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School Website: www.applegarth.n-yorks.sch.uk

Overview

Applegarth Primary School is situated in the market town of Northallerton. Set within a very diverse community, we have good relationships with parents and the local authority.  We currently have 282 pupils on roll and while our main catchment area is Northallerton, some children travel from neighbouring villages. We work collaboratively with local primary schools under the ‘Beacon Cluster’ and are also a partner school in the Swaledale Alliance, with good links with Rosendale (a research school) and the local nurseries.

Ofsted said that our children “thrive in a ‘vibrant, exciting and happy school’ with a ‘friendly feel’’.

Our school is a mix of old Victorian and new buildings, with a dedicated wildlife area within the school grounds and access to an offsite facility. Inside the building, a large hall is used for themed based assemblies, amongst other activities.  There are 10 classes in the school; four in Reception and KS1 (ages 4-7) and six in KS2 (ages 7-11).   The local area has a rich historical heritage and this is a key aspect for which we have been awarded national accreditation as a ‘Heritage School’.  

We also offer a breakfast club and after school club, with activities including sports & athletics, gardening, art and drama. Annual featured activities for pupils include residential trips to an outdoor activity centre. Educational trips for all year groups are organised to enhance the children’s learning experience, including trips to the Sea Life Centre, Dorman Museum, Runswick Bay and library trips. As a school, we are currently undertaking the ReflectED project (EEF research) to develop our children’s metacognition to raise standards across the school.

 

Staffing

  • Head (DSP)
  • Deputy (1 day teaching and SENCo)
  • 11 class teachers for 10 classes including 2 x SLT (TLR) - KS2 lead including assessment/ KS1 lead including assessment

All teachers have subject responsibility.

  • 2 x HLTAs with teaching responsibilities to cover PPA time (1 is educational visit co-ordinator the other is link support to SENCo)
  • 5 x ATAs & 4 x GTAs with links to classes in KS1 and deployed where required within KS2 depending on pupil learning needs and delivering interventions for which they have been specifically trained
  • 2 x admin staff and 1 x part time bursar
  • 7 x MSAs
  • 3 x breakfast club staff (2 County/1 school)

               

Values & Ethos

Aim High, Be Happy, Celebrate, Together

Aiming High... We strive to have the highest expectations across all areas of the curriculum, in regards behaviour, attitudes to learning and wellbeing.

Be Happy... We strive to support our pupil’s well-being and support families, we aim to have a broad and balanced curriculum that engages all.

Celebrate...We encourage our pupils to celebrate in their own achievements, whether large or small and in those of others.

Together...We strive to provide an atmosphere in which all pupils can learn, play and grow, showing support to each other and benefitting from being members of the Applegarth Family.

We promote high expectations across all areas of the curriculum, in regards to behaviour, attitudes to learning; supporting our pupil’s wellbeing and supporting families; providing an atmosphere in which all pupils can learn, play and grow and showing support to each other. Our Staff have passion for their jobs and support leadership, never resting on their laurels, and continually strive for improvement.

Our children’s personal development, behaviour and welfare is a major focus for us. Our ‘Apple Targets’ for behaviour were designed by our children to encourage good behaviour and learn key values, which in turn, will develop a common understanding of what is expected.

We hope all children will leave as very rounded individuals, who have developed a sense of belonging and confidence in the school and each other; ready to move onto the next stage of their academic life.

Current attainment & progress

  • Below national and LA in 2018 KS2 SATs, with disappointing outcomes. The three year trend showing a drop in progress between 2017-18 following improvements in 2016-17
  • Boys’ reading and writing progress was lower than that of girls’
  • Average scaled score in reading has improved but remains lower than national

 

Latest OFSTED Report

Key findings

Following the school’s previous inspection, the school was tasked with improving the quality of teaching to raise standards, particularly in mathematics. The school has taken a robust approach to improving the teaching of this subject. The new teaching method, recently introduced, shows some rapid improvement in mathematics achievement. This is particularly the case for the younger pupils who quickly move from using concrete apparatus to finding their own solutions.

