St John’s Church of England Academy

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About St John’s Church of England Academy

Name St John’s Church of England Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Marco Ramsay
Address Fenby Avenue, Lascelles Park, Darlington, DL1 4UB
Phone Number 01325380725
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 246
Local Authority Darlington
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils flourish at this school and are proud to be part of it. Staff create an atmosphere in the school which is calm and productive. They have high expectations of all pupils and as a result pupils achieve extremely well.

Pupils' behaviour is exceptional. They fully understand the school ethos and rules. During lessons, they support each other with learning.

At playtimes, older pupils check that younger pupils have someone to play with. Bullying is rare. If it does happen, pupils say that adults deal with it quickly.

Pupils lead on a wide range of aspects within school. For example, the school council are introducing new playtime activities such as den and making swings. Pupils regularly take part in community and charity work.

They visit the local home for the elderly to sing carols at Christmas, take part in debates with the local Member of Parliament and vote for charities to support. Many pupils take part in after-school clubs. There are a wide range on offer from sports activities, such as football and dance, to online learning.

The school offers excellent pastoral support to pupils and their families. This ensures that pupils feel happy and safe in school and are ready to learn.

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

Leaders have designed a rich, inclusive and ambitious curriculum that has the pupils' needs at its heart.

The quality of pupils' work is consistently high in a wide range of subjects. Pupils are able to talk about their learning with ease and in depth. They can make links between learning in different subjects, such as geography and history.

Teachers are crystal clear about what pupils need to know and remember. They regularly check what pupils have learned. This means pupils are not at risk of falling behind.

Pupils' achievement across the curriculum is exceptional.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are supported to access the curriculum alongside their peers. They receive expert support from teachers and teaching assistants to help them reach their full potential.

They have full access to the range of extra-curricular opportunities on offer. They achieve extremely well across the curriculum.

The curriculum in early years has recently been redesigned.

Leaders have identified the key knowledge and skills that children need to have by the time they leave Reception. Sometimes, however, activities in classrooms are changed too soon. This means children do not get the most out of some of the activities on offer.

They do not get enough chance to practise and refine their skills before the activity is changed. Leaders understand the importance of strong relationships with parents and carers so that children are supported both at school and home. Events such as mathematics 'stay and play' sessions and 'rhyme time' sessions help parents to find out what their children are learning at school.

Leaders know how vital it is that pupils learn to read as soon as possible. Pupils benefit from highly effective phonics teaching in the early years and across key stage 1. Reading books match the sounds that pupils know.

Staff are highly skilled at delivering interventions. This means that pupils who are struggling with reading catch up quickly with their peers. Teachers read to pupils every day.

Pupils say that they enjoy this and talk animatedly about favourite books they have had read to them. There are a range of approaches in place for promoting a love of reading, for example visits to book shops and organised book swaps.

Pupils are very respectful of both each other and adults.

During the inspection, they offered their seats to inspectors, held doors and demonstrated impeccable manners. Pupils have very positive attitudes to learning and show commitment to their education. They attend school often.

They aspire to careers such as physiotherapy, teaching and veterinary practice. They know which subjects they need to do well in to achieve their ambitions.

The wider personal development curriculum is another strength in this school.

The curriculum for personal, social and health education (PSHE) is planned and sequenced with precision. Over time, pupils build up knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy and lead safe, active lives. There is a wide range of opportunities for pupils to contribute to the life of the school, the local community and the wider world.

For example, the rota kids club has recently sent surplus reading books to children in Kenya and are now working on raising money for World Polio Day. Pupils show substantial knowledge of different faiths, types of families and relationships. They know how important it is to treat everyone equally and respect those who have different beliefs or opinions to them.

Staff in the school work well together to achieve the best outcomes for pupils. They are highly successful in doing so. They are supported by the trust effectively.

Local academy councillors have a clear understanding of the community the school serves. They offer challenge to leaders and fulfil their statutory duties. There is a strong culture of mutual respect and teamwork among those with responsibility for running the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders know pupils and their families well. They support vulnerable families highly effectively, making use of outside agencies for support where necessary.

Pupils know how to keep themselves safe both inside and outside school. They know about risks in the local community, such as the railway line and the river. Initiatives such as the 'cyber squad' help pupils to stay safe online.

All staff and local academy councillors are trained in safeguarding. They know how to spot concerns and how to report and record them. Leaders have put processes in place to make sure that they recruit the right staff.

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