Thornhill Primary School

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About Thornhill Primary School

Name Thornhill Primary School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs L Carroll
Address Byron Road, Thornhill, Southampton, SO19 6FH
Phone Number 02380449595
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 371
Local Authority Southampton
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at Thornhill Primary School are keen to share their thoughts and feelings.

They recognise the work that adults do to keep them safe. They talk enthusiastically about the character of 'Minion', who represents them being happy and safe.

There is a real focus on broadening pupils' horizons through planned events, assemblies and trips.

Pupils benefit from a wide range of clubs and extra-curricular activities and enjoy visiting the forest school and learning about nature. They speak positively about their experiences. Pupils understand the importance of treating people fairly and are rightly confident that everyone is welcome at their school.

Pupil...s know that they can talk to an adult if they have any concerns. They recognise that there have been improvements in behaviour during the current school year. In class, however, behaviour is not always as good as it could be.

At times, pupils are off task and distract others. Some pupils worry about this.

Pupils are not achieving as well as they could across the school.

The new curriculum is recently introduced, and pupils have significant gaps in their knowledge. They are not always supported well to remember the most important information. This includes when learning to read.

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

There is a strong determination from the trust and senior leaders to make sure that all pupils receive the best possible education. However, this vision is not yet realised throughout the school. New leaders have provided much-needed stability for the school following a period of turbulence.

The trust has appointed a strong leadership team, which is focused and driven to ensure that all pupils achieve their very best. Weaknesses are now being addressed. Parents and pupils recognise that things are getting better.

Leaders have rightly focused on addressing behaviour to ensure that all pupils are safe and happy in school. They model what they expect of pupils and staff. Positive relationships are being built throughout the school.

Pupils are developing greater resilience. The routines for behaviour develop in the early years. However, despite new procedures, there is variability in how well the behaviour policy is implemented.

Some staff do this superbly and ensure that pupils embody the school values. Others do not apply the rules consistently enough. When the behaviour of some pupils falls short of expectations, it is not always challenged.

This means that pupils' learning is sometimes disturbed by others. Pupils do not routinely demonstrate positive attitudes towards their learning.

The emphasis on creating a culture based on a love of reading is evident.

Pupils are enthusiastic about reading and keen to talk about the books they read. However, too many pupils are not learning to read quickly enough across the school. Phonics is not taught consistently well.

There is variability in staff subject knowledge. Older pupils enjoy taking quizzes linked to what they read, but teachers do not always help them to understand key concepts. The support given to pupils who are finding learning to read difficult does not always help them to catch up.

The new leadership team has designed a well-sequenced curriculum, which identifies the key content pupils must know. There is inconsistency, however, between subjects in how well the curriculum in early years links to the learning in Year 1. Teachers across the school do not always know how to design tasks that support pupils to learn the most important information.

Due to historic weaknesses in the curriculum, pupils have gaps in their knowledge. These are not always picked up or addressed by adults, although some staff are more confident to check pupils' understanding.

Leaders' expectations of how the curriculum will be taught are not embedded throughout the school.

In some areas, the agreed approach is used well by teachers. Pupils recognise when this is the case and know that these strategies help them to learn. New systems help staff to identify pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

However, adults do not always understand how to adapt learning so that pupils with SEND can access the curriculum. Some pupils with SEND benefit from the school's nurture provision, which helps them to gain resilience and independence while learning. They are proud to talk about what they have achieved here.

Pupils' personal development is a strength of the school. There has been a sharp focus on developing personal, social and health education across the school. Leaders recognise the importance of ensuring that pupils are equipped for life beyond the school gates.

Older pupils understand the concept of equality and do not feel that anyone is treated differently. An understanding of tolerance and cultural awareness builds through the curriculum. Leaders understand that some pupils do not have the same experiences as others out of school, so they ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to attend clubs and trips.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There is a very strong culture based on the concept of 'it can happen here'. Leaders are fully aware of the risks that pupils may be exposed to.

As a result, there is a focus on equipping pupils with the skills they need to keep themselves safe. The safeguarding team is robust in its approach and takes appropriate action to keep pupils safe. Staff understand what they need to be alert to and raise concerns if they notice anything.

Pupils understand risks and dangers. They are taught how to stay safe in a variety of ways. They recall the key messages from their assemblies and discuss why these are important.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• There is variability in how well phonics is taught. Inconsistencies mean that pupils are not learning to read as quickly as they could. Leaders need to continue to develop staff's subject knowledge of phonics.

• Staff do not consistently use the agreed pedagogical approaches during lessons, including opportunities to check how well pupils have remembered key content. As a result, gaps and misconceptions in pupils' learning are not identified and remedied. Leaders need to ensure that all staff understand the expectations around pedagogical approaches and use these to support pupils' learning.

• Across the school, including in early years, the curriculum is not being consistently well implemented. Teachers do not always design tasks that enable pupils to follow the intended curriculum. Leaders must ensure that staff understand how pupils' learning should build in each subject.

• Staff do not necessarily know how best to adapt learning for pupils with SEND. This means these pupils are not supported well enough to access the curriculum. Leaders need to ensure that all staff understand how to tailor teaching to meet the needs of all learners.

• The behaviour policy is not implemented well by all staff. This means that pupils' behaviour is not always addressed appropriately. Leaders need to embed expectations and ensure that all staff use the agreed shared approach.

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