The Downs Church of England Primary School

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About The Downs Church of England Primary School

Name The Downs Church of England Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Natalie Luxford
Address Owen Square, Walmer, Deal, CT14 7TL
Phone Number 01304372486
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 317
Local Authority Kent
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils flourish at this warm and welcoming school. They are taught to be kind and active citizens. Pupils embrace the school vision of 'nothing is impossible' and are keen to play an active role in the school community.

They value the varied leadership positions such as charity champions and curriculum consultants. The school encourages them to be friendly and responsible. Pupils demonstrate these qualities through their positive attitudes and relationships with other pupils and staff.

Pupils are respectful. They happily play together at playtimes and calmly move around the school. Pupils benefit from nurturing relationships with staff.

They trust that adults... in school will listen and care for them. This creates an environment where pupils feel safe.

The school has high expectations of pupils' learning.

Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are keen to learn and so work hard. As a result, they achieve well across the curriculum.

Pupils appreciate the wide range of trips and experiences.

Visits to the British Museum, climbing walls and engaging with amateur dramatics have supported pupils to discover new interests and talents. Pupils relish the opportunities in school and the variety of clubs during, before and after school.

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

The Reception Year provides a positive start to children's time at school, which supports them to thrive.

The school has carefully identified what children will learn and in what order. Staff are skilled in supporting children to understand and remember small steps of learning to gradually build knowledge over time. They prioritise developing children's language and communication.

This prepares children effectively for their future learning.

The teaching of reading is effective. Pupils get off to a strong start from the very first days of Reception.

The school has introduced a well-sequenced phonics scheme. Staff consistently follow this, which helps pupils to develop into confident readers. Weaker readers are provided with effective support to enable them to keep up.

Almost all pupils read books which closely match the sounds they have already learned, but this is not yet as consistent as it should be. The school recognises that this is key to enabling every pupil to develop accuracy and fluency. Pupils are enthused by staff reading books aloud to them.

This exposes pupils to varied books that they might not read independently. As a result, pupils develop a genuine interest in reading different text types. The school works effectively with parents to support them with reading at home.

The school has introduced an ambitious curriculum that is coherently sequenced. This was in response to weaker key stage 2 outcomes in 2022. Teachers follow these plans closely and usually check pupils' understanding carefully.

This enables pupils to connect concepts and knowledge. For example, in design and technology, pupils develop their sewing skills by gradually learning more challenging types of stitches. As a result, pupils can recall the most important content over time.

Pupils with SEND are supported effectively. Staff swiftly identify pupils' needs and skilfully adapt their teaching to enable them to learn the same curriculum as their peers. Consequently, pupils with SEND achieve well.

In a few subjects, staff are at an earlier stage of implementing the new curriculum.

Pupils generally behave well and are keen to attend school. The school teaches pupils from the start of Reception how to behave.

Pupils respond enthusiastically and swiftly learn the routines and rules. This means that pupils usually focus well in lessons. Occasionally, they lose concentration, but staff are typically swift to refocus pupils.

The school works in close partnership with parents to encourage good attendance. However, some pupils who are disadvantaged do not attend school regularly enough.

The school strongly promotes pupils' personal development.

Pupils are encouraged to be inclusive and thoughtful modern citizens. The school prioritises teaching pupils about their physical and mental health to help them grow in confidence. They learn about social justice through reflective assemblies and the world around them through carefully planned opportunities.

As a result, pupils flourish in the respectful and inclusive environment. As one parent commented, 'My child is now flying!'

Leaders keep pupils firmly at the centre of decision-making. Trustees ensure that the new governing body provides helpful challenge for school leaders to provide an effective provision for pupils.

Staff appreciate the school's focus on maintaining pupils at the centre of decision-making. As a result, they feel supported as everyone works together to continue to improve the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• A small number of pupils read books that are not sufficiently well matched to their reading ability. At times, this slows their reading progress. The trust should ensure that pupils read books that are accurately matched to the sounds they have previously learned.

• Attendance is too low for some pupils. This hinders their learning, as they miss out on learning essential content. The trust should redouble their efforts so that the attendance of disadvantaged pupils improves.

Also at this postcode
Brambles Nursery School

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