St Robert’s Catholic Primary School, A Voluntary Academy

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About St Robert’s Catholic Primary School, A Voluntary Academy

Name St Robert’s Catholic Primary School, A Voluntary Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Miss Jill Collins
Address Ainsty Road, Harrogate, HG1 4AP
Phone Number 01423504730
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 284
Local Authority North Yorkshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

St Robert's Catholic Primary School is a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community. Teachers and support staff care passionately about each child.

They take a keen interest in pupils' ideas and opinions. Everyone is valued. The Catholic values of the school are a central feature of its work.

These values are reflected in the acts of kindness that pupils carry out in the school and in the community.

Pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), say that they feel safe. This is, in part, due to the diligent work of leaders and staff at the school.

When safeguarding or pastoral concerns arise, staff deal with issue...s swiftly and sensitively.

Pupils behave well in class and around the school during playtime. Occasionally, there are instances when a minority of pupils forget their manners or disrupt the learning of others.

Nevertheless, pupils are resilient and forgiving. Teachers have high expectations. They insist on using positive praise to help find the best in each child.

Children in the early years are happy. There is a lively atmosphere in Reception class, where children make friends and play well together. However, children do not get off to the best start.

In recent years, a large proportion of children have not developed the literacy, communication and language skills needed to make them ready for Year 1.

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

Reading is given a high priority. Pupils talk eagerly about their favourite books, including 'The Iron Man' by Ted Hughes and 'The Egyptian Cinderella' by Shirley Climo.

Teachers read regularly to pupils. They bring stories to life by using expression and interesting voices to grab pupils' attention. The school's recent approach to teaching early reading is helping more pupils to read fluently.

All staff teach phonics in a consistent way, using similar language and routines to teach letter-sound correspondences and how to blend them. The books pupils read include words that align with their phonics knowledge. Staff have a firm grasp of where pupils are at in respect of their phonic development.

However, there are some occasions when the organisation of teaching, and groups, leads to some pupils with weaker phonics knowledge being expected to learn the same sounds as their classmates. As a result, these pupils do not keep up with the school's phonics programme as well as they might.

The school's curriculum is increasingly ambitious.

The school gives careful thought to the order in which pupils learn the curriculum and the resources used to deepen their knowledge. Pupils are given time to rehearse, and reflect on, what has been learned in most subjects, particularly in mathematics. Here, pupils use regular recaps, and effective representations, to make connections between important concepts such as multiples and equivalent fractions.

The proportion of pupils at the school who speak English as an additional language is increasing considerably. Some pupils have been out of education prior to joining the school. New starters quickly integrate.

They receive sensitive support from adults and a helping hand from prospective friends. The frequent smiles and giggles echoing along the corridor and in the playground demonstrate how successful the school is at making pupils feel at home. While these pupils quickly settle into school, actions to help them learn to read fluently, or to express their own feelings, are less developed.

Leaders from the school and the multi-academy trust (the trust) work well together. The trust uses clear systems to evaluate the quality of education pupils receive. This information is used effectively by the trust to initiate support and challenge in the right places.

For example, more recently, trust staff have been supporting new initiatives in the early years. Staff say that school and trust leaders are considerate of their workload and well-being. Early career teachers receive strong support and make excellent progress.

Pupils' personal development is a high priority. Pupils enjoy the many leadership opportunities in the school, including being reading ambassadors and 'Mini Vinnies' (members of the St Vincent de Paul Society). Assemblies, singing and prayers help to embed and promote the school's golden rules of 'Be ready, be safe and be respectful'.

There are opportunities for pupils to develop their character and stay active during the day, during scheduled festivals and events. Some parents and pupils would like to see further opportunities for more extra-curricular activities, which are limited currently.

Children's learning in the early years is not as strong as it could be.

Expectations of what children are capable of are too low. Opportunities for meaningful learning are not well planned, particularly for literacy, communication and language. The school has recently introduced a new approach which is helping more children, especially boys, write words in ways that match their spoken sounds.

It is too early to see if this is helping more children to be ready for their next stage in learning.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Provision in the early years requires improvement.

Deliberate, well-planned opportunities for pupils to speak, listen and write are sporadic or do not challenge children as well as they might. In recent years, not enough children have been ready for their next stage in learning. The school should ensure that the curriculum in the early years is ambitious and implemented in a consistent and effective way, so that more children reach the expected standard and are ready for their next stage in learning.

• Some pupils, at an earlier stage of learning to read, are taught letter sounds that are too difficult. Occasionally, these pupils struggle to access the lesson or complete activities with success. This is not a good use of their time and can have a detrimental effect on pupils' confidence when reading.

The school should ensure that lessons are pitched appropriately to better meet the needs of pupils learning to read. ? The school is at an early stage in its thinking about how to best support the increasing number of pupils who speak English as an additional language. The school should ensure that it has an effective strategy to support the induction of these pupils, helping each new starter get off to a flying start.

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