Mathematics books of the older pupils, and in particular the most able, show that they are able to explain their mathematical reasoning in considerable depth. This skill is also reflected in comments from parents, who say that their children are developing good critical-thinking skills.

Pupils’ mathematics work in their books is set out clearly, helping them when writing down their calculations. Pupils’ ‘workings out’, sometimes in the form of pictorial representation for the younger pupils, is also recorded neatly, providing a clear picture of how they have concluded their answer.

Achievement in reading at the end of key stage 2 improved last year to be in line with the national average. The school has reviewed its provision and support to promote reading. Newly purchased books have inspired pupils to read a range of literature, including the classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’. Pupils talk enthusiastically about their enjoyment of reading both at school and at home, but are not always confident in discussing similarities and differences between authors.

The teaching of reading is not consistent throughout the school. While pupils show well-developed skills to sustain concentration during ‘silent reading’, time is not always well spent in lessons. Teachers do not always take the opportunity to teach skills to improve pupils’ understanding of unfamiliar words or explain how authors use language. Independent activities, planned for pupils, do not always help them to infer meaning from a text and develop as confident and proficient readers by the end of key stage 2.

Performance management is used to improve the quality of teaching. Leaders’ lesson observations provide detailed and comprehensive feedback to teachers, including the impact of their teaching on pupils’ achievement and progress.

Leaders have a secure understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and have accurately identified areas for improvement. The school’s improvement plan sets out the principles of raising achievement, but lacks clarity in setting out clearly the end of year expectations. This vagueness is reflected in subject leader action plans, which lack milestones or quantifiable targets by which to measure the impact of their work against improvement in pupils’ achievement.

Newly appointed subject leaders and governors are getting to grips with their strategic role. They are about to receive training to help them step back and review the impact of initiatives and expenditure on raising pupils’ achievement. Governors are actively involved in the school and do challenge leaders about pupils’ performance. However, they do not use the school’s plans for improvement sufficiently well to hold leaders to account.

School strengths

  • The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection.
  • Successfully established culture for improvement within the school.
  • Pupils have good attitudes to learning. In lessons, they are keen to offer their suggestions, confident enough to clarify their own misconceptions in front of their peers and are motivated to challenge themselves. This culture of self-improvement is also evident from research as well as that of the staff. They are fully committed to their own professional development and participate in a range of projects and collaborative partnerships. This is helping to raise pupils’ achievement and is already having a positive impact on improving the teaching of mathematics and starting to have an impact on pupils’ achievement in reading.
  • The proportion of children who leave the early years’ foundation stage with a good level of development and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is at least equivalent to the national average.
  • Parents are complimentary about the good provision at this stage of their children’s education and refer to the good start they get.
  • Pupils’ achievement in writing has improved since the school’s last inspection.
  • By the time pupils reach the end of key stage 2, pupils have made good progress in writing. This is also reflected in their attainment, which is similar to the national average, including those pupils writing at a higher standard.
  • The teaching of phonics has been improved. Younger pupils gain a solid foundation in learning their letter sounds so they acquire early reading skills. This is further secured at the end of key stage 1, where pupils’ achievement in reading is in line with the national average for the expected standard as well as at greater depth.
  • This good start has not been consistently reflected in achievement at the end of key stage 2. The school is now tackling this with new approaches to the teaching of reading in key stage 2, and this is starting to have an impact on improving pupils’ enjoyment of reading.
  • Achievement in mathematics, at the end of both key stages, has remained static over time. However, the school’s new teaching method, recently introduced, shows that some pupils are making rapid improvement. This is particularly so for the younger pupils and the most able pupils in key stage 2.
  • Safeguarding is effective.
  • Responses to the staff and parent questionnaires show confidence that the school provides a safe environment for the pupils. Pupils spoken to concur with this view. They understand how to stay safe in different situations including on the internet. They have a good understanding of what constitutes bullying and the procedures for dealing with it. They are confident that teachers use discipline fairly.
  • Leaders have created a safe culture to take care of the school’s pupils and ensure that procedures are implemented to protect them. Staff and governors understand their obligations for safeguarding and take appropriate action when necessary. They liaise with outside agencies, and this provides pupils and families with the support they need. Procedures and policies are fit for purpose. All members of staff are checked for their suitability to work with children. There was an omission in the record of the checks made on the verification of staff at the start of the inspection. This was rectified within the day. The school is highly vigilant in ensuring that pupils attend school regularly. There are robust systems in place to follow up absences on the first day. Where necessary, staff involve external agencies to ensure that pupils are safe when not in school.

