RE Inspection Report

RE Inspection Report

Section 48 Inspection Report
St Bede’s R.C. Primary School
Washington
 
DENOMINATIONAL INSPECTION
REPORT (Section 48) on THE CATHOLIC LIFE OF THE SCHOOL AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
 
School: St Bede’s R.C. Primary School
Address: Hampshire Place, Washington, Tyne & Wear. NE37 2NP
Telephone Number: 0191 2193795
Email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
School URN: 108852
 
Headteacher: Mr Dominic Curran
 
Chair of Governors: Mr Stephen Hill
 
Inspector: Elaine White
 
Date of Inspection: 25 and 26 September 2012
 
This Inspection Report is produced for the Rt. Reverend Séamus Cunningham, the Bishop of
Hexham and Newcastle Diocese, (c.f. Code Canon Law, 804, 806), and for the Governing
Body of the school (Education Act 2005, Section 48). The inspection reviews, evaluates and
plans further improvements in the school’s witness to the Catholic faith and Curriculum
Religious Education. This process begins with the school’s own self‐evaluation.
The inspection schedule follows criteria set by the National Board of Advisers and
Inspectors.
 
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INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
 
St Bede’s is a smaller than average sized primary school which serves the parish of St Bede’s
in Washington. The school community is primarily English speaking and mainly of white
British heritage.
The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is below the national
average and the proportion of pupils supported by school action plus or with a statement of
special educational needs is lower than the national average.
 
FACTUAL INFORMATION
 
Pupil Catchment:
Number of pupils on roll: 214
Percentage of pupils baptised RC: 77%
Percentage of pupils from other Christian denominations: 15%
Percentage of pupils from other World Faiths: 0.4%
Percentage of pupils with no religious affiliation: 7.6%
Percentage of pupils from ethnic groups: 0%
Percentage of pupils with special needs: 17%
 
Staffing
Number of full time teachers: 7
Number of part time teachers: 1
Percentage of Catholic teachers: 100%
Percentage of teachers with CCRS: 25%
Percentage of learning time given to Religious Education:
FS 10% Yr 4 10%
Yr 1 10% Yr 5 10%
Yr 2 10% Yr 6 10%
Yr 3 10%
 
Parishes served by the school:
St Bede’s, Washington
 
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OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS
 
How effective the school is in providing Catholic education 
The school’s capacity for sustained improvement 
 
 
MAIN FINDINGS
 
St Bede’s is a good school with a strong and vibrant Catholic ethos. The headteacher has
built up a very committed staff team who want the school to be the best it can be. The
school is a welcoming, friendly community with a strong family ethos. Senior leaders have
been very successful in nourishing a school community that rejoices in a shared vision to
maintain a friendly and welcoming ethos where all members understand and strive to live
out the mission statement in daily interactions with each other. They are a dedicated staff
who work well together as a team committed to raising pupils’ attainment and progress. The
headteacher and senior leadership team have an accurate view of the school’s strengths and
weaknesses and areas identified for development are included in the school improvement
plan. The involvement of the parish clergy as governors, as well as their regular visits for
liturgical and other events, assists in embedding improvements in Religious Education.
Areas for improvement from the last inspection have been addressed and developments are
ongoing. Given the pace and effectiveness of developments, which are beginning to improve
pupils’ progress, the school demonstrates a good capacity to improve both the spiritual life
of the school and the achievement of the pupils in Religious Education.
Standards attained in Religious Education and pupils’ achievement is good however progress
across the school is satisfactory. Pupils who have special educational needs are very well
supported to develop their learning skills. The effective adult support ensures that pupils
succeed in their learning, and is having a positive effect on their self‐esteem and confidence
to tackle challenges independently. The more able pupils however are not always given
sufficient opportunities to achieve their full potential. Most pupils enjoy coming to school
and have positive attitudes towards their learning. They respond well to collective worship
showing reverence and respect and the promotion of pupils’ spiritual and moral
development is good. They contribute well to the catholic life of the school.
The provision for Catholic Education is good. Teaching is good overall. In the classes where
teachers have high expectations of pupils and set the right level of challenge for their work,
pupils learning and progress is better. Monitoring and assessment procedures are in place
throughout the school and pupils are given individual targets which are beginning to impact
positively on pupil outcomes.
Marking in most classes is beginning to be used effectively to challenge pupils to improve
their work, however it sometimes lacks specific focus which hinders pupils’ progress. The
Religious Education curriculum is good and improving. The quality of collective worship is
good and is very well embedded within the school day with a variety of opportunities for
worship. Parents and carers are kept well informed about their child’s learning, progress and
achievement.
 
