St Mary’s Catholic Junior School

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About St Mary’s Catholic Junior School

Name St Mary’s Catholic Junior School
Ofsted Inspections
Executive Headteacher Mrs Justine Kellett
Address Barn Way, Newton-le-Willows, WA12 9QQ
Phone Number 01744678603
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 7-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 233 (49.8% boys 50.2% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 27.1
Local Authority St. Helens
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils help to make this school the friendly and happy place that it is.

They readily welcome visitors and are keen to share their learning with them. Pupils are polite, thoughtful and considerate. They are respectful towards each other and to adults.

Pupils know that leaders and staff expect them to behave well in lessons, at playtimes and when they move around the school. Pupils' behaviour reflects these expectations fully. The school is a calm and purposeful place to learn and play as a result.

Pupils know that staff care about them. Pupils welcome extra responsibilities. Those pupils who represent their classmates on the safeguarding council take their ro...les seriously.

They play their part in making sure that everyone feels safe in school. This includes helping other pupils to understand what bullying is and what to do if it should happen. Pupils know that bullying is not tolerated.

Staff deal with any concerns about bullying quickly and well.

Leaders have brought about improvements to the curriculum. They have raised their expectations of what pupils can achieve.

However, many of the changes that leaders have made are recent. Pupils have not benefited from this improved curriculum fully. Their knowledge is uneven across different subjects.

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

There has been considerable instability in leadership since the school was last inspected. Despite this, leaders have maintained their focus on improving the curriculum. The pace of these improvements has gathered momentum over recent months.

Leaders have benefited from working with external consultants. This has helped to develop their curriculum expertise. Subject leaders now have greater clarity about the important knowledge that they want pupils to learn and when this knowledge should be taught in all subjects.

This has resulted in a well-thought-out curriculum that matches the ambition of the national curriculum.

In some subjects, teachers use assessment information skilfully in order to ensure that pupils' knowledge is secure before moving on to new learning. However, in other subjects, teachers' checks are less effective.

While they do identify what pupils know and do not know, teachers do not design learning that builds on this knowledge well. Some pupils do not achieve as well as they should in these subjects.

Some subject leaders are new to their leadership roles.

They have had limited opportunities to check how well teachers deliver their subject curriculums. Other subject leaders have carried out these checks. However, they have not always followed their findings up with sufficient rigour.

This means that the curriculum in some subjects is not delivered to the same high standard by all staff. Pupils' learning in these subjects is less secure within and across year groups as a result.

The disruption to pupils' learning that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that some pupils in Years 3 and 4 have missing phonics knowledge.

Leaders have taken some action to address these knowledge deficits. For example, they have made sure that staff teach pupils to read using the same phonics curriculum used by the federated infant school. However, not all staff are sufficiently well trained to deliver this curriculum.

In addition, the books that teachers ask some pupils to read do not consistently match the sounds that they know. This hinders these pupils' ability to read fluently and to access the rest of the curriculum confidently.

Pupils have access to a range of high-quality texts.

They develop positive reading habits and a love of reading. Leaders thoughtfully select books to broaden pupils' understanding of how people might be different to themselves. This helps to prepare pupils for the wider world that they will experience when they are older.

Leaders ensure that there are effective systems in place to identify the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). However, leaders do not ensure that all staff adapt their teaching approaches to support these pupils. This means that some pupils with SEND do not consistently access the same curriculum as their peers.

Leaders carefully consider pupils' wider development. Pupils represent the school in a wide range of sporting and cultural events. This helps pupils, including those with SEND, to build their self-confidence.

Pupils develop into keen learners. Lessons are not disrupted by poor behaviour.

Governors have steered the school steadily through a period of uncertainty.

They make effective use of the wide range of information now available to them to assure themselves about the performance of the school. Governors are now better equipped to challenge and support school leaders appropriately.

Staff appreciate leaders' actions to support their workload.

Their morale is high.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders make sure that staff know how to keep pupils safe.

Staff are vigilant to any signs that a pupil may be at risk of harm. They report any concerns swiftly. Leaders have clear oversight of any safeguarding concerns.

They take swift action if vulnerable pupils need additional support. Leaders liaise well with other agencies to make sure that suitable support is in place.

Leaders ensure that the curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to understand how to keep themselves safe.

This includes when they are learning online as well as out and about in the community, for example when riding their bicycles. Pupils also learn about how to protect themselves when online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Staff do not deliver the school's phonics programme consistently well.

This hinders how quickly pupils who have fallen behind in their reading are able to catch up. Leaders should ensure that staff receive the support that they need to help pupils who are behind with their reading to become fluent and accurate readers. ? Leaders do not provide sufficient guidance to teachers about how to check and build on pupils' prior learning effectively across all subjects.

Therefore, some pupils do not achieve as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that there are effective assessment systems in place to enable teachers to build on what pupils already know. ? Leaders have not ensured that staff have the expertise that they need to meet the needs of some pupils with SEND.

Some of these pupils do not access the curriculum as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that staff understand how to provide the support that each pupil with SEND needs to access the curriculum as well as their peers. ? Some subject leaders do not have enough oversight of the quality of education in their subjects.

They do not ensure that teachers implement the curriculum to the same high standard within some year groups and classes. This means that some pupils do not build up their knowledge as well as others. Subject leaders need to make sure that teachers display consistently high expectations for pupils' achievement across the school.

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