St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School

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About St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School

Name St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Claire O'Rourke
Address Magdalen Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, TN37 6EU
Phone Number 01424427801
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 194
Local Authority East Sussex
Highlights from Latest Inspection


St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils have a very clear understanding of the values of their school.

Their attendance has improved significantly during the last year. They respond positively to praise, to additional challenge, and to the high expectations of staff. Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are supported well here, as are those with English as an additional language.

As a result, classrooms are purposeful places where pupils from a wide range of backgrounds achieve increasingly well.

Older pupils are acutely conscious of their responsibility to set positive examples ...for younger peers. They are openly proud of the multicultural aspect of their friendships.

They feel that they have a voice and are confident in expressing their feelings and opinions when asked.

In discussions with the inspector, pupils acknowledged that behaviour is not always perfect, though were clear that when friendships do break down, they need to play their own part in making things better. One freely offered quote during a discussion with pupils new to the school was that there are no 'full-time' bullies here.

Those who have been at the school longer agree. They feel that the school is a safe place to be and that any worries are dealt with quickly by staff.

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

This is a good and improving school.

Much progress has been made since the school's last inspection. Leaders at all levels, including those in positions of governance, have ensured that there is a clear upward trajectory over time. The school's ongoing work with the local English and mathematics hub schools is paying dividends.

Positive partnerships with other schools are also benefiting staff and pupils alike. Staff are positive about the support of leaders and are proud of their important work as a close-knit team.

The curriculum is evolving.

The school intends that it closely matches the needs and aspirations of the diverse community of pupils it serves. A programme of revision is under way. The school knows that some subjects need to be refined further to ensure that the way learning is sequenced over time helps pupils to build securely on what they already know and can do.

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), benefit from tailored and timely support when needed. Much of this happens in the classroom without additional fuss. Some is delivered in collaboration from professionals from outside the school.

Pupils new to the country, many with English as an additional language, are also supported well.

Children get off to a good start in the early years. They work and play together well.

Staff are attentive and understand the individual needs of children. The school's work to teach pupils to read starts in Reception. It has been revised and strengthened recently.

Staff have attended a range of additional training to support them to teach phonics. Classroom visits showed a high degree of consistency in the way that the programme is delivered. Pupils who are in danger of falling behind are supported well because staff have a sound understanding of their progress.

Older pupils also benefit from a well-organised programme to support their reading and love of the written word. As a result, they enjoy books and are happy to share their preferred authors and discuss their likes and dislikes, often linked to the set texts they explore together as a class.

Pupils are equally positive about their work as mathematicians.

The school has worked hard to develop the way pupils support each other in their learning. Classroom visits show that this aspect is increasingly successful in mathematics lessons. Pupils relish additional challenge because they understand that mistakes sometimes need to be made in order to build future success.

Because of this, they are increasingly confident to share their work with their peers, free from the worry of negative judgements when their answers are not quite right.

The programme to support pupils' wider development is a strength of the school. This is firmly built on the school's Catholic ethos and equally valued by those from different faiths and backgrounds.

Pupils talk about their enjoyment of being 'creative'. Older pupils are excited about their impending residential trip and the challenges this will bring in the form of outdoor adventure.

Parents are positive about what they see as equal opportunities for all and the school's focus on nurture and the well-being of pupils.

Boys like to dance here. Girls enjoy competitive sports against other schools. Respect flows freely between pupils and staff.

People are allowed to have a sense of humour. Kindness is the norm.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some foundation subjects, the school's curriculum planning does not define clearly enough the key knowledge and skills that pupils need to know and develop. Where this is the case, teachers are not as clear about what they need to teach or what pupils already know and can do. End points are not as well defined as they could be, meaning that pupils are not as prepared as they might be as they move on to secondary education.

Work has started on a review of foundation subjects. Some of this work is complete. Some is still ongoing and now needs further refinement.

Leaders need to complete this work as a matter of urgency. This will ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of the key knowledge and skills that pupils need across all curriculum subjects as they move through the school year on year.


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 February 2019.

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