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Pupils in key stages 1 and 2 at St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School achieve exceptionally well.
Children in the early years also achieve well at this school.
Pupils' behaviour is impeccable. They demonstrate high levels of respect towards each other and to staff.
Pupils were proud of their contribution to the welcoming, safe and happy atmosphere that permeates their school. This helps pupils to thrive.
The school is extremely ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
By the end of key stage 2, pupils are extremely well prepared for the next stage in their education.
Pu...pils were keen to tell inspectors about how much they enjoy their learning. They described how important it is to always try their best.
Pupils explained that they appreciate the support that they receive from staff to help them to succeed in their endeavours.
Pupils demonstrate extremely positive attitudes and resilience. They are intently focused on achieving the high aspirations that they set for themselves.
Pupils benefit from the wide range of high-quality opportunities that the school provides. For example, pupils learn how to make their school and wider community better places to be. They are eager to support local and national charities.
Pupils also take part in many community events. These events include singing at local residential homes, during religious celebrations or with choirs from other schools.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The curriculum is highly effective.
The school has carefully identified the knowledge that pupils should learn across a broad range of subjects. The meticulously designed curriculum enables pupils to build securely on what they have learned before. Pupils develop a rich and impressive body of knowledge by the time that they leave Year 6.
Across the school, staff deliver the curriculum to an exceptionally high standard. Teachers are adept at using the school's approaches to assessment to check that pupils' knowledge is embedded before they begin to learn something new. Over time, pupils develop a deep and sophisticated understanding of concepts and ideas.
Teachers swiftly identify and address any misconceptions or gaps in pupils' knowledge that may emerge, including in reading. Staff are expertly trained to identify and meet any additional needs that pupils may have. This includes for those pupils with SEND and those pupils who speak English as an additional language.
This helps most of these pupils to flourish alongside their peers.
A small number of pupils with SEND benefit from specially trained staff who deliver more intensive support in the 'acorn room'. Most of these are children from the Reception classes.
Overall, these children are expertly supported to achieve well. However, on occasion, they miss out on interacting with their peers. For some children, this hinders the depth of their learning and development.
Reading is a top priority for the school. Staff deliver the school's phonics programme exceptionally well. Children in the early years quickly develop the skills and knowledge that they need to begin to read words while they are in the Reception Year.
Staff skilfully support any pupils who find reading more difficult to keep up with the phonics programme. By the end of key stage 1, almost all pupils can read with fluency and accuracy.
Teachers make expert use of a wide range of high-quality texts to enhance and extend pupils' learning.
These texts ignite pupils' tangible fascination with literature. Older pupils told inspectors that reading helps them to find out new things and explore issues that intrigue them.
Pupils' enthusiasm for learning is palpable.
They embrace all that is on offer during lessons and at other times of the day to enhance and build on what they already know. Pupils view lessons and clubs as valuable learning time. They do not squander these opportunities.
As a result, disruption to the well-ordered school environment or lesson time is very rare.
The school makes sure that all pupils are provided with suitable activities to support their wider personal development. For example, pupils have many opportunities to lead others.
These include running their own themed lunchtime clubs, refereeing sports matches and supporting other pupils to understand how British democracy works. By the time that pupils move on to secondary school, they demonstrate extraordinary maturity and responsibility that stands them in good stead for later life.
The school benefits from strong and highly effective leadership.
Leaders, including those responsible for governance, are committed to maintaining the highest standards of education possible for all pupils. Governors also check that staff's workload is manageable and is not unduly influenced when decisions are made to enhance or refine the school's curriculum.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In the early years, a few children with SEND sometimes miss out on learning and interacting with their peers. This hinders the depth to which some of these children learn and develop. The school should ensure that all children in the early years, including those with SEND, have the opportunity to learn alongside their peers whenever possible.
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