School's Self Evaluation
Schools Self Evaluation Summary
Context of St. Augustine’s School
- St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School is much larger than the average-sized primary school. (441 on roll)
- Nursery comprises of one group of full time pupils and two groups of 15 hour pupils
- Each other Year group, from Reception to Year 6 comprises two full time classes.
- The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is well above average.
- The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is well above average.
- The proportion of disadvantaged pupils who are supported through the pupil premium is above average.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is above average.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards (2019)
- The school was subject to a short inspection by Ofsted under section 8 of the Education Act in February 2018. It was found to have maintained the good judgement of the October 2013 section 5 inspection.
- The School was inspected under section 48 of the Education Act in June 2019 and was judged to be Outstanding.
- 33% of pupils are Catholic
- Children join Reception with skills and knowledge always below, and sometimes well below, those normally expected for pupils of their age.
- Pupils in this school have 34 different languages as their mother tongue.
- St Augustine’s serves an area of significant social and economic deprivation with 79% of its families living in the 10% most deprived areas of the country and 51% of families living in the 3% most deprived areas according to IMD data. There are high levels of crime in the area, issues around community cohesion and high levels of anti-social behaviour.
- The school converted voluntarily to become an academy on 1 March 2020, when it became a member of the St Gregory the Great Multi Academy Trust, along with 6 other Leeds Catholic Primary schools.
The school judges itself to be good. Using the excellent relationships between staff and governors, the Senior Leadership Team have rigorously focused on developing the quality of teaching and learning to improve outcomes for all and diminish the difference for our most vulnerable children.
Highly effective communication ensures that all stakeholders are clear about the priorities for improvement. The high level of parental engagement reflects the fact that the overwhelming majority of Parents are extremely happy with the high quality education and care that their children receive. Our children are happy, well-motivated and enthusiastic. The children leave our school having achieved well both academically, spiritually and socially. They are well prepared for the next stage of their life journey.
QUALITY OF EDUCATION
Our curriculum is rooted in solid consensus. Following rigorous self-evaluation, discussion and agreement, leaders at all levels have worked to ensure that our curriculum is built upon thorough knowledge and understanding of our unique context and reflects the needs of our pupils.
It provides the knowledge and skills that our children need, whilst providing a vast range of experiences that enrich their lives.
Our curriculum content is considered, coherently planned and systematically builds to enable our children to develop and embed both knowledge and skills appropriate to their age and from their unique starting point. It allows for flexibility and adaptation to ensure inclusivity and has not been narrowed.
Lockdown has not swayed us from our plan to deliver the curriculum we know our children need. We have not lost sight of where our children need to be by the end of the year and we continue to provide a rich, broad and ambitious curriculum.
We have carefully monitored and tracked our children's engagement and the curriculum we have offered so that we are fully informed about what provision needs to look like at the start of this year. An in depth review of T&L has provided a full and thorough gap analysis at year group and subject specific levels, this has informed our autumn term provision, including catch up plans.
Teacher’s and support staff have expert knowledge and understanding of the age range and curriculum content that they teach.
Teaching and therefore learning is planned and sequenced, building year on year to achieve our agreed end points in order for our children to take full advantage and fulfil their full potential. Across all phases we are using the full range of the foundation subjects to provide pupils with a greater range of opportunities to extend their learning. Our curriculum explicitly works to increase pupils’ vocabulary and understanding of English year on year, in order consistently to stretch them whatever their level of ability or starting point.
Teachers ensure that pupils embed key concepts, build upon knowledge and skills already in place and apply them fluently to new areas of learning. Misunderstandings and misconceptions are dealt with swiftly and effectively and assessment strategies are used to inform next steps in learning.
Oracy and reading are given the highest priority within our curriculum, along with writing and mathematical concepts. Our systematic approach to developing language and reading is at the heart of our curriculum provision. A clear and sharp focus on these means our children can then access the full curriculum and engage fully in their learning in all subjects.
Our mastery approach to teaching and learning ensures all children fulfil their potential and enables them to move smoothly to the next stage of their learning journey. Our curriculum is well-constructed, taught effectively and efficiently leading to good results for all our children.
First hand observations of learning in lessons, and in our ‘detailed tracking’ (Ofsted 2018), indicates that pupils do make good progress overall, throughout the school.
Our MER shows that the very large majority of observed learning is good, with a growing proportion that is better. This evaluation of teaching is based on accurate, frequent and regular monitoring by senior leaders (of pupils’ exercise books, discussions with pupils, unannounced drop-ins), validated through joint observations, including those with peers, Headteacher colleagues, and other school improvement professionals. We have observed examples of outstanding learning in most classes, though not a sufficient proportion for a sustained period of time to enable an evaluation of better than good overall. Gaining ever greater consistency of quality, particularly in pupils’ independent work is our aim, building upon the excellent work of Foundation Stage.