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Leadership and management is good, communicating high expectations to staff about
securing improvement in standards. They effectively monitor and evaluate the Catholic Life
of the school and have a clear direction and understanding of what is required to bring
about improvement. There is a very positive and close relationship with the local parish and
neighbouring parishes. Staff have a good understanding of the nature of a Catholic school
and the school community gives real assent to the school’s mission. This has had the impact
of creating a caring and compassionate ethos which makes pupils feel valued. The
dedication and commitment of all staff are instrumental in the drive to improve teaching
and learning. Challenging but realistic plans are in place and are well detailed in the School
Improvement Plan. The governing body discharge their responsibilities well and ensure all
statutory and canonical responsibilities are met. Partnerships are well developed and
promote catholic learning and well‐being and the promotion of community cohesion is
good.
 
What the school needs to do to improve further
 
 Employ the school’s systems for monitoring and evaluation in order to raise
attainment and improve achievement in Religious Education by:
‐ ensuring that all teachers use assessment information to plan challenging,
differentiated activities which consistently build on and extend pupils’ learning,
especially the more able, to achieve higher levels.
‐ Ensure that marking consistently provides information to pupils about how to
improve their work and that pupils are given time to respond.
 Further develop the role of the senior leadership team in the monitoring of teaching
and learning in Religious Education so that good practice can be shared and areas
requiring development identified and acted upon.
 Provide more opportunities to further develop the role of governors in the monitoring
of attainment and progress in Religious Education.
 
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PUPILS
 
How good outcomes are for pupils, taking particular account of variations between different
groups 2
The quality of pupils’ learning is good however progress in Religious Education is only
satisfactory overall. Pupils enter the school in the Reception year from starting points in
Religious Education that are typical for their age. Progress is good in Early Years; however it
slows down in key stage one (KS1) and lower key stage two (KS2) making progress across the
rest of the school only satisfactory.
By the end of year 6, attainment is good with rapid progress being made in upper KS2. Those
pupils identified as having a special educational need make good progress as they are very
well supported by effective teaching assistants.
In those classes where systems for assessment and supporting pupils’ learning are
embedded, progress is good. Pupil tracking and moderation of work indicate that these
strategies are beginning to have a positive impact on progress and standards. The majority
of pupils enjoy learning.
Where teachers’ expectations are high they concentrate extremely well as evidenced in a
lesson about Helen Prejean and Oscar Romero, however, some of the more able pupils
across the school are insufficiently challenged and could achieve more. Nevertheless, across
the school there is an increasing sense of purpose about learning in Religious Education and
pupils respond well to the praise and rewards they receive for good effort.
Pupils make a good contribution to the Catholic life of the school which has high priority
across the school. The school motto is fully carried out by staff and pupils. Pupils are actively
involved and take on responsibilities very enthusiastically such as the School Councillors and
Special Friends to pupils in reception class. They respond willingly to the needs of those
beyond the school and can articulate their views with confidence explaining the purpose of
fundraising for various charities such as Romanian Shoebox Appeal. Pupils’ views are noted
and valued through an effective school council. They form trusting relationships with adults
and respond well to the prayer life of the school. Pupils show a good understanding and the
importance of key celebrations throughout the liturgical year in school and the parish
community and understand that religious belief and spiritual values are important for many
people.
Pupils’ response to and participation in collective worship is good. Prayer is integral to the
everyday life of the school and pupils are keen to participate and are at ease when praying
with their school community. They listen and sing with enthusiasm and respond to acts of
worship with reverence and respect. The ‘Nurturing Human Wholeness’ programme is
integrated into the prayer life and contributes significantly to the strong ethos that pervades
throughout the school. Pupils demonstrate a good understanding of the ethos statements
and are able to reflect with reverence and a good understanding upon these and how they
impact on their own lives. A prayer corner in each classroom impacts positively on the
quality of prayer and provides pupils with stimuli for thought and reflection. Pupils observed
using these areas reflected silently and were deep in thought. Pupils write their own prayers
and are beginning to be more involved in leading, planning and preparing collective worship
in their own classes. The introduction of the daily act of meditation is a strength of the
 
