|Name||Our Lady and St Benedict Catholic Academy|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Requires improvement|
|Inspection Date||03 December 2019|
|Address||Abbey Lane, Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST2 8AU|
|Religious Character||Roman Catholic|
|Number of Pupils||235 (50% boys 50% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||24.1|
|Academy Sponsor||The Newman Catholic Collegiate|
|Percentage Free School Meals||34.9%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||17.4%|
|Pupils with SEN Support||13.2%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||Yes, our catchment area data is FREE|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are proud of their school. They are friendly and kind towards each other. They behave well and develop positive attitudes to learning. Pupils achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. However, leaders do not have high enough expectations of what pupils can learn in other curriculum areas. The subjects that pupils learn are not well planned. As a result, pupils have gaps in their knowledge and are often not prepared for the next stage of their learning.
Pupils know that staff care about their welfare and well-being. Pupils told us that the school is a safe place and that bullying doesn’t happen. Pupils told us that they love the many educational visits that the school organises. This includes an annual residential trip for Year 6 pupils. They enjoy sports and are particularly proud that the school football team recently won the local league.
Older pupils appreciate the extra responsibilities that they have. For example, Year 6 pupils act as play leaders and technology monitors. Some pupils train as peer mediators and help to sort out minor problems at playtimes. Pupils carry out their responsibilities daily and play an important role in the smooth running of the school.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have a clear structure in place for teachers to plan and teach mathematics and English. Staff are clear about what they need to cover in each year group and pupils achieve well in these subjects.
In subjects outside English and mathematics, pupils’ learning is not as effective. Recent plans to improve the wider curriculum have not been implemented well. Leaders have not identified the key knowledge and skills that pupils need to be taught in each year group. They have also failed to keep a close enough check on how well the new curriculum plans are being implemented. We found little evidence of effective learning in science and history. Many of the pupils we spoke with struggled to remember what they had learned in these subjects. Many pupils have no written record of their learning in these subjects. This makes it difficult for teachers to assess their progress.
Reading is taught well. Leaders ensure that staff focus on teaching reading from the moment children start at the school. Teachers are skilled at teaching phonics. They are clear about which sounds and words children should be able to read by the end of each term. Children who struggle or lack confidence receive effective help, so that they are not left behind. All pupils read regularly in school from class novels and their own individual reading books. They develop positive attitudes to reading, and many older pupils read widely and often.
The mathematics curriculum is well planned and well structured. Teachers ensure that pupils’ learning builds effectively on what they already know. This helps to ensure that pupils learn more and remember more. There are good systems in placeto provide support to pupils who struggle to grasp concepts. Teachers provide opportunities for pupils to deepen their mathematical understanding and develop their ability to reason.
The school works effectively to promote pupils’ personal development. Pupils share their ideas and feelings with confidence. Voting for their classmates to represent them on the school council gives pupils an insight into how democracy works. Year 6 pupils also visit the Houses of Parliament each year. Pupils understand the importance of tolerance and are taught to respect differences and diversity. Leaders use a range of activities, including trips to places of worship. These help pupils to learn more about the different religions and cultures that exist within and beyond their own locality.
Children in early years have high-quality indoor and outdoor areas to learn in. Staff plan activities well. Children build up the knowledge and skills that they need to be ready for future learning. Phonics and early reading have a high priority. Children also have regular opportunities to develop their mathematical knowledge and understanding. The start children get ensures that they develop into confident, independent learners.
Teachers understand how to support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in reading, writing and mathematics. However, these pupils struggle in other subjects due to the weaknesses in how learning is structured.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
The school’s safeguarding policies and procedures are comprehensive and clear. Safeguarding records are detailed and well maintained. Leaders ensure that appropriate checks are made on all adults who work with pupils. Staff receive regular training on safeguarding matters. They know what to do if they have any concerns over a pupil’s safety or well-being. The school’s pastoral team provides excellent support for vulnerable pupils and their families. Pupils said that if they have a problem, adults are easy to approach and talk to.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Leaders have not carefully planned or sequenced learning in many curriculum areas. As a result, pupils are not learning more and remembering more in subjects such as science and history. Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans for all subjects clearly identify what pupils need to know and remember at specific points in their school life. They also need to check that all teachers follow agreed policies for checking on pupils’ learning.Teachers do not have a good enough understanding of how well pupils are learning in subjects other than English and mathematics. As a result, the work that teachers set is not sequenced well enough to build on what pupils know. Leaders need to ensure that teachers make regular checks on pupils’ progress and how well they are learning. Leaders also need to ensure that teachers use this information to sequence lessons so that pupils learn more and remember more.