St Martin’s CofE Primary School

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About St Martin’s CofE Primary School

Name St Martin’s CofE Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Jane Joshi
Address Hartington Road, Brighton, BN2 3LJ
Phone Number 01273707114
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 196
Local Authority Brighton and Hove
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of good as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection. However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now. The next inspection will therefore be a graded inspection.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils, parents and staff describe this school as feeling like a family. Pupils feel very safe. The school's clear mission statement, 'Learning to love, loving to learn,' is very well embedded, alongside the school values.

Pupils have worked with leaders to develop the school's eight 'Learning Creatures', which include 'Flash...', the persevering tortoise, and 'Sid', the link-making spider. These characters help pupils to understand how to learn well. As a result, pupils across the school are ready to learn.

They enjoy their lessons. Leaders, however, do not always have high enough academic expectations, particularly for the youngest children. Sometimes, lessons are not designed well enough to build on what pupils know and can do.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are sometimes not given the right support with their learning.

Behaviour throughout the school is calm and settled. Through the school's social skills curriculum, pupils learn to be confident, cooperative and polite communicators.

Pupils are confident that if bullying does occur, staff will take effective action to stop it. Pupils, and their families, receive high levels of pastoral support. Mental health and well-being are top priorities.

Most parents feel that the school nurtures not only their children, but their whole family.

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

Leaders have not designed the curriculum precisely enough. Consequently, pupils do not develop their understanding as well as they could as they move through the year groups.

Prior to the pandemic, leaders started to redesign the curriculum. However, the work stalled due to turbulence in leadership. The recent appointment of an acting headteacher has stabilised the school.

In most subjects, including mathematics, leaders have not broken learning down into clear, well-sequenced steps. They rely on teachers to do this, but teachers' knowledge is sometimes weak. They ask pupils to carry out tasks without considering what knowledge and skills pupils need to be successful.

Too often, pupils do not have the opportunity to practise and consolidate new learning. Teachers do not always anticipate potential misconceptions or assess pupils' understanding before moving on to new content. This is also the case in early years, where expectations of what children can achieve are too low.

Over time, the lowest attaining pupils have not had the right support to learn to read successfully. Addressing this has been leaders' priority. A new phonics curriculum was introduced this year.

This has established clearer expectations for what pupils can achieve when well taught and supported. Too many older pupils are, however, still at an early stage of reading. Catch-up for these pupils is not yet urgent or effective enough.

Leaders have not ensured that the curriculum is consistently well adapted or designed to be ambitious and meet the needs of pupils with SEND. Frequently, teachers lower their expectations. Leaders have not been quick enough to identify and challenge this practice.

More widely, there are not clear processes in place to identify and meet the needs of pupils with SEND.

Pupils' achievement across the year groups is not strong enough. There is then a strong focus on catching up and preparing pupils for the end of key stage assessments in Year 6.

Leaders recognise that there is much work to do to improve the quality of education that pupils receive.

Personal development, including pastoral support, is a strength. This has been a particular focus following the pandemic restrictions.

There is a clear personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum in place, and teachers have had specialist training. Pupils enjoy the range of trips that leaders provide, and which they ensure are accessible to all. Pupils enjoy being a part of the school choir, and look forward to regular singing assemblies.

The school has a clear Christian ethos that underpins the personal development programme. Leaders want all pupils to understand the Christian faith and to learn how to take care of each other, their community and the wider world.

Leaders engage with staff very well.

Staff say they would not want to work anywhere else. Senior leaders, and governors, are highly committed to the school and its pupils. They recognise that the school has gone through a period of significant instability, and that this has impacted on the quality of education pupils receive.

There are clear and coherent plans in place to ensure a stable senior leadership, and to ensure that the quality of education is improved. The school is currently being supported by the local authority and by the diocese.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have ensured that all staff are trained to identify pupils who need early help or who are at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. There are clear systems in place for staff to raise their concerns. Leaders refer to and work with external safeguarding partners appropriately.

Safer recruitment processes are well understood, and consistently followed. Leaders have ensured that staff are aware of how to raise any concern, including a low-level concern, about an adult. Leaders manage allegations about adults effectively and in consultation with the local authority.

The school's PSHE curriculum helps pupils to recognise risk and stay safe, both in their day-to-day lives and online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Over time, the lowest attaining readers have not had the right support to learn to read fluently and confidently at an age-appropriate level. Adult support is not always sufficiently precise.

Leaders do not ensure that these pupils get sufficiently regular practice reading a well-matched decodable book. Leaders need to ensure that support for older struggling readers is precise, and delivered with urgency, so that these pupils can quickly catch up. ? Leaders have not designed a curriculum with sufficient ambition, including for early years.

Furthermore, knowledge within the curriculum is not selected or organised clearly enough and pupils do not achieve highly. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum is carefully thought through and sequenced clearly. ? Teachers' subject knowledge is not as strong as it could be.

Additionally, they do not adapt the curriculum well for pupils with SEND. Leaders need to provide ongoing training to teachers to improve their subject knowledge and understanding of how to adapt the curriculum successfully for pupils with SEND. ? Leaders do not identify the needs of pupils with SEND or evaluate their provision well enough.

This means that pupils with SEND are not supported effectively. Leaders need to ensure that they introduce clear procedures to identify and respond to pupils with SEND, and to evaluate the quality of support and interventions provided.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in September 2017.

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