St Michael’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans

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About St Michael’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans

Name St Michael’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Alison Rafferty
Address St Michael’s Street, St Albans, AL3 4SJ
Phone Number 01727854866
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 5-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 180
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


St Michael's Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans continues to be a good school. There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a graded (section 5) inspection now. The school's next inspection will be a graded inspection.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy attending St Michael's Primary. It is a friendly, welcoming school where learning is exciting. Pupils arrive smiling, as they enjoy coming to school.

The school's vision of pupils experiencing 'Life in All Its Fullness' successfully creates a caring and nurturing environment for them.

Pupils study a b...road and interesting curriculum. Leaders are highly ambitious about what pupils can achieve.

Pupils learn what is special about where they live. Pupils, including those who join part way through the year, achieve very well.

Pupils are happy and safe here.

Some pupils describe the school as being like a 'big family' where everyone is cared for. They are enthusiastic about the great experiences that adults provide for them. Sports, cooking, arts, computing and gardening are just some of the many clubs pupils can enjoy.

Staff have high expectations for all pupils. Pupils behave very well. The rules are clear and help them to treat everyone with respect.

The older pupils enjoy helping younger pupils as their buddies.

Pupils understand what bullying means. Bullying is extremely rare.

Pupils are confident that adults would deal with any unkindness well.

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

Leaders have thought carefully about what they want pupils to learn and when. They have set out the content and vocabulary that pupils should learn in each subject.

This begins from the early years. This ensures all pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, gain the useful knowledge and skills they need to be successful learners. Leaders are ambitious in their thinking about the curriculum.

They have skilfully blended the rich local heritage of St Michael's and the Roman Verulamium into the content pupils learn.

Teachers provide opportunities for pupils to recall and practise using what they have learned before. They routinely check pupils' understanding during lessons with skilful questioning.

Pupils have lots of opportunities to practise new knowledge. Teachers explain new knowledge clearly and link this to what pupils already know and can do. This helps to remind pupils of the knowledge they will need to be successful in their new learning.

During lessons, teachers notice if pupils have not understood. They then explain again or reteach when pupils are unsure. This ensures pupils can keep up and be successful with their learning.

Teachers provide 'Maths Meetings' as a time when pupils can practise what they have learned. This helps pupils to become more fluent in solving problems.

All staff and pupils understand the importance of reading.

Children are introduced to reading from the start of Reception. Phonics is taught consistently well. Teachers quickly spot pupils who have gaps in their reading knowledge.

Staff support them to catch up effectively. This enables almost all pupils to become confident and fluent readers. Teachers read books to pupils every day from a range of texts.

This helps pupils to develop a love of reading and extends their knowledge of the world. Pupils are enthusiastic about the many books they can choose from in the school and class libraries.

Pupils take responsibility for their behaviour.

They are enthusiastic and highly motivated learners. They listen well to their teachers' explanations and instructions. As a result, the learning flows seamlessly in lessons.

This allows pupils to complete their learning tasks to a high standard.

Leaders and teachers accurately identify the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in a timely manner. This includes children in the early years.

Leaders ensure that pupils with SEND receive clear and detailed support. They review this support regularly to make sure it is effective. There are links to specialist support agencies, such as speech and language therapists and educational psychologists.

Consequently, pupils with SEND make strong progress through the curriculum.

Leaders provide many opportunities for pupils to learn how to be good citizens. Pupils learn about and experience democracy.

For example, voting is used in school to choose pupils to represent others. Pupils can be house captains or representatives on the collective worship, eco, school and library councils. Pupils gain strong values.

They treat everyone equally and with great respect.

Staff feel well supported by leaders. Leaders prioritise pupils' well-being and academic achievement as one.

They have effective systems in place to check on the work of others. As a result, pupils thrive at St Michael's.

Governors have the knowledge and expertise to be very effective in their role.

They ensure that they are kept well informed so that they can hold leaders to account for the quality of the provision.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure all staff receive safeguarding training regularly.

Staff spot when a pupil is at risk of harm. Leaders act on welfare concerns promptly. They work with external agencies to make sure that vulnerable pupils get the support that they need.

Leaders and staff take extra care to ensure pupils are safe when they move between the school's two sites.

Pupils know who to talk to if they have a worry. They learn to stay safe in public places and online.

Leaders and governors prioritise safeguarding when recruiting new staff. They carry out and record the required pre-employment checks thoroughly.


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 second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in March 2013.

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