Areas for improvement

Leaders and those responsible for governance should;

  • Develop the roles of new leaders and governors so that they can devise improvement plans clearly linked to pupils’ achievement and effectively review the impact of their initiatives.
  • Improve the teaching of reading in key stage 2 so that pupils acquire a wider vocabulary, can draw inference from evidence in a text, understand how authors use language and can compare and contrast different authors. Effectiveness of Leadership, Governance and Management; 
  • Governors and senior leaders to develop greater strategic oversight in the development, implementation and monitoring of planning/teaching to improve pupil outcomes.
  • Leaders of subjects to develop, implement and monitor plans to improve outcomes for pupils.
  • Governors and senior leaders to delve more deeply into leaders’ responses to the challenging questions that are asked. 

Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment;

  • Securing consistently good or better teaching and learning across year groups and subjects.
  • Consolidate the improvements made in maths across all ages and groups, extending the improvements already made so that outcomes are at least in line with national.
  • Teachers are able to develop pupils’ metacognitive knowledge of how they learn—their knowledge of themselves as a learner, of strategies, and of tasks—as an effective way of improving pupil outcomes across subjects 

Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare;

  • Strive to ensure that behaviour across the school remains good and that the pupils are supported to feel happy, safe and well at school. 

Outcomes for all pupils;

  • 2019 KS2 reading and maths test outcomes to be at the expected standard in line with national. The aim is for at least 27/36 pupils to attain the expected standard (75%). As a result of improved attainment, the reading progress measure will improve, aiming towards the national figure of zero.
  • National benchmark figures used at end of EYFS, Y1 & 2 phonics screening results, end of KS1 outcomes (supported by PIRA and PUMA tests), Y3,4 and 5 NFER tests Autumn (Oct), Spring (Feb) and Summer (June) will be in line with their national sample. 

ASP and NfER Question Level analysis of pupil tests to be used to identify key areas of focus in English Reading, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar and Maths.

  • Reading – improvements in test questions requiring the skill of inference, improved vocabulary choices in responding to answers and evidence both in written comprehension tasks and discussion of children being able to ‘read between the lines and beyond the lines’ as well as the lines.
  • Children are able to clearly articulate what the question means – when in tests children focus on that ‘understanding of the question’  

A full OFSTED report is available to view here

 

Budgets

The school has an in year revenue deficit (in 2018/2019) of £24.4K, but a carry forward of £80.0k from 2017/2018, leaving an estimated year end revenue surplus in March 2019 of £55.6k. The school was funded on 277 pupils (as per the October 2017 census).

Moving forward, the school is predicted to have a revenue surplus at the end of the 2019/2020 financial year. This forecast shows an estimated year end revenue deficit at the end of 2020/2021, but these figures will be updated and revised for current estimates/known factors.  If the revised figures still show a deficit, then the Governors will take action to address this.

There are still some unknowns regarding future funding, but the key thing is that pupil numbers are healthy (October 2018 census was 277 pupils) and future numbers are predicted to be similar.

The Governors have a good understanding of the finances of the school and would take steps to address any future budget issues.

 

Future considerations

Northallerton’s population is increasing, with a number of ongoing development sites and the catchment areas may change as a result of this. The space available in school is very limited; particularly outside areas. The footprint of the school allows no room for further expansion.  The older part of the building is well maintained, however, does have some age related problems, with current buildings survey forecasted as £5500 for next year’s budget.

