St Michael’s Primary School

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About St Michael’s Primary School

Name St Michael’s Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Catherine O'Shea
Address Station Road, Withyham, Hartfield, TN7 4BP
Phone Number 01892770307
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 75
Local Authority East Sussex
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy attending this welcoming and caring school.

They are happy here and form positive relationships with one another. As one pupil said, 'We make lots of lovely friends.' Pupils behave well, both in class and when at play.

They engage in imaginative games at playtime and read together in the 'Earth Pod'. Pupils feel safe and are confident that if they have a worry, they can speak to a trusted adult who will help.

The school has clear ambition for the development of pupils' learning in mathematics and reading.

However, the recent focus on mathematics and reading has been at the detriment of other subjects. As such, not all pupils achieve well... in subjects beyond reading and mathematics. After a time of turbulence in staffing, the school is now ready to address the improvements needed to strengthen the ambition for pupils in all subjects.

Pupils learn about the school's values in assembly time. This helps them to see the relevance of the school values in their lives and in the lives of others. Pupils take on responsibilities, such as being school councillors.

This develops a culture of care for others. Children in the early years settle well and form a very positive attitude to life in school.

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

Too many pupils have gaps in their knowledge and understanding in subjects beyond reading and mathematics.

The school does not provide teachers with enough detail about the content of the curriculum in too many subjects. This means that teachers are not always clear about what to teach and when. Furthermore, as the content of learning is not clear, teachers do not routinely check what pupils know and remember.

As such, teachers do not recognise and address gaps in pupils' learning consistently. This means that too many pupils do not achieve as well as they could in some subjects.

The school develops pupils' knowledge and skills in mathematics and reading well.

Teachers receive helpful training that supports their practice in class. They help children in the early years to settle quickly into routines and learn to read simple words. As pupils move into key stage 1, they secure their ability to read well.

Teachers check that pupils understand and can recall what they have learned. This helps teachers to provide support for pupils who have fallen behind in their reading. As a result, pupils catch up swiftly.

Older pupils use the vibrant school library to explore their interests and develop a love of reading. While outcomes in mathematics in key stage 2 in 2023 were low, the school is now addressing this well.

Teachers ensure that pupils are interested in learning and eager to know more.

They ensure that children in the early years develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. They provide meaningful opportunities for children to explore learning through play. Parents are kept informed about the progress of their child through stay-and-play days, where teachers share children's work.

Teachers use questioning to develop pupils' thinking well. They encourage pupils to talk about their learning with their peers, which helps them to make sense of what they learn. Teachers identify the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) effectively.

They support pupils with SEND who need individualised programmes to learn through a range of activities that address their needs. Teachers provide resources that help pupils with SEND to access their learning alongside their peers. However, teachers do not always provide the support needed for some pupils with SEND to help them to succeed in all subjects.

Teachers encourage pupils to behave positively in class. Pupils are respectful to adults and one another in lessons and around school. As one pupil said, 'Friends look after you really well here.'

Pupils learn about diversity and equality. For example, pupils talk eloquently when explaining their views about gender and racial equality.

The school provides a wide range of opportunities for pupils.

Pupils experience trips beyond the school, and visitors to the school enhance pupils' learning. For example, multicultural dance workshops develop pupils' awareness of diversity. The school provides a range of clubs that develops pupils' interests.

The school ensures that clubs are accessible to pupils with SEND. Staff support pupils' emotional well-being through a range of helpful activities. For example, pupils attend art therapy sessions that build their resilience and visit the school's forest school to enhance their confidence in decision making.

These activities and others support pupils who are anxious about settling into life in school confidently.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders have not yet clarified the curriculum progression in many subjects beyond reading and mathematics.

This means that teachers are not clear about the component knowledge and skills needed in some subjects. Too many pupils do not achieve as well as they could in some subjects. Leaders need to provide teachers with clearly defined subject progression to ensure that teachers know the essential knowledge and skills to teach in all subjects.

• Teachers do not use assessment effectively enough. This means that pupils have too many gaps in their knowledge in subjects beyond reading and mathematics. Leaders need to clarify the essential knowledge and skills pupils must remember in all subjects so that they can identify pupils who have gaps in their knowledge and help them to catch up quickly.

• Teachers do not always think through the adaptations needed to best support pupils with SEND in some subjects. As a result, some pupils with SEND struggle to access learning alongside their peers in class. Teachers need to provide purposeful adaptations for pupils with SEND to help them to succeed in all subjects.

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