Improvements needed at 'welcoming and calm' Wigan borough primary school, according to Ofsted inspectors

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Changes are needed at a primary school where pupils do not remember key information and the early years education is “poor”.

That was the verdict of Ofsted inspectors after a two-day visit to Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Leigh.

They judged the Windermere Road school as “requires improvement” overall, but its early years provision was given the lowest mark of “inadequate”.

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Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in LeighSacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Leigh
Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Leigh

The inspectors wrote: “Pupils like the way in which teachers make their learning interesting. However, leaders have not been clear enough in defining what they want pupils to know in each subject. As such, pupils do not remember some key subject knowledge. This issue is particularly evident in the early years where children experience a poor quality of education.”

Ofsted found that pupils in key stage one and year three did not remember some phonics well enough and so did not read as fluently as they should.

Leaders had not defined what they wanted pupils to learn in a number of subjects and pupils did not recall key learning well enough, while the curriculum for early years was described as “poorly designed”.

The inspectors suggested the school’s leaders and governors should check more closely on the education given to pupils.

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There were some positive findings though, with Sacred Heart rated as “good” for the categories of personal development and behaviour and attitudes.

The report said: “Pupils described their school as a welcoming and calm place to be. They are happy at school because they feel valued and included for who they are. The nurturing relationships between staff and pupils help pupils to feel secure and safe.

"Staff manage pupils’ behaviour well. Pupils are respectful of each other’s differences, which creates a harmonious atmosphere within the school.”

Ofsted found the pupils enjoyed a range of extra-curricular activities and older pupils could take on extra responsibilities, such as looking after school pets and acting as an interpreter for pupils using English as an additional language.

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Teachers promoted a love of reading, there had been “effective changes” to the reading curriculum and a focus on pupils’ comprehension skills, improving attainment in reading at the end of key stage two.

There was a “consistent” approach to teaching phonics across early years and key stage one and safeguarding arrangements were described as “effective”.

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