Whittonstall First School

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About Whittonstall First School

Name Whittonstall First School
Website http://whfs.cheviotlt.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Katie Jacobs
Address Whittonstall, Consett, DH8 9JN
Phone Number 01207560325
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-9
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 77
Local Authority Northumberland
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders have created a warm and welcoming ethos at Whittonstall First School.

The whole school community is at the centre of the school's vision. Pupils enjoy coming to school every day. They are proud of their work and the friendships they make.

Leaders have high expectations and ambitions for all pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The newly implemented curriculum is helping leaders to achieve these.

Pupils feel safe in school.

Bullying is rare. Pupils recognise how the adults in school help them to keep safe. In lessons, behaviour is positive.

Pupils know and understand how good behaviour he...lps them learn in lessons. Pupils value opportunities to take on leadership responsibilities. They like the 'buddy' system which links older and younger pupils at breaktimes to build friendships.

Parents and carers value the work of the school. One parent, echoing the views of many said, 'Whittonstall First School is such a nurturing, inclusive environment where each child is supported to achieve their full potential.'

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

Whittonstall First School has undergone recent and rapid change.

It has a new senior leadership structure. Senior leaders have implemented new curriculums for reading, history, geography, and art and design from the trust.

Leaders, governors and staff are very proud of their school and its achievements.

Successful curriculum development is evident in the reading, mathematics and history curriculums. Leaders have prioritised training for staff in these subjects. Teachers have secure subject knowledge and teach these subjects well.

The sequences of learning are effective. As a result, pupils build knowledge in these lessons effectively. Ongoing assessment in history and mathematics helps teachers know what pupils are learning and remembering.

Leaders have carefully thought about the mixed-age classes in school and how to structure the curriculum. Where the curriculum is less robust, such as in physical education (PE), the sequence of teaching is not planned clearly.

Pupils make a positive start to reading at Whittonstall First School.

There is clear consideration given to the books that pupils read and study across the curriculum. Leaders have quickly embedded their new phonics scheme. Quality training in reading enables staff to deliver the scheme effectively.

Teachers ensure that pupils benefit from whole-class phonics teaching. Any gaps in understanding are picked up promptly by staff. Pupils talk with enthusiasm about reading for pleasure.

Pupil librarians are proud of their responsibility to promote reading to other pupils. Pupils at the earliest stages of reading are given books to read that are well matched to their phonics knowledge. This helps these pupils to read with confidence and fluency.

The love of reading seen with older pupils starts with engaging story times in the early years.

Whittonstall First School is a school where everyone is welcome. Pupils with SEND access all aspects of school life alongside their peers.

Leaders put bespoke support in place for pupils with SEND. Processes for pupils with SEND are efficient and effective. Pupils with SEND benefit from an experienced special educational needs and disabilities coordinator who, when necessary, accesses guidance and support from specialist agencies and professionals.

Relationships between staff and children in the early years are kind and friendly. Routines are clear and established quickly. These routines continue as pupils move though the school.

Most pupils speak to each other in a respectful way and celebrate the differences that they have. Occasionally, pupils make poor choices. A new behaviour policy is helping staff in school to support pupils to reflect on their behaviour.

Pupils know that adults in school listen to them. All have a trusted adult they can talk to.

Leaders celebrate the range of opportunities and experiences that the school offers.

Each class enjoys and benefits from the on-site forest school provision. Forest school activities support the early years curriculum effectively. Opportunities to enrich the curriculum with educational visits are planned for over the school year.

The wider personal, social and health education curriculum ensures that unique issues relating to living in a rural community are taught. Focus weeks have a spotlight on national events, such as 'Anti-Bullying Week'. Pupils understand that everyone is different and must be treated fairly.

Pupils participate in democracy in school. They vote for the school council. Children in Reception vote daily to choose their story time book.

Staff benefit from sharing subject leadership. This model of working reduces the workload for teachers in this very small, rural school significantly.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The designated safeguarding lead (DSL) has clear procedures in place to keep children safe. The DSL makes referrals to external services to support pupils and their families in a timely way. Staff and governors receive regular updates and training about safeguarding.

Leaders and staff have developed a 'it could happen here' culture to safeguarding.

Pupils feel safe. They know how to keep safe online and within the school community.

They learn this in an age-appropriate way.

Leaders ensure that adults working in the school are recruited using effective safeguarding procedures.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The sequences of learning in some foundation subjects are unclear.

Pupils are not supported well to know and remember more in these foundation subjects. They cannot build on previous knowledge well. Senior and subject leaders need to match the rigour and sequencing in place for mathematics and history to other foundation subjects and ensure that staff are supported to deliver these subjects more effectively.

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