The Abbey Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans

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About The Abbey Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans

Name The Abbey Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School, St Albans
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Linda O'Melia
Address Grove Road, St Albans, AL1 1DQ
Phone Number 01727851802
Phase Primary
Type Voluntary aided school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 174
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

This is an inclusive and welcoming school. Pupils told us that school is like being part of a big family.

The school's positive ethos contributes well to building a sense of community. Core values promote pupils' understanding of how to get on well together. Pupils reflect these values through their relationships with one another and with staff.

As one pupil said to us, 'It is easy to make friends here.'

Teachers expect the pupils to behave and work hard in lessons. Pupils enjoy the activities planned by the teachers.

In lessons, we saw pupils explaining their ideas and sharing their views confidently. Most pupils concentrate and are keen to do well.... Occasionally, a few pupils become distracted when the work is too easy.

Pupils told us that they like many things about their school. Music is a favourite subject. Pupils really look forward to singing, either in school or at the cathedral.

All pupils learn an instrument and many are proud to be members of the school orchestra.

Pupils feel safe and well cared for. They understand the different forms bullying can take.

They told us that bullying was rare in their school. Pupils trust adults to sort out any concerns or worries.

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

In many subjects, leaders have thought about what pupils should learn.

Leaders and teachers plan lessons in a logical sequence. They identify what pupils need to know at different points in each year group. For example, in history, leaders have thought carefully about the sequences in learning across Years 3 to 6.

Pupils gain an accurate understanding of chronology and the order in which events have happened in the past.

This is not consistent in all subjects, especially in science and art. In these subjects, leaders have identified what they want pupils to learn but pupils' work is not well sequenced so that they build on what they already know.

As a result, the work pupils carry out is sometimes too easy. For example, although pupils in Year 5 knew how to make circuits, the only work they were required to do in their books was to label a circuit. Pupils who are capable of understanding more in science are not being given opportunities to do so.

The teaching of early reading is effective. Teachers all use the same approach to teaching reading. This helps pupils to use their skills and knowledge of phonics (letters and the sounds they make) to read accurately and fluently.

The new reading programme in key stage 2 is taught effectively. Teachers choose a good range of books so that pupils access a range of literature. Pupils told inspectors that they enjoy reading.

However, teachers do not make sure that pupils build on this enjoyment of reading. Pupils in some year groups are being given regular opportunities to read independently. This is not the same picture for pupils in all year groups.

In most subjects, pupils who fall behind catch up quickly because they receive extra help when they need it. This includes some pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Teachers and teaching assistants know how to support these pupils.

This helps pupils to be successful in their learning.

Leaders aim to support pupils' social development. Pupils learn about citizenship through pupil councils.

They find out about how democracy works when voting for class representatives. They discuss ways to raise money for different charities or how to improve the school. Different clubs promote good health and why it is important to be active.

Leaders ensure that a range of clubs build on pupils' interests, such as gardening, photography and robotics.

There are many new subject leaders. Not all leaders have developed the skills to track how well teachers are implementing leaders' plans.

New leaders are developing action plans to identify what they need to do first.

Governors have a good knowledge of the school. They check that the school's vision is at the heart of the curriculum.

Governors ensure that teachers are well supported to manage their workload.

Children get off to a good start in the early years. Leaders are knowledgeable about how to help children learn to read and write.

They develop children's language by asking questions during children's play. Adults encourage children to provide greater detail during their discussions. Children's spoken language is rapidly improving.

The classrooms and outdoor areas are thoughtfully planned. Different areas are designed to promote children's curiosity and imagination. Consequently, children are happy.

They play well together. This helps to develop their confidence and independence.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Safeguarding has a high priority for leaders. Staff are well trained and know how to identify any signs that pupils may be at risk from harm. They know how to report their concerns using the school's systems.

Safeguarding is discussed at all the meetings adults attend. This ensures that they receive regular updates on changes in policies or legal guidance.

Governors carry out regular visits to check the policies and systems for keeping pupils safe.

External services have been used to audit the school's safeguarding procedures. The school's records are well maintained. The checks carried out on those who work or visit the school are thorough.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

The school's curriculum is not yet coherently planned in some subjects, especially art and science. The plans for these subjects do not help build pupils' knowledge sequentially. The plans do not consider what pupils already know and can do.

Occasionally, work is therefore too easy for pupils. Leaders need to ensure that the content of all the subject plans is well chosen, sequenced and implemented so that pupils are challenged to know more and remember more over time. .

Some subject leaders are new to their positions of responsibility. They do not monitor and evaluate whether pupils are accessing aspects of the curriculum well enough. Leaders should ensure that subject leaders receive the training they require to carry out their roles successfully.

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