  • Above capacity on appeal KS1
  • Average numbers of pupils attracting pupil premium funding
  • Increasing number of children with lower language skills on admission
  • Refine and monitor improvement plan 

 

Wider Community

Wider community consists of a large diversity of families, with parents regularly choosing out of their catchment area. We continue to attract parents new to the area and need to continue to be a school of choice.

Parents are supportive of the school and tell us that the school is often recommended to them by other parents. Our engagement with parents/carers is imperative and we maintain communication via weekly newsletters, parent-blogs, information evenings and an active PTA who organise regular events within the school, raising funds which allow for many enhancement activities as well as improved facilities across the school.

Staff are positive and are fully supportive of the leadership team to continue to drive for better outcomes and consistently high quality Teaching & Learning. SEN support within our school is a strength.  We have a leading SEN teacher who is very proactive with our school and other schools within the county; working with local SEND schools on school placements; our SEN leader is known locally for their SEN contribution and support.

Relations with the wider community are strong. The Town Council invite our school to events and the children have been involved with community projects, such as, the addition of a zebra crossing within the local car park, which the children now use when walking to events.  While not a faith school, we have good links with 3 Churches in Northallerton, with members of these churches visiting and hosting whole school assemblies.  Pendragon Community Trust is the school’s chosen charity.

We have a positive relationship with the Local Authority for HR support, financial support (bursar), catering, cleaning, grounds and buildings maintenance and a close working relationship with our School Improvement colleagues. We continue to maintain strong links to secondary schools and our children attend a local secondary school for familiarisation trips.

As well as a successful partnership between the school, the parents and the pupils; our partnership also extends to working closely with other schools, including Rosendale Research School, London and local nurseries. We work collaboratively with local primary schools under the 'Beacon Cluster', which provides opportunities for schools to share resources and provide shared events and experiences for children.

We are also a partner school in the Swaledale Alliance. All members benefit from collaborative support to improve learning outcomes for pupils and continued professional development (CPD) of teachers and potential teachers.

 

About Northallerton

Lying in the centre of a large rural area, Northallerton was established as a market town in 1200 by Royal Charter, and there is still a market in the town today.  Northallerton is a thriving town with good facilities, especially for sports and cultural activities and is the major retail centre for the local area, with close proximity to the Yorkshire Dale and coastal resorts, it is an ideal base to explore the nearby moors, historical cities and picturesque villages. Northallerton benefits from easy connectivity to the A1M, M62, A19, A64 providing convenient connectivity to vibrant cities such as Durham, Teesside, Darlington, Newcastle, York, Leeds, and a little over two hours commute on the main train line to London.

 

Living and working in North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is England's largest county and one of the most rural. The area comprises the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Pennines and a stunning coastline around Scarborough and Whitby. The area hosted the phenomenal Tour de France in 2014, and due to its success has created the Tour de Yorkshire with global recognition. There are ruined castles and abbeys, serene gardens, unique breweries, thrilling rides and industrial heritage. Something for everyone!

North Yorkshire has plenty to offer the outdoor enthusiast. From the hard gritstone of Almscliff and Brimham rocks to the limestone of Malham, Gordale and Kilnsey climbing venues are in abundance. The Yorkshire Dales is the premier area for caving and for mountain biking; there are the bridleways of the Dales and North York Moors as well as the renowned trail centre at Dalby Forest. There are a small number of sailing clubs on reservoirs around the county and fantastic surfsport venues and sea kayaking on the east coast.

While the county is rightly known for its wide open spaces, it also incorporates attractive market towns including Pickering and Helmsley, traditional seaside towns, the Spa town of Harrogate and the ancient city of York - the most visited city outside of London. There are a wide range of shopping, leisure and cultural facilities as well as excellent schools, universities, road and rail links, there really is everything to offer you and your family as a place to work, live and enjoy!

Travelling further afield we have convenient connectivity, with close proximity to metropolitan cities of Leeds and Newcastle, with little over two hours commute on the main train line to London. We border the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire & Humber regions with all they have to offer.

 

Useful Links:

www.yorkshire.com

www.inspireleadteach.co.uk

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