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Thorpe Willoughby is a large village, 3 miles outside the North Yorkshire market town of Selby. The village lies on the A63 between Selby and Leeds and is surrounded by arable farming land.

A growing village, we have experienced significant new house building over the last 2 years. This has changed the dynamic in the area, with more residents commuting to Leeds and York, and more social housing contributing to increasing numbers across the school and a greater number of starters/leavers across the year.

To ensure we take full advantage of changing circumstances, we have just completed a building project which will enable us to grow by about 20% over the next 5 years and move from a 1.5 to a 2 form entry.

Currently, 25% of our children come to us from outside our catchment area. Some are from the surrounding farming areas, some from the traveller community and others from Selby.

Our school proudly works well with the traveller community. Our flexible approach means that children come back to us after travelling and the community tells us they feel safe sending their children to us. Traveller children currently make up about 11% of the school population.

We are an Enhanced Mainstream School and, whilst the work of the EMS unit is mainly outreach, we have the expertise to work with children with autism and other enhanced needs within the school. It also means that the EMS base, the “Lighthouse Room”, is available for students within the school.

We are also a United Nations Rights Respecting School and have achieved level 2. This ethos runs through our work. We have Rights Respecting Ambassadors from each class alongside school councillors.

There is a strong sports focus in the school, with many children playing sport in their own time, but also thanks to our PE leader and PE premium, all children in the juniors have been able to represent the school in at least one of our wide variety of sport teams including football, gymnastics and golf.

We have a broad curriculum, and as well as sport, are especially fond of singing in all years. Our current head knows all children and respective families very well. The Open-Door Policy is effective, and governors often comment on their school learning walks how children come up and talk to her. Our work with our families of differing types and needs is very important to us.

We are also privileged to have the Thorpe Willoughby Childcare Centre (TWCC), which is based in a separate building, on our site. The vast majority of our children arrive at school having attended this Early Years setting. We have an excellent working relationship with them and value highly our partnership with them. TWCC also provides wrap around childcare for primary age children as well as holiday clubs around the year.

Our school prides itself on being an inclusive community. Exclusions are extremely rare and we have successfully worked with children who have not been able to settle in other schools. Whilst we are the first to admit that our attainment targets could be higher, our pupils make good progress from often lower than average starting points when they arrive with us.

We are an overwhelmingly happy school with very positive relationships with both pupils and their families.

  • Our staff are committed to our children’s love of learning and welfare.
  • We are successfully rolling out the use of THRIVE across the whole school.
  • Our parents are very supportive of the school - see parent questionnaire.
  • Our assemblies are at the heart of the school community. Makaton is often used by all children, and there are celebrations for achievements outside school. Class assemblies are a time for parents to see what their children have been doing that term.
  • Thanks to the work of our EMS staff, we spend a lot of time on developing communication skills with our children. This includes very successful stay and play sessions for EYFS children and parents.

Thorpe Willoughby Village




Extraordinarily committed to our children and their education, our teachers work above and beyond and are key to our broad curriculum, good progress levels and inclusive ethos.

TAs are the backbone of our school and are a very committed and effective part of our team. They carry out a variety of interventions at all levels of the school and work well in partnership with the teachers.

We currently have three senior leaders, a KS2 leader, a KS1/EYFS leader and a leader of the EMS unit. A variety of staff carry out subject leadership roles which have been strengthened over the last few years. Due to the growing and changing nature of the school, it may be necessary to revisit our SLT structure in the near future.

Key to the inclusive and smooth working of the school are our office staff, who not only support all adults working in the school, but the children and often their families. Their patience is unending and they provide a friendly, professional first face many see when visiting the school. We also have a popular home-school-link worker and excellent staff who help prepare our dinners and supervise lunch times.

School structure


Areas needing improvement

  • Attainment especially our combined RWM scores.
  • As the school and community grows and changes, our everyday working practices need to change accordingly. As part of this process, the governors have consulted widely with children, staff and parents. A common theme regarding improvement is communication. With a growing school it is important to ensure that effective new systems of communication are developed with staff but also parents, especially working parents who are an increasing demographic.
  • A more structured and visionary CPD system could be developed, in which needs are not just met but career development is firmly entrenched alongside good succession planning. This could include a more structured induction for new staff.
  • Whilst we have always prided ourselves on good behaviour, staff, children and parents have requested that there is more consistency in terms of discipline. More consistency is also an area of improvement that traverses the many areas of school life, whether this be staffing procedures, homework or uniform. At the same time as hoping to improve some of our internal procedures, however, we must remember to ensure that we do not become so rigid as to alienate some of our families.
  • A wider ranging set of after school clubs could be developed with a more effective way of working with external providers.