Data demonstrates that children leave our school inline or above national in all areas.
BEHAVIOUR AND ATTITUDES
St Augustine’s is a very happy and safe school. We know this because the children, parent’s, visitors and those in the wider community tell us. The development of the whole child is at the very heart of all that we do. We work tirelessly to ensure that our children and their families are effectively supported, nurtured and provided for in order for them to achieve their very best. The safety, well-being and happiness of our children is our first priority. Ensuring that our children are ‘ready for learning’ takes dedicated time, effort and staffing. Their security and positive well-being helps to ensure that outcomes continue to improve.
The Ethos of the school is integral to our policy and practice. We have confident, self-assured children who are proud to be members of our school community.
The culture of learning coupled with high expectations and a drive for excellence results in an orderly environment, a calm atmosphere and positive attitudes leading to improving standards.
St Augustine’s is a harmonious and happy school with a culture of mutual respect and tolerance.
Incidents of bullying and racism are extremely rare and when they do arise are dealt with swiftly and effectively.
Our clear and effective behaviour system supports and teaches the children about rights and responsibility, rewards and consequences.
Disruption is rare. Incidents are dealt with swiftly and effectively. Staff, parents and pupils are confident that behaviour is good, children are safe and systems work effectively to address any needs that arise. Good behaviour and positive attitudes are celebrated and rewarded.
As a result of this we have extremely well behaved, self-disciplined children who conduct themselves well both within the classroom, around the school and within the wider community.
A comprehensive provision of support and help is available to our children, their families and the staff. Including dedicated Nurture provision with our Learning Mentor and TAs and specialist support provided by Catholic Care and the cluster.
Our children and families are well supported, they have access to targeted provision and so improving behaviour and well-being.
Attendance continues to be a focus of our work. It is broadly average, however establishing regular, good attendance in the EYs along with the PA of a number of children is an ongoing concern and a priority for action.
The personal development of our children is at the very heart of our Mission statement. It is an integral part of our curriculum provision, but extends beyond the academic to look at the whole child and how they will develop and grow into young adults ready for a life beyond our school. Young adults that play an active and engaged role in society, as responsible, respectful citizens.
Lockdown has not distracted us from this, rather heightened our awareness of it and provided evidence of how for many, lockdown has been a positive experience.
The majority of our children have developed greater independence and resilience in their learning. Those children who are often quiet in class have happily joined in sessions and chats, they have embraced the opportunity to work at their own pace and take responsibility for their own learning.
We believe that building the ‘character’ of our pupils is essential. Character Education and the development of Virtuous behaviour is given the highest priority in our development planning. This was explicitly confirmed in the 2018 Ofsted Inspection Report: ‘You place equal weighting on supporting pupils personal development...’.
To do this we apply the key aspects of SMSC development (reflection, respect and tolerance, enjoyment and fascination, consideration and reasoning, appreciation, collaboration, valuing differences and resolving conflict) throughout our daily work. We do this from Nursery to Year 6. This is our Ethos, this is what sets us apart from others.
As a result, our pupils really do know the difference between right and wrong. They take responsibility for their own actions, and they have a clear understanding of how to keep themselves safe. They accept other people at face value, and they fully respect different cultural backgrounds. They conduct themselves with dignity, honesty and measured pride, in class, around the school and outside the school.
We encourage them to listen to each other, we value their opinions, their unique contribution and as a result we have a culture of mutual respect and tolerance.
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
Our clear and ambitious vision, rooted in our values and encompassed in our motto to ‘Walk in the light of the Lord’, is clear and well understood. Our policies are meaningful, relevant, and focused on learning and as a result the school receives the full support of teachers, staff, parents and governors.
Our recent record is strong, and acknowledged by inspectors.
We continue to objectively self evaluate, and further build leadership expertise. We know the areas that need to improve and how to address them.
Leadership and management of teaching and learning is firmly based on the principle of helping teachers to become ever more effective in their work. This involves arranging either bespoke CPD to build subject knowledge and improve pedagogy for a particular teacher or shared CPD for a group or team, because we do not believe that ‘one size fits all’. Teachers accept that this support has to be based on evidence and knowledge, and that this entails frequent, rigorous and objective monitoring, evaluation and review of learning. It involves observations by the leadership team, through regular unannounced informal ‘drop ins’, work scrutiny, discussions with pupils and analysis of data, as well as formal observation. The evidence from these observations is then discussed with teachers at Pupil Progress meetings and Performance Management meetings. This has led us to where we are now – strongly and stably good.
