Whale Hill Primary School

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About Whale Hill Primary School

Name Whale Hill Primary School
Website http://www.whalehillprimary.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Headteacher Sandra Marsden
Address Sandsend Road, Eston, Middlesbrough, TS6 8AD
Phone Number 01642454339
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 507
Local Authority Redcar and Cleveland
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Whale Hill is a very tightly knit school community. One pupil said, 'This school is a family.

We look after each other.' Secure relationships between staff and families are based on trust. Parents and carers are extremely loyal to the staff.

They appreciate the lengths that leaders, teachers and teaching assistants went to during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep families safe.

The school's rules are fully embedded. All pupils understand why good behaviour matters.

They know the importance of regular attendance. Pupils want to come to school and try their best. They want to achieve.

They aspire to get a good job when they grow up.

Leade...rs are ambitious too. They have designed the curriculum skilfully.

The curriculum is well sequenced. As a result, pupils can remember what they have learned.

Pupils behave well in lessons and at social times.

Pupils are polite and sensible when moving around the school building. This makes the learning environment feel calm and safe. Instances of bullying are very rare.

When they do occur, staff manage them effectively.

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

Leaders have reviewed the curriculum for all subjects. Teachers assess pupils' learning regularly.

They know pupils' starting points for each new topic. Teachers quickly build on pupils' prior learning. Teachers analyse assessments skilfully to identify any learning gaps.

They adapt the curriculum to repeat learning if they need to.

Teachers adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils and their parents give their views when the special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) applies for an initial statutory assessment and during the annual review process for education, health and care plans (EHC plan).

The SENCo checks that teachers are using the targets that have been agreed within each EHC plan. This is helping pupils with SEND to make good progress.

The early years curriculum is sharply focused on developing pupils' vocabulary and communication skills.

Some staff have extra skills that help them communicate with non-verbal children with SEND. Some teachers and teaching assistants use Makaton or British sign language confidently to help children understand instructions. This reduces children's frustration and helps them with their learning.

Phonics is taught right from the start. Teachers know the phonics milestones that pupils should reach. They make sure that pupils keep up with the pace of the phonics programme.

Leaders have identified that some of the reading books in Year 1 do not match pupils' phonics knowledge. Leaders know that this is holding some less-able pupils back. Governors have already allocated the funds that leaders need to buy some new reading books.

Pupils have a mature understanding of bullying. It hardly ever happens. Inspectors spoke to Year 6 pupils who have been given sanctions under the school's behaviour policy.

Pupils understood why they deserved these sanctions. They say teachers always treat them fairly. Pupils say the sanctions worked because their behaviour has improved.

Pupils are very keen to keep this up.

The curriculum for pupils' personal development is very effective. Pupils are respectful and tolerant of others, including those from different faiths and cultures.

For example, pupils know what atheists, agnostics and Hindus believe in. They know that racism is a criminal offence. They understand equality.

One pupil said, 'You shouldn't judge people for having a disability or two mams.'

The financial literacy leader has improved pupils' economic education. Leaders receive food from supermarkets through the 'FareShare' project.

Pupils in Years 5 and 6 run an 'eco-shop.' Leaders are in the process of setting up a school bank. All pupils will be able to open a savings account.

Leaders are preparing pupils well for their lives at secondary school and beyond.

Leaders raise pupils' aspirations through careers education. They take older pupils to visit the local college to find out about the different types of training courses on offer.

Some pupils learned how to make bricks when they sampled the bricklaying course. Other pupils are attracted to jobs in the travel and tourism industry. Pupils found out about jobs that they did not know existed.

Preparation for adulthood is well established at Whale Hill Primary School.

Leaders are providing effective professional development and support for early career teachers. Leaders have ensured that mentors are given the time they need to be effective in their roles.

All staff are positive about leaders' management of their workload.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders understand how to identify, help and manage safeguarding concerns.

Staff are well trained. Leaders make sure that early career teachers receive safeguarding training as a priority during their induction.

Pupils trust adults in school.

They confidently approach adults and talk to them about their problems. Pupils feel that their problems are taken seriously. Pupils can go to the 'zen-den' if they need support at lunchtime.

Governors have arranged supportive meetings that reduce stress for designated safeguarding leads. This involves designated safeguarding leads, from each school within the multi-academy trust, attending half-termly sessions together.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Reading books are not well matched to pupils' phonics knowledge in Year 1 consistently.

As a result, some pupils cannot read these books fluently. This knocks their confidence. Leaders should ensure that reading books are well matched to pupils' phonics knowledge and skills.

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