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school. Stimulating displays in classrooms and around the school provide children with
further enriched opportunities for thought and reflection.
 
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PROVISION
 
How effective the provision is in promoting Catholic education 2
The quality of teaching and learning in Religious Education is good and improving although
this is not always consistent throughout the school. Pupils’ learning is better in classes where
teachers have high expectations of pupils, set the right level of challenge for their work and
help them improve by careful marking and advice to help them move on. In some lessons
however, progress was slow because pupils were unclear about how to further improve
their work, the lack of challenge and expectations of work were not high enough.
Relationships between children, teachers and support staff are warm and constructive and
contribute successfully to their obvious keenness to learn. The thoughtful use of daily
periods of reflection and meditation were strengths of the lessons observed and impacted
positively on teaching and learning.
Assessment and academic guidance are good. Procedures and strategies for the assessment
of Religious Education are in place across the school and accurate data tracking systems to
track pupils’ progress successfully identifies where extra support is required. Marking in
some classes is beginning to be used effectively to challenge pupils to improve their work
however it sometimes lacks specific focus which hinders pupils in improving their work.
Individual pupil targets are set and beginning to impact on pupil improvement. Not all staff
however use data accurately to inform future planning and further learning. The school
recognises this and has already begun to implement a more rigorous system to monitor the
quality of teaching.
The Religious Education curriculum provided is good in meeting the needs and interests of
the pupils. The school meets the requirements of the Bishops’ Conference with regard to
curriculum time and the process of assessment is in line with Diocesan guidelines. The
Religious Education curriculum contributes well to the spiritual and moral development of
the pupils, particularly when pupils are given the opportunity to discuss and relate their
learning to their own lives and feelings. It is further enhanced by providing pupils with a
range of experiences such as presentations from the North East Blind Association. Overall,
the Religious Education curriculum offered enables most pupils to enjoy lessons and have
positive attitudes to learning.
The provision for collective worship is good and ensures that the spiritual needs of the pupils
are well met. There is a clear policy for collective worship and the school uses a good range
of strategies to ensure that collective worship is inclusive. Through a well planned
programme of Masses, liturgies, assemblies and other liturgical celebrations, pupils are given
many opportunities to participate in a range of Acts of Worship. Engagement with parents
and the parish is good. A wide variety of forms of prayer, including traditional prayers,
scripture, music, symbols and artefacts are modelled well for the pupils. There is a prayer
focus in each class with well thought out resources impacting significantly on the quality of
prayer and reflection. The school is now at the stage of seeking ways by which it can make
more use of the children’s own initiatives in planning, producing and leading prayer and
worship independently and consistently.
 
