Wheatley Hill Community Primary School

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About Wheatley Hill Community Primary School

Name Wheatley Hill Community Primary School
Website http://www.whprimary.com
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Alan Scarr
Address Wheatley Hill Primary School, Wheatley Hill, Durham, DH6 3RQ
Phone Number 01429820594
Phase Primary
Type Community school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 415
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils love coming to this welcoming school. Pupils of all abilities prosper in the nurturing environment. Many pupils move into the school to access the special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) provision.

Pupils with SEND settle in quickly and experience success in school, often joining lessons in the mainstream classes. They receive a high level of support from specialist staff. Excellent relationships develop between staff and pupils.

As a result, pupils are confident and safe in school.

Pupils' behaviour at Wheatley Hill is exemplary. All staff have high expectations for pupils' learning and behaviour.

Staff teach pupils how to manage... their feelings and be kind to one another. There are established routines that give structure to the school day. The learning environment is thoughtfully designed.

Pupils have designed spaces and suitable resources to reduce their anxiety and help them to learn. The classrooms are calm and pleasant places to be.

Staff are rightly proud of the exceptional physical education offer.

All pupils learn to swim at an early age so that they can take part in sailing activities throughout their time in school. Pupils learn social and life skills through forest school, which they then transfer to camping. Pupils relish the opportunities for outdoor education.

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

Leaders have implemented an ambitious curriculum that helps pupils develop a strong sense of local identity. The geography and history curriculums include educational visits and visitors to school. History comes to life for pupils on their visits to museums and places of interest.

In geography, pupils explore the local coastline. As a result, pupils are excited by these subjects and have excellent recall of their learning. They are adept in identifying both artificial and natural physical coastal features.

Pupils are eager to learn more about the heritage of Wheatley Hill and County Durham.

Pupils are less keen on reading than learning about local history. Leaders ensure that there is a structured approach to teaching pupils to read.

Year 6 pupils read fluently and accurately. Reading support for younger children is less effective and is not helping the weaker readers catch up quickly enough. Although the school provides access to a wide variety of high-quality texts, pupils do not embrace these opportunities.

Pupils are not taught to recognise the value of books, and many books are lost at home. There are few incentives to read at home and parents and carers lack guidance in supporting their child in reading.

Children in early years are visibly happy in school.

Leaders create an indoor environment that is inviting and well designed to support children in their learning. Adults model communication and language skills well. Children develop positive attitudes towards learning that continue throughout school.

Leaders have highly effective systems to support pupils with SEND. They ensure that staff are well prepared to meet the needs of pupils with complex SEND who transfer from other schools. Staff use a wide range of strategies to support pupils in accessing learning.

These include additional prompts, such as pictorial instructions, and practical resources. Pupils with SEND are fully included in the wider life of the school. They experience camping in the Lake District and join the residential visits to Europe.

Pupils understand that everyone comes to school to learn. There is no low-level disruption in class. All pupils benefit from an organised physical activity of their choice at lunchtime.

They settle back to afternoon studies very quickly. Leaders work with families to highlight the importance of coming to school. They provide transport for many families.

This has improved attendance, which is higher than pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

Leaders promote positive mental health. Each child is welcomed into school with a smile and a 'check in' by staff who know them well.

Some pupils benefit from counselling sessions provided by external therapists. There are various after-school clubs, including for sports and phonics catch-up. The school choir performs at the nearby residential home.

Pupils grow in confidence in their various leadership roles.

The governing body acknowledges that some leadership structures and processes need to change in line with the school's increasing size. The clarity that informs the work of subject leaders does not extend to phase leaders.

Governors lack some of the skills they need, such as in accountancy and finance, to make effective strategic decisions. Sometimes, governors do not receive the information they need to hold others to account for the quality of the school's work.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some pupils do not receive the help they need to become fluent readers. In addition, the school is not taking effective action to encourage a love of reading among all pupils. These leaves some pupils at a disadvantage.

The school should ensure that all staff develop pupils' fluency in reading. The school should also consider how it can support a wider love of reading, such as by offering greater support to parents to help them to encourage their child to read at home. ? Governors and phase leaders do not have the information, structures and skills to check the effectiveness of provision in their areas of responsibility.

This means that their oversight is sometimes limited. The school should clarify leadership roles and lines of accountability. This will enable governors and phase leaders to better hold others to account.

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