St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

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About St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

Name St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Michaela Velayudhan Tomlin
Address Newgate, Pontefract, WF8 4AA
Phone Number 01977701493
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 239
Local Authority Wakefield
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy learning in this vibrant and caring school. They are deeply respectful, unfailingly polite and are kind and caring towards each other.

Pupils have excellent relationships with adults. Pupils feel and are safe. They know who they can talk to if they have any worries.

The approach of the staff and attitudes of the pupils reflect the Catholic ethos of the school.

The carefully planned curriculum reflects the clear ambition that leaders have for pupils, who thrive in the care that they are given. Pupils enjoy learning to read and understand that reading is an important life skill.

They concentrate and, mostly, work hard in lessons.

...The needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well met in this highly inclusive school.

Expectations for behaviour are very clear.

Pupils move around school in an exemplary way and behave well almost all of the time. Bullying is rare and pupils state that it does not happen. They are confident that, if it did, it would be sorted out straight away.

They are proud of the leadership roles that they have and their contributions to school life. Pupils also appreciate the range of sporting opportunities and after-school clubs that are available to them.

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

Leaders, in close partnership with the trust, have brought about significant improvement in the last two years.

They have focused on the right things at the right time, in order to secure improvement in many areas of the school's offer.

Reading is a priority at St Joseph's. The school now has a rigorous and highly effective approach to the teaching of early reading and phonics.

Staff are well trained, which means that teaching is precise. Assessment is timely and interventions enable almost all pupils to keep up. As a result, pupils learn to read quickly, accurately and fluently.

The school is now supporting other schools to deliver phonics teaching effectively. Older pupils know how they use reading to help them learn. They talk with confidence and enthusiasm about the books they read and can discuss how they learn to retrieve information or infer meaning.

Pupils especially enjoy being read to by adults.

Children in the early years develop as curious and excited learners. A carefully planned curriculum that flows into key stage 1 ensures that learning is effective.

This is supported by a highly engaging environment and interactions with adults that help children learn. Children in Nursery develop the skills and knowledge that they need to be successful in the Reception Year. Children's personal development is very strong.

By the end of Reception, children are ready for key stage 1. Parents are very positive about the early years. One parent said, 'They (the staff) love them as much as we do.'

Leaders have worked closely with colleagues in the trust to implement an ambitious, detailed and sequenced curriculum that flows from the early years through to Year 6. Teachers use this to ensure that learning builds over time and to provide engaging learning opportunities. As a result, pupils can talk with confidence about their learning.

In design technology, Year 1 pupils describe how they have joined materials using split pins and share their knowledge about how fruit and vegetables are good for us. Year 6 pupils talk about how they use their knowledge of programming from computing lessons and apply it in design technology lessons. Pupils are excited about the next steps in their learning.

In mathematics, Year 4 pupils talk confidently about fractions, multiplication and algebra. Pupils enjoy using laptops in lessons and talk about how this helps them learn in mathematics.

In some subjects, the school has not clearly mapped out the specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that are to be taught so that learning builds progressively year on year.

In these subjects, what the school intends that pupils should know and be able to do by the end of each year group is not fully clear. This hampers pupils' ability to make the best possible progress over time. Although leaders have already recognised this and plans are in place to further improve the precision of planning in all subjects, there is more to do.

During lessons, staff check what pupils know and can do consistently well to identify and address any misconceptions. However, checks to assess pupils' learning at the end of a sequence are not consistently effective across all subjects. This means that, in some subjects, teachers are not fully aware of what pupils have learned over time.

Action to address this is now underway. For example, leaders have identified existing models of good practice, such as in mathematics. However, these good practices are yet to be adopted across the curriculum subjects.

Leaders are ambitious for every pupil and are determined to remove barriers to learning. As a result, inclusion is at the heart of this school. The learning needs of pupils with SEND are accurately assessed, and structured plans with meaningful targets help teachers to meet the need of individual pupils.

Support in lessons and around school is effective. This means that pupils with SEND learn well and play an active part in all aspects of school life.

Pupils benefit from a clear and structured personal, social and health education programme.

Pupils know what healthy relationships are and know how to stay safe online. Pupils' spiritual, moral and social education is exceptional. They learn to be responsible citizens through leadership roles, such as school councillors, sports ambassadors and 'Mini-Vinnies'.

Pupils enjoy the range of clubs and activities that are on offer. Older pupils can talk about equality and human rights and are developing their understanding of concepts like democracy and individual liberty. However, pupils' knowledge and understanding of other faiths and cultures is less secure.

Pupils find it difficult to discuss the key features of other faiths and similarities and differences with their own faith and culture as a result.

Leaders have worked hard to ensure that staff workload is manageable and their well-being is fully considered. Staff benefit from high-quality training and support from the trust, and the mathematics and English hubs.

This has helped to strengthen the delivery of the curriculum and the achievement of pupils. Staff and pupils are overwhelmingly positive about the support and consideration they receive with one member of staff saying, 'This is a joyful place to work.'


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, it is not clear what specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary the school intends pupils to learn by the end of each year group. This prevents pupils' learning from building fully effectively over time. The school should ensure that the specific knowledge, skills and vocabulary that pupils are to learn by the end of each year is clearly mapped out so that teachers plan learning that builds effectively through the school in all curriculum subjects.

• In some subjects, assessment at the end of a sequence of learning is not as used effectively as it is in others. Therefore, teachers are not fully aware of what pupils have learned over time or the exact detail of any gaps in their knowledge. The school should ensure that summative assessment is used effectively to support teachers when planning learning to meet the differing needs of pupils.

• The school has not ensured that the curriculum enables pupils to deepen aspects of their cultural knowledge effectively over time. Pupils' knowledge and understanding of faiths and cultures beyond their own, for example, is limited. The school should ensure that pupils' cultural development is developed effectively so that they deepen their knowledge and remember more over time.

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