St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy

About St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy Browse Features

St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy

Name St Joseph’s Catholic Voluntary Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Address Chesterfield Road, Matlock, DE4 3FT
Phone Number 01629583616
Type Academy
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 119 (36.1% boys 63.9% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.4
Academy Sponsor St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust
Local Authority Derbyshire
Percentage Free School Meals 42.9%
Percentage English is Not First Language 2.5%
Persistent Absence 9.5%
Pupils with SEN Support 19.3%%
Catchment Area Indicator Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Available No
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

There is a warm, welcoming and caring atmosphere throughout this school. The staff encourage all pupils to aim high and do their best, both in lessons and in their personal development. Pupils do well in English and mathematics and support is readily available to those who need it.

Classrooms are bright and well organised, and the outdoor spaces are exceptionally attractive. Pupils told us that they enjoy school. They said that ‘Our teachers help us, and they are kind.

’ Pupils describe behaviour at this school as good, with hardly any bullying, and we agree. Teachers are quick to sort out any poor behaviour, both in lessons and during playtimes. We found that pupils are enthusiastic about learning new things because the lessons are interesting and easy to understand.

Staff, parents and carers believe that the school has changed ‘dramatically’ since the last inspection. A typical comment from a parent summed up the positive changes that have taken place: ‘My child is happy, safe and doing extremely well in all subjects.’

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

Leaders and staff are providing a good quality of education for pupils.

Over the past year, there has been a strong focus on English and mathematics. This has led to rapid improvements in both subjects.

Teachers in all year groups make reading a high priority for pupils.

In the younger classes, pupils begin taking part in well-organised, daily phonics sessions as soon as they start school. Staff are confident in teaching early reading because they have been well trained to do so. Most pupils quickly learn to become confident readers.

Staff step in to provide extra support for pupils who need it so that they catch up as soon as possible. In the older classes, teachers encourage pupils to develop a love of reading, providing a plentiful supply of well-chosen books for pupils to enjoy.

The teaching of mathematics is a strength of the school.

The subject leader has a clear overview of what should be taught and when. Teachers follow well-structured plans that help pupils to gain secure knowledge and skills in mathematics. Teachers carefully assess what pupils know at the beginning and end of each unit of work.

This means that teachers pick up on any misunderstandings quickly.

A range of whole-school topics has been launched this year, in which the learning is planned so that pupils build a better, richer store of knowledge as they progress through the school. Physical education (PE), history and science are all subjects that are taught well.

It is clear from the actions that leaders have already taken that they are making similar improvements across all other subjects.

Leaders and staff have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour. There is a calm, well-ordered atmosphere throughout the school, both in lessons and at breaktimes.

Pupils cooperate well in lessons, showing interest and enjoyment in their learning.

All staff take a keen interest in supporting pupils’ personal development and their physical and mental health. For example, the ‘sunshine group’ nurture provision is available for pupils with particular needs.

Leaders and staff prepare pupils thoughtfully for life in modern Britain through their school values. These are embodied in the six ‘Golden Skills’ that are well known to all. Pupils were keen to explain how this helps them to understand and appreciate respect and tolerance.

They say, ‘It’s OK to be different here.’

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive good support which is well matched to their needs. Parents told us that they are very happy with the support and teaching that their children with SEND receive.

The multi-academy trust, and governors, provide effective leadership of the school. They fulfil their statutory obligations well and consider parent views and staff workload.

The experienced early years leader gives expert guidance to staff about how to plan activities that will meet the needs of all children.

There is a clear focus on reading, phonics and mathematics so that children get off to a strong start in these important subjects. Children in the early years are safe and well cared for. During our lesson visits, we found that children did not always respond to instructions from new members of staff.

This was because clear expectations and routines had not been set. At times, this hindered their ability to make best use of the good-quality activities on offer.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Recruitment procedures meet statutory requirements. There is a strong culture of safeguarding at the school, which is echoed in the positive views of pupils and parents. Concerns, however minor, are never ignored.

All staff follow thorough guidance for recording and following up any concerns that may arise. Leaders work professionally with other agencies to ensure that support is in place for pupils and families when it is needed. Pupils receive regular teaching about how to keep themselves safe, including when online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Leaders’ work to ensure that the curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced is not fully established for all foundation subjects. Plans for English, mathematics, PE, history and science are complete. However, other subjects are yet to be revised.

A timetable is in place for this to be achieved by the end of this academic year. There is good capacity, judging by the impact of the actions already taken by leaders and the multi-academy trust, for this work to be brought to a successful conclusion. For that reason, the transitional arrangements for curriculum intent have been applied in this case.

. Staff who are new to the early years foundation stage require further support from leaders to become fully effective in their role. This is to ensure that routines for children are established quickly and the carefully planned curriculum and purposeful activities are used as they are intended, to support children’s learning and development.