St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary School

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About St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary School

Name St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Sarah Clayton
Address Spring Street, Brighton, BN1 3EF
Phone Number 01273327533
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 192
Local Authority Brighton and Hove
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a highly inclusive, multicultural school, where pupils mix well together.

Leaders have created a culture of care where all children are welcomed and embraced. Staff build great relationships with pupils and their parents and carers. Leaders ensure that everything is done to help new families and to make them feel part of the school community.

Leaders promote high academic and pastoral ambitions for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They believe there are no limits or ceiling on what any pupil can achieve and actively seek out the best support for pupils to enable them to succeed.

Pupils are happy an...d value their education.

Leaders ensure that pupils are learning to be respectful, tolerant and knowledgeable citizens. Older pupils are good role models for younger pupils and take on many responsibilities.

Most pupils behave well.

They work and play together harmoniously. Those pupils who find concentrating difficult are usually supported well.

Pupils say they feel safe and that there is no bullying.

If it did happen, pupils are confident that staff would deal with it straight away. Pupils learn how to stay safe, including when accessing the internet.

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

Children get off to a good start in the Reception and Nursery Years.

Adults are caring and work closely together as a team to meet children's needs. This helps children to make a happy, settled start to school. Teachers give priority to developing children's language skills as many start school speaking little English.

Staff are enthusiastic and foster children's enjoyment of learning, including reading. Well-designed activities interest children and spark their curiosity. For example, during the inspection, children were absorbed in pouring glitter water between jugs, working carefully together to learn about measuring.

Leaders prioritise reading well. Pupils are taught phonics in a sensible order and develop their reading skills progressively. However, many pupils come and go at different times in the school year, often at short notice, with many new pupils having little spoken English or experience of school.

Any pupils who enter the school mid-year or who fall behind get specialist help to catch up with developing their early reading skills. Pupils enjoy reading for themselves and listening to a variety of texts read aloud by teachers who read with passion and enthusiasm.

Many areas of the curriculum are logically planned and well delivered.

The school's plans for reading and writing, mathematics, religious education and art are especially well thought out. In these subjects, teachers plan activities that build well on pupils' previous learning. This is helping pupils to know and remember more.

This is particularly clear in mathematics, where pupils build up their mathematical confidence and skills over time. However, some teachers' expectations of what pupils can achieve in mathematics are not always high enough. In a few instances, the activities planned for pupils do not provide appropriate challenge.

Leaders ensure that pupils experience a broad and interesting curriculum. Leaders have made a good start in reviewing and updating the curriculum, with work to develop history and science well under way. Some subjects are yet to be revisited.

Leaders have this planned out at a sensible pace to make sure that the reviews are thorough and do not cause unnecessary workload for staff.

Leaders and staff have high expectations of pupils' conduct. Pupils are polite and have good relationships with each other and adults.

Staff understand pupils' additional needs, including disadvantaged pupils, those who speak English as an additional language, and those with SEND. Staff are given specialist advice, extra support and resources so that these pupils can learn alongside their classmates. Most of the time, staff help these pupils to take part in lessons successfully.

Teachers capitalise on the diverse population of the school to help pupils to learn in depth about other cultures, beliefs and customs. The school actively seeks to engage all parents in the life of the school and in supporting pupils' education. Staff carefully use the local area to enhance the curriculum.

For example, classes make the short walk to the beach to learn first-hand about the environment.

Pupils enjoy the wide range of extra-curricular clubs on offer to them. There are many opportunities for pupils to engage in activities outside school, along with pupils from other schools.

Pupils raise awareness and funds for many different causes and are very proud of the 'thank you' messages on display.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Senior leaders recognise the challenges faced by pupils, including those whose circumstances might make them vulnerable, and take steps to ensure that the safety and welfare of children are given a high priority.

They have strong processes in place and ensure that the information they receive is acted upon quickly. Staff are well trained on all aspects of safeguarding and know how and when to report any concerns about a child's welfare.

Although staff are vigilant and pupils are kept safe, some records and policies are not updated as well as they might be.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Leaders have used the national curriculum to create new plans for teaching science, history, art and religious education. Learning in these subjects is being linked together by a coherent sequence of knowledge, skills and vocabulary. Leaders need to make sure that staff are given the support, time and training necessary to implement these new plans and to develop other foundation subjects.

. A small number of teachers do not always plan activities that are challenging enough, particularly in mathematics. Leaders need to ensure that all teachers have consistently high expectations of what all pupils, regardless of their ability, can achieve.

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