Burnley primary school just misses ‘outstanding’ rating

St Mary Magdalene's Primary School headteacher Mrs Julie Frazer and pupils celebrate their good Ofsted report.
St Mary Magdalene's Primary School headteacher Mrs Julie Frazer and pupils celebrate their good Ofsted report.

Celebrations were on the cards at a Burnley primary school after it received a glowing OFSTED report.

St Mary Magdalene’s RC Primary in Wellfield Drive was judged to be good across the board and missed out on the coveted “outstanding’’ marker by just three things it has to achieve.

These are to consistently build on pupils’ skills, particularly in writing, to make sure that teachers set work to match the different abilities of pupils in their classes and to check that students act on teachers’ guidance about how to improve their work.

In the report inspectors pointed out that pupils thrive because they are well looked after and valued as individuals. The headteacher, Mrs Julie Frazer and senior leaders and governors were also praised for their aspiration and drive to raise standards and the quality of teaching.

Provision in the early years was praised and reception class children make good progress because they are taught well. And the attainment of pupils at the end of year six in reading, writing and mathematics was judged to be above average. Inspectors also pointed out that pupils’ achievements in grammar, punctuation, spelling and higher levels of maths was also significantly above average.

The report highlighted that the children receive a well rounded education and are passionate about music, sport and art. Inspectors also praised staff for providing individual support for each pupil, particularly those who are disabled or have special needs. Inspectors said that standards had risen year on year at St Mary Magdalene’s and teachers were well supported and challenged to provide good quality teaching. A rich new curriculum was credited for helping to raise standards in the core skills of literacy and numeracy and inspectors described some features of teaching as being outstanding, particularly at the end of key stage two.

Teaching in maths was described as a strength of the school as teachers have good subject knowledge. Teachers build successfully on pupils’ emerging skills by guiding them to use basic skills to tackle maths problems at a higher level.

Pupils were also seen as learning well in reading because of good teaching in phonics and reading comprehension. The students become confident and enthusiastic readers due to the wide range of good quality books available to them.

Writing has been a school priority and sharply focused support and training has improved teaching. Inspectors said that while standards were now significantly above average by the end of years two and six occasionally skills in writing were not built on in a consistent manner.

Inspectors pointed out that improved standards of achievement were especially noticeable at key stage one and records of pupils’ progress and their work in books show that standards by the end of year six are also rising further.

Inspectors were full of praise for students at St Mary Magdalene’s, describing their behaviour as exemplary and attitudes to learning as positive. They were also described as well mannered, welcoming and joyful and a credit to both their school and families.