Our objective is to sustain consistent improvement. We do not want to stand still, we recognise that each unique situation brings new challenges but also new opportunities to keep moving forward. Through enthusiastic and knowledgeable teaching, and relentless driving, we consistently present to all pupils a wide range of opportunities. We continue to offer an exciting curriculum context that stretches them to meet their potential both within and beyond the classroom.
As leaders and managers, we keep our development plan under constant review, to ensure that whilst we maintain those areas where we are strong, we work to identify areas of our work which need to be changed. There is no complacency here.
Staff know that good teaching is the absolute minimum requirement, and that it should be observable on any given day. This ethos is applied consistently and evenly across all phases of the school from EY to Y6. Our current ambition is to accelerate the pace of learning not by doing something extra, but by working still more smartly, raising expectations once again of staff and pupils, to maximise still further learning opportunities, ensuring that lost time is made up.
Safeguarding is always at the forefront of our thinking. Safeguarding procedures are fully in place and robustly checked and monitored by senior leaders. All statutory requirements are met. The site is secure. All Risk assessments are completed and adhered to. Vulnerable pupils are known and safeguarded.
Our pupil premium and catch up strategy is effective. The impact of specific initiatives is positive and is resulting in markedly diminished differences by the end of KS2.
Governors know the school well, because they are active in their roles as monitors and guides. They know where teaching is strongest. They hold the headteacher rigorously to account for the performance of the school. Governors are kept up to date with the outcomes of the schools monitoring through reports, both internal and external, and presentations.
EARLY YEARS EDUCATION
The vast majority join the EY with skills and understanding below, and for a significant proportion, often well below those found in pupils of their age. This has very little to do with cognition, and a great deal to do with previous experiences. A significant number of children who join our school have little or no English. We are confident that our baseline assessments, carried out by experienced, enthusiastic and expert professionals, are accurate.
We quickly come to understand what our children know and can do, what are their likes and dislikes, what are their character traits. This allows us to create an ambitious learning environment which, whilst obviously aiming to give all children the best possible start, is bespoke enough to address the specific needs of each individual, whether that child might be SEND, EAL, N2E, HAP or a combination of those.
An overhaul of FS1 provision has led to significant improvements in provision and outcomes. Our effective Early Years leader is now rapidly bringing forward continuity and progression between Nursery and Reception classes, though there does remain a little way still to go following lock down.
We want all our children to have the firmest possible grounding in literacy and mathematics, and we want them to get that grounding quickly. At the same time, we want them to have fun learning. We encourage them to explore their interests in our well-resourced learning areas. The children undoubtedly gain self-confidence, alongside self-control, and this lays the solid foundations for good behaviour which becomes so apparent in subsequent years.
We include parents in all we do. We encourage parents to ‘stay and play’ as part of our induction program and we guide them on how to support their children in learning to read. For many this is invaluable as it provides them with vital information that they usually do not have.
We watch, listen, and talk to our children. We deliberately model calm speaking and polite respectful listening. We make professional evaluations continuously to measure their learning in all areas of learning very closely. We do this both informally and formally. Monitoring observations are clearly showing that the information we derive is being used well to ensure our children learn the basic academic skills quickly, irrespective of their English language skills. Performance information is used to plan subsequent activities or learning events. Our assessment is strong. In general, adults are keeping their ‘eyes up’, and pressing our children forward both personally and academically. We teach phonics systematically on a daily basis, with different groups of children working at levels of sophistication appropriate to them.
We strongly encourage children to explore and find things out for themselves, we ensure that play is purposeful at all times, so that they know what they are going to learn. We do endeavour never to give answers or provide solutions, because we do not want the children to take short cuts or have easy options, and though we acknowledge the values of ‘play’, we always expect this ‘play’ to be for a purpose.
We do consistently and abundantly make clear our expectations for personal responsibility and behaviour. We expect only the best.
Children do settle quickly, and learn to adopt good routines, at whatever time they join us. They share toys and play and learn together in harmony. They collaborate constructively, this can sometimes generate great enthusiasm, and though the children usually self manage very well, they sometimes need guidance to manage this.
Our children become demonstrably and routinely kind to each other. This is an impressive attribute, which pays off as they move through the school, but it does not happen by accident.
They are safe, happy and well looked after. The same focus on safeguarding their well being exists in EY, as exists in the remainder of the school. Parents are very positive about the way the school works with their children.
Children concentrate well when they have new and interesting ideas to consider. When adults seek answers to appropriate and searching questions, the children routinely try to think things through for themselves, and give clear answers. Their communication skills improve rapidly as a result. A focus on early reading and writing enables pupils to learn the basics well, and consequently, all pupils, including those who are disadvantaged in any way, or those with special educational needs, are making good progress. However, their much lower than average starting points mean they have a long way to go to catch up, and only just over half reach a good level of development academically. However their personal development is much better than this.