St Francis Catholic Primary School


Name St Francis Catholic Primary School
Website http://www.st-francis.n-somerset.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 10 March 2009
Address Station Road, Nailsea, Somerset, BS48 4PD
Phone Number 01275855373
Type Primary
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 181 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.2
Local Authority North Somerset
Percentage Free School Meals 1.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 16%

Information about the school

This is an average size primary school, with one class in each year group from Reception through to Year 6. The school is popular and oversubscribed. Most pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties, mostly in speech, language and communication, is well below the national average. The proportion of pupils taking free school meals is well below average. The headteacher has been in post since September 2008. During the inspection, a supply teacher covered the absence of the deputy headteacher in Year 6. In Year 4, one of the two job-share teachers had been in the school for just seven working days. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, the Reception teacher has been in post since January 2009.

Main findings

This school is a vibrant learning community full of happy and well-motivated pupils. Their incredible hard work in lessons together with the highly effective teaching are the key reasons why pupils’ achievement is outstanding. A significant strength is the way in which pupils work in collaboration with each other. For example, in a science lesson in Year 6, linked to an investigation on gravity, pupils worked very effectively in teams, including mixed-gender groupings. The quality with which they listen to and value each other’s views is a prime example of their very high speaking and listening skills. Pupils make outstanding progress from the day they start school which contributes to the high standards achieved year on year, but particularly at the end of Year 2 and Year 6. The high standards are evident not only in English, mathematics and science, but in most other subjects, including information and communication technology (ICT), art and design and geography. Importantly, pupils use their literacy, numeracy and ICT skills successfully in other subjects. Managers in school are quick to identify any relative drop in performance by pupils. In the 2008 National Curriculum tests for pupils in Year 6, for example, results in mathematics were not as high as in previous years. Immediate action was taken to analyse the reasons behind this. As a result, teachers identified the need to provide greater support for pupils of average to below average ability. Evidence from the inspection and the school’s own tracking data indicate strongly that the actions taken by the school are proving successful. Staff are very accurate in identifying the school’s strengths and areas for improvement through careful analysis. This is reflected in accurate, albeit slightly cautious, views on the school’s relative strengths. The school shows excellent capacity for further improvement. The school also identified that boys were not doing as well as girls in writing, despite the fact that boys in the school outperform boys nationally. The result of this analysis led to the introduction of ‘Curriculum Redesign’ which had an immediate and tangible impact on improving boys’ writing because they see the relevance of what they are asked to write. For example, in Year 5, boys are engaged and motivated in writing newspaper front pages linked to their science work on Earth and Space. The opportunity to write reports under headlines, such as ‘Alien Invasion’, really captured their enthusiasm and imagination. Children make a great start in the Early Years Foundation Stage. They make excellent progress in their personal, social and emotional development and this