through to Year 6. In many subjects, leaders have provided teachers with effective curriculum guidance. This guidance helps teachers to teach subject content in a logical order through well-chosen activities that help pupils to build their knowledge securely.

However, in some subjects, leaders have not developed the same level of guidance. In these subjects, teachers are less clear on how best to teach important knowledge. This means that teachers do not deliver some subject curriculums consistently well.

Leaders ensure that pupils with SEND have their additional needs identified and assessed early. Teachers use appropriate strategies to adapt their delivery of the curriculum for these pupils so that they can access the same learning as their classmates. Teachers carry out appropriate checks on pupils' learning so that they can help pupils with any misconceptions that they might have.

Pupils start to learn phonics as soon as they begin their schooling. Teachers deliver the phonics programme consistently well. Pupils enjoy their phonics lessons.

They happily chant the sounds that they know as part of their reading practice. Pupils enjoy listening to the daily story time sessions across the school. They read books that match with the sounds that they know.

Pupils are given additional support where necessary to catch up with their learning of sounds. However, this extra help does not get to the heart of the gaps in pupils' knowledge. The staff who lead these sessions lack the expertise to help pupils to catch up.

As a result, some pupils do not become confident, fluent readers as quickly as they should.

Children in the early years, including those in the provision for two-year-olds, quickly form positive relationships with their teachers and each other. They learn their classroom routines quickly and follow them sensibly.

Most teachers in the early years model communication and language effectively. They support children's learning well when children are engaged in different activities within the classroom environment. By the end of the Reception Year, children are well prepared for key stage 1.

Pupils behave well throughout the day. Disruptions to learning are rare and, when they do happen, teachers deal with them quickly and kindly. Leaders have high expectations for pupils' attendance.

However, some pupils do not attend school regularly. Leaders have only recently begun to review the actions that they take to remove any barriers that are preventing these pupils from attending school. This means that some pupils continue to miss out on important learning.

Leaders provide well for pupils' personal development. Older pupils build a secure understanding of fundamental British values. For example, they understand the concept of individual liberty and how that may sometimes come into conflict with the rule of law.

Pupils also have a pupil parliament group that meets regularly to voice their opinions on school life. Pupils have opportunities to take on leadership roles and responsibilities, such as well-being ambassadors. They also have opportunities to show their sporting talents through the competitions that they can attend.

The curriculum helps pupils to develop a good understanding of positive relationships, physical health and mental well-being. This helps to prepare pupils for life in modern Britain.

Governors know their roles and responsibilities well.

They play an active role in the life of the school. Leaders are highly considerate of staff well-being and workload. Staff have a strong appreciation for leaders' efforts to engage with them.

As a result, staff morale is high.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff know how to recognise and report on any concerns related to pupils' welfare.

Leaders take appropriate actions to manage these concerns. They involve other agencies where necessary to provide any extra support that families might need. Leaders have ensured that the school curriculum is effective in supporting pupils to keep themselves safe, including when using the internet.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some pupils do not attend school as frequently as they should. This means that these pupils miss out on some important learning. Leaders should further review the strategies that are in place to improve pupils' attendance at school.

• Some pupils do not receive effective support to help close the gaps that they have in their phonic knowledge. This means that some pupils take longer than they should to become confident, fluent readers. Leaders should review the approaches that are used to help pupils who struggle with phonics.

Leaders should also ensure that staff have the necessary expertise to deliver additional reading support well. ? In some subjects, leaders have not outlined sufficiently their expectations of how teachers should deliver important knowledge. This means that teachers do not deliver some subjects consistently well.

In turn, pupils do not build their knowledge securely in these subjects. Leaders are not alert to some of the inconsistencies in teachers' implementation of the curriculum. Leaders should provide clear curriculum guidance for teachers so that teachers know how best to deliver subject content.

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