St Walburga’s Catholic Primary School

About St Walburga’s Catholic Primary School Browse Features

St Walburga’s Catholic Primary School

Name St Walburga’s Catholic Primary School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 15 January 2020
Address Malvern Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH9 3BY
Phone Number 01202528811
Type Primary
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 481 (48% boys 52% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 24.5
Local Authority Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Percentage Free School Meals 1.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 32.2%
Persisitent Absence 1.4%
Pupils with SEN Support 12.5%
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?

St Walburga’s is deeply rooted in its ‘gospel values’. Pupils feel cared for and happily come to school. They achieve well academically. As one pupil expressed it, this is because ‘teachers are caring and generous, using their time to help us’. Leaders balance their expectations of what pupils can achieve with the positive character traits that they want pupils to develop.

Pupils behave well and are well mannered. Pupils are sensitive to the needs of others and are supportive of one another. Older pupils work with younger pupils in a proactive way. For example, sports leaders support activities for younger pupils and ‘prayer buddies’ create positive cross-age partnerships.

Pupils say that bullying is rare. Leaders involve pupils in the decisions made about their school. The school council, for example, contributed to the writing of the anti-bullying policy. Pupils say that they have an adult in school they can turn to if there are things that trouble them.

Staff help pupils to make an active contribution, both to their local community and further afield. Pupils are clear about what is right and wrong. They say that it is important to do the right thing. They like to be recognised when they do.

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

Pupils study the full range of subjects, as set out in the national curriculum. From Year 1 to Year 6, subject leaders have planned what pupils will learn and when. Where this is stronger, pupils successfully develop their skills and build up the important knowledge that they need.

Pupils talk confidently about what they have learned and can make links between different subjects. They behave well and show interest in their work. For example, in history, pupils’ interest in the Great Fire of London is supported by their understanding of the causes and the reasons why the fire spread so quickly. Pupils link this to the diary writing of Samuel Pepys and then apply this to diary writing of their own. Children in Reception also achieve well, which stands them in good stead for Year 1.

Subject leaders are knowledgeable and are developing in their roles. However, there is inconsistency in how well subjects are taught and how rigorously subject leaders check this. For example, work is currently under way to hone teachers’ skills to teach design technology. Increasingly, subject leaders receive training so that they can support their colleagues more effectively. Leaders understand the need to develop this more widely.

Reading, rightly, remains a school priority. Subject leaders want pupils to develop an enjoyment of reading and encourage pupils to read independently. The ‘readingshed’, for example, invites parents and carers to share stories with their children at the beginning of the day.

Children in Reception make a strong start to reading. They begin to build up their knowledge of letters and the sounds they represent successfully. Consequently, pupils go on to achieve highly in the phonics screening check at the end of Year 1. Teaching continues to extend pupils’ vocabulary so that pupils can understand what they read. While pupils achieve well in reading by the end of Year 6, pupils do not regularly read a wide variety of genres, especially poetry. Teaching does not routinely develop the more challenging skills of reading so that pupils can build on their secure foundations.

The teaching of mathematics is planned well and is flexible to pupils’ needs. Children in Reception start to recognise and form a sequence of numbers, some identifying which numbers are odd and which are even. Pupils continue to develop their calculation skills, using this confidence to explain their thinking and justify their answers. When opportunities arise, teachers try to link mathematics to real-life problems. For example, pupils helped to design the multi-games area in the playground before building work began. At times, however, teaching could expect more of what pupils can do.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive the support they need, both academically and to support their well-being. The special educational needs coordinator is knowledgeable. She works with teachers to help them plan effectively for such pupils and for those pupils who fall behind their peers.

Governors and officers from the diocese and the local authority are supportive of school leaders. Governors value the many opportunities on offer for pupils to find their talents and follow their interests. They recognise the strength of the school in providing rich opportunities to promote pupils’ personal and spiritual development. However, governors do not challenge leaders meticulously enough. Crucially, the plans for improvement lack detail, including those for the use of the additional funding provided for disadvantaged pupils and for the development of sport.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders train staff in how to keep pupils safe from harm. Staff know what to be alert to. Staff know the procedures to follow and whom to speak to if concerns arise about a pupil’s welfare. Leaders work with external agencies when necessary and liaise closely with families to provide support.

Checks are made on staff and visitors to ensure that they are suitable to work with children.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

While leaders have successfully promoted the importance of reading for enjoyment, the curriculum is not planned well enough to incrementally develop higher level reading skills. Consequently, curriculum goals are not always challenging enough for some pupils. Leaders need to refine their plans so that pupils develop the more complex skills of comprehension, inference and analysis as they move through key stage 2. . Leaders’ strategic plans are not detailed enough. Therefore, both leaders and governors are not able to see clearly whether actions are working and whether leaders remain on track to achieve the school’s priorities. Governors need to ensure that plans are more precise so that they can challenge leaders with greater rigour. This includes their evaluation of the additional funding provided for disadvantaged pupils and the development of sport. . Subject leaders are developing in their roles. Therefore, some subjects are not as well taught as others. Senior leaders need to make sure that all subject leaders have the right professional development so that they can check that teaching is effective and support their colleagues.