St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary School

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

Name St Mary’s Voluntary Controlled Church of England Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Morwenna Dunstan
Address Oakfield Road, Bridgwater, TA6 7LX
Phone Number 01278422691
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary controlled school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 483
Local Authority Somerset
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

St Mary's Primary is a welcoming school where pupils, parents and carers, and staff feel valued. The school is an exciting place to learn.

It has close links with the community. Each year, the school choir sings in a local care home and pupils make masks for the Bridgwater Carnival.

The headteacher leads the school well.

Staff and governors are firmly committed to preparing pupils with the knowledge and skills they need for life. Staff plan interesting activities for pupils. Pupils are enthusiastic about their learning.

Adults expect pupils to try their best. Staff encourage pupils to learn from their 'magical mistakes'. Pupils know it is important t...o try hard, even when learning is difficult.

Adults care deeply about pupils and provide extra help when they need it. For example, pupils enjoy taking Pepe the dog for a walk when they are feeling nervous or sad. Parents appreciate the school's support.

Pupils are polite and sociable. They love school and take pride in their work. Pupils know how to take responsibility for their actions and behave well.

Pupils know that bullying is not tolerated. They care for each other and are respectful to adults.

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

Leaders are effective in building pupils' knowledge and skills in different subjects, including reading, writing and mathematics.

This helps to make sure that pupils are well prepared for the next stage in their education.

Pupils get off to a flying start in reading. Leaders prioritise the teaching of reading as soon as children start school.

Teachers are well trained to make sure that pupils learn how to read in the right order. Pupils' books help them to practise the sounds that they are learning. This supports pupils to read well.

Pupils are well supported to develop a love of reading and have a wide selection of books to choose from. Pupils delight in listening to stories such as 'Ariki and the Giant Shark'. Teachers read enthusiastically so that pupils are keen to find out what happens next.

Pupils who find learning difficult, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are usually well supported to catch up. However, some support is not planned well enough to help pupils learn.

Adults have clear expectations of pupils' behaviour and attitudes to learning.

As a result, pupils work hard. However, in some subjects, the curriculum is not challenging enough to ensure that pupils learn well.

The wealth of experiences offered by the school sparks pupils' enthusiasm.

They enjoy meeting the Kenyan choir and Chinese students who visit Bridgwater. Pupils also visit the local mosque and write to penfriends in France. This enables them to find out about different faiths and cultures.

Leaders and teachers work closely with parents to support their children's learning. Parents are very appreciative of this. A parent commented, 'The headteacher and staff are amazing!'

Governors are very committed to the school and praise the headteacher's leadership.

They have a clear understanding of the school's strengths. They are fully aware that the curriculum needs further development.

We enjoyed visiting the Nursery and Reception classes.

Adults form caring relationships with children. Children listen carefully and behave well. The teaching of reading, writing and mathematics is effective and children achieve well.

Children are provided with exciting opportunities to explore and find things out. They enjoy racing around on bikes, painting and making models out of modelling clay and twigs. They also love listening to stories.

Teachers plan learning to develop and deepen the children's understanding in different subjects. However, there are times when activities limit how well the children can do.

Leaders and teachers understand the importance of developing the curriculum, but the school's curriculum is not yet sufficiently well planned and sequenced in some subjects, such as history, science and religious education.

However, leaders are already taking the right steps to bring about the improvements needed.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders prioritise pupils' safety.

They carry out the correct checks on staff before they start work at the school. Pupils feel safe at school. They say that adults look after them well.

Pupils know that they can talk to staff if they are worried or upset. Pupils take responsibility for keeping themselves safe. Older pupils enjoy taking on roles, such as those of e-cadets to teach others how to stay safe online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Although the school's curriculum is well developed in reading, writing and mathematics, it is not developed well enough in subjects such as history, religious education and science. This leads to gaps in some pupils' knowledge. Leaders need to ensure that all subjects are well planned to build pupils' knowledge and understanding in readiness for the next stage in their learning.

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