St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled Church of England Junior School

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About St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled Church of England Junior School

Name St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled Church of England Junior School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Hannah Orton
Address Heath Drive, Ware, SG12 0RL
Phone Number 01920463641
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary controlled school
Age Range 7-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 236
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy attending this warm and friendly junior school. They settle quickly into school life because the teachers ensure that they understand all the rules and routines.

Pupils are keen to talk about their learning, and they have a good work ethic.

Pupils respond well to the high expectations of teachers, and they behave well in and around the school. This means that pupils feel safe.

If bullying occurs, pupils know that adults will help them to sort it out.

Pupils love all the interesting subjects they learn, and leaders ensure that the curriculum is broad. This means that pupils can develop all their interests and are well prepared for seconda...ry school.

Sports and keeping healthy are whole-school priorities. Pupils regularly run a mile and learn about the appropriate food groups to help improve their stamina.

Pupils can hold a range of leadership roles.

They carry these out with responsible attitudes and a great deal of enthusiasm. Pupils are very clear about the fact that they learn to accept everyone. Pupils learn that 'we have more in common with others than what sets us apart.'

This helps them to understand and connect with all others.

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

Leaders have thought about the skills and knowledge they want pupils to learn in all subject areas. Plans for each subject are sequential and designed to build on pupils' prior knowledge.

In some subjects, the steps of knowledge from which teachers plan are quite broad, making it harder for them to ensure they teach, and assess, pupils' understanding of the precise content leaders had intended.

Leaders are clear about how they want the pupils to learn. For instance, teachers make sure that pupils repeat and recall previous learning regularly so that they can remember all the important bits of knowledge.

In more established subjects, teachers show good subject knowledge and explain tasks clearly. This means that pupils achieve well. In a few subjects, leaders have recently made changes and are in the process of checking that these are having the positive impact they intend on pupils' achievement.

Reading has a high priority. When pupils start school, their reading ability is checked. Any pupils who are not yet reading fluently have immediate catch-up learning programmes.

Pupils learn to blend and decode words phonetically. They practise applying their knowledge when spelling words. Leaders keep this support in place for as long as needed, although pupils usually catch up quickly.

When pupils can read confidently and independently, they practise reading with fluency. All pupils are encouraged to develop a love of reading in various ways by, for instance, teachers reading to them and teachers and pupils recommending books to each other. This rigorous approach means that pupils achieve well in reading.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are, on the whole, well supported by trained and skilled staff. Support staff work together with class teachers to provide scaffolded tasks during lessons. This helps pupils with barriers to learning to achieve as well as their peers.

Leaders are aspirational for an inclusive school. However, not all pupils with SEND have individual and specific targets. This means that it can be harder for teachers to adapt their planning and for leaders to measure the progress that pupils make.

Pupils follow a comprehensive personal development programme, and leaders adapt this when needed. Pupils are taught and understand British values, including democracy. Pupils know about differences and talk about gender, disability and race with confidence.

Pupils are well prepared for becoming responsible citizens.

Most pupils behave well. In lessons, pupils are calm and respectful.

Any low-level disruptive behaviour is dealt with quickly and appropriately and does not slow down lessons. Pupils listen well to each other's viewpoints and try to get along with all others.

Leaders and governors share the same values and vision for the school.

They give a high priority to staff well-being and support staff well with their roles.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils learn how to stay safe online and understand that some online games are inappropriate for them.

Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe in the community, including water safety.

Leaders train staff so that they can recognise and identify vulnerable pupils. Staff report any concerns quickly.

Leaders act swiftly when they are worried that a pupil is at risk of harm. Records kept are accurate and appropriate. However, these are not all kept in one place.

Leaders recognise that this could slow the process for finding relevant information, and they intend to keep all records in one central system in the future.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, leaders' statements of what they want pupils to learn are broad. This means that non-subject specialist teachers find it hard to plan the exact small steps of knowledge that pupils need to learn, and their assessments do not have the detailed information teachers need in order to change and adapt what they teach when appropriate.

• Some pupils with SEND do not have clear targets that link to their specific area of need. This means that this important information cannot be shared, and tracking each pupil's progress is difficult. Leaders need to ensure that all pupils with SEND have separate and specific targets that can be used to help maximise their learning.

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