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LEADERS AND MANAGERS
 
How effective leaders and managers are in developing the Catholic life of the School 2
The leadership and management of the Catholic life of the school are good. Leaders have a
clear vision which is undertaken and supported by the whole school community. The
Catholic life of the school is given a high priority and catholic values and principles are
promoted very well. The headteacher and leadership team have a deep commitment to the
Church’s Mission in education; personal development and high quality care are paramount.
They are good role models providing very clear direction for improvement. They ensure that
opportunities for pupils’ spiritual and moral development are frequent and these have
significant impact. The headteacher has an accurate picture of the school’s strengths and the
areas for improvement. Systems for monitoring and evaluation are in place and beginning to
have a positive impact. The good leadership of the catholic life of the school ensures that all
pupils are well cared for and nurtured in this happy, caring, safe and supportive
environment.
The leadership and management of Religious Education are good. The Religious Education
coordinator exudes energy and enthusiasm, giving good leadership clearly focused on raising
achievement. He has a clear vision and sense of direction and understanding of what is
required to bring about improvement and shares this with staff. His dedication and
commitment are instrumental in the drive to provide high quality teaching and learning in
Religious Education. The School Improvement Plan provides clear direction for the work and
future developments in Religious Education. Monitoring, evaluation and assessment
procedures are beginning to have a positive impact but need to be more consistent and
rigorous when monitoring the quality of teaching. As a result the overall outcomes for most
pupils are good.
The governing body fulfils its role well with regard to the Catholic life of the school and
discharge their statutory and canonical responsibilities well. They are totally committed to
upholding the strong, caring, inclusive ethos that fosters the excellent relationships which
exist between the school and the parish family. The governing body is now at the stage
where they are becoming more confident in their role and they are becoming more fully
involved in evaluating the Catholic life of the school, offering challenge and support.
However their role in monitoring attainment and progress in Religious Education requires
further development.
Leaders effectively develop partnerships with other providers and organisations enabling
pupils to develop and achieve well in areas in which the school alone could not provide .A
range of partnership activities make a good contribution to pupils’ well‐being and to the
Catholic life of the school as well as heightening pupils’ awareness and understanding of the
common good. They ensure that links with other Catholic primary schools and secondary
school are well established.
The school’s contribution to promote community cohesion is good. St Bede’s school is a
caring community in which everyone is included and supported in developing their unique
potential within an atmosphere of love and respect which is clearly evident in the schools’
policies, documents and practice. Visitors to school and visits out of school are used
effectively to enable pupils to gain a better understanding of different faiths and cultures.
 
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Pupils are helped to understand the Church’s global mission through their support for many
charities and through their involvement in local projects both e.g. St Cuthbert’s Care, Great
Ormond Street Hospital, and the involvement with Columbia Grange Special School.
The Religious Education curriculum has a positive impact on community cohesion promoting
attitudes of respect and tolerance. Acts of worship are inclusive having a positive impact on
community cohesion.
 
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SUMMARY OF INSPECTION JUDGEMENTS
Key for inspection grades:
Grade 1 Outstanding Grade 2 Good Grade 3 Satisfactory Grade 4 Unsatisfactory
Overall effectiveness 2
The school’s capacity for sustained improvement 2
 
How good outcomes are for pupils, taking particular account of variations between different
groups
 
2
 how well pupils achieve and enjoy their learning in Religious Education 2
 the quality of pupils’ learning and their progress 3
 the quality of learning for pupils with particular learning needs and/or disabilities and
their progress
 
2
 pupils’ standards of attainment in Religious Education 2
 the extent to which pupils contribute to and benefit from the Catholic life of the school 2
 how well pupils respond to and participate in the school’s collective worship 2
How effective the provision is in promoting Catholic education 2
 the quality of teaching and purposeful learning in Religious Education 2
 the effectiveness of assessment and academic guidance in Religious Education 2
 the extent to which Religious Education curriculum meets pupils’ needs 2
 the quality of collective worship provided by the school 2
How effective leaders and managers are in developing the Catholic life of the School 2
 how well leaders and managers promote, monitor and evaluate the provision for the
Catholic life of the school and plan improvement to outcomes for pupils
 
2
 how well leaders and managers monitor and evaluate the provision for Religious Education
and plan for improvement to outcomes for pupils
 
2
 the extent to which the governing body provides effective challenge and support for the
Catholic dimension of the school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory
and canonical responsibilities met
 
2
 how well leaders and managers develop partnerships with other providers, organisations
and services in order to promote Catholic learning and well being
 
2
 how effectively leaders and managers promote community cohesion.
2