Pupil achievement


Ofsted key findings

Our last inspection in 2015 found that we were “good” in all areas. The summary of finding was as follows:

  • Outcomes for pupils are good because, from their starting points, pupils make good progress in a broad range of subjects, including mathematics and English.
  • Disadvantaged pupils are making good progress throughout the school. The attainment of these pupils is similar to others, both in school and nationally.
  • Teaching is good. Pupils are able to set to work quickly and make good progress because of the very clear explanations they are given.
  • Children in Reception Year make good progress and are being well prepared for Year 1.
  • Behaviour is good. Pupils have good attitudes to learning. They say they enjoy school and feel safe.
  • The curriculum makes a strong contribution to pupils’ good personal development. There are highly effective opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development through the school’s commitment to children’s rights and responsibilities.
  • The headteacher and governors have an accurate view of the school. Since the last inspection, their efforts have improved the quality of teaching and pupil outcomes. As a result, the overall effectiveness of the school has improved.
  • Subject leaders have a good understanding of the progress being made by all pupils. Should the progress of any pupil fall short of what is required, they take appropriate action to improve it.


It is not yet an outstanding school because

  • There is a small amount of teaching that is not ensuring pupils make consistently good progress.
  • There are times when feedback from marking does not provide clear subject guidance and additional challenge for pupils to improve their work.
  • Occasionally, work set does not challenge pupils well enough to help them make swift progress.
  • The provision in Reception Year is not always sufficiently well focused on providing challenging experiences in literacy and mathematics.


Budgetary position

Good – end of financial year:  c/f 2018/19    +£68,000

                                               c/f 2019/20   -£25,500

                                               c/f 2020/21   -£147,500

We have a long history of being in a strong financial position with an expected carry forward this year of £68,000. As always, future predictions are estimated on current funding as we, as yet, have no idea of levels of future funding.


Short term priorities

  • To settle into our new building with a new Headteacher.
  • To put in place strategies to improve our combined attainment scores.
  • To consider the appropriate SLT structure that will be needed as the school grows.


Long term plans

We have researched and considered academy conversion but at this stage remain unconvinced of this route unless we are forced to by government policy. We enjoy working with NYCC and within Selby Learning Alliance. As the school and village continues to grow we will have to make decisions as and when to move to extra staff and a two-form entry system. We are also unsure at this stage about the future of the EMS due to developments within the county, although we are very much committed to keeping it if possible.


Future opportunities

As alluded to in earlier sections, as the school roll rises, we will have to consider the possibility of a deputy head and/or assistant heads. This is not only important for the management of the school but for development opportunities of our staff.


Future challenges

The implications of the rising roll are obvious but we are aware there will be a pinch point when we may need more staff but may not have enough children to bring in extra funding. Also, whilst part of the building is new with new facilities, the rest of the school needs to “catch up” over time.

The village population is growing and this is changing the demographics of a community which has traditionally been very settled. For example, we have parents who have been taught by the same teachers as their children are being taught by now. The new social housing forming part of the two new estates will also mean a changing population and we are already seeing more in year fluctuation as people swap their social housing. There is also a proposed new school in a nearby village which may also affect our catchment area.


Wider community

Parents and carers are overwhelmingly supportive (see parent questionnaire) and we have a supportive Friends’ Association which would benefit from an injection of energy from the new Headteacher in order to build its profile.  

There is also a desire to have more involvement with the wider local community. It should be noted that we currently have governors who are on the Friends Association and the TWCC committee. An injection of new blood would be a benefit to all.

The school works closely with TWCC and sometimes runs joint charitable events. Whilst we have good working relationships with different organisations in the community these could be developed further.

We have a good relationship with our local church and children often visit throughout the year. The “Rev Pete” is very popular within the school.

Our local authority councillor is very supportive of the school and has contributed funds from his locality budget to support events. Our children have attended a council meeting and talked about how they have spent the money setting up a wildlife area.

We have always appreciated the support and challenge of partners from the local authority. We gain from a wide range of benefits including school development, governor and staff training, financial advice and business support and HR support.

We are part of Selby Learning Alliance, a cluster of around 20 local schools.


Selby area

Selby is a small market town situated 14 miles (22.5 km) south of the city of York, along the course of the River Ouse. It is dominated by the superb Abbey, founded in AD1069 by Benedict when he saw three swans on a lake in Selby which he interpreted as a sign of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, resulting in the official crest of Selby Abbey, and subsequently, Selby High School.

Selby local government district has a population of 82,900. It is a fairly rural district with a population density well below the national average. Selby town, with a population of 24,680 is its only major settlement, with a population of more than 15,000.

Selby has a growing local economy with new housing and shops being built on the town's outskirts. The riverfront area is also being revamped with modern housing and flats. This is anticipated to bring population growth and enhanced demand for high quality educational places into the future. Selby is ideally located to a whole variety of places, facilities and activities for culture, leisure, commerce and learning. There is a wide range and variety of housing and prices are below the national average.

The district of Selby is contained within both the Leeds City Region and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnerships. The Leeds E.P. Strategic Economic Plan (2016-2036) describes Selby as follows:

“The district of Selby sits in on the eastern boundary of Leeds City Region within the county of North Yorkshire. Both the market town of Selby and the wider district are home to many highly skilled and paid employees, many of whom travel each day to Leeds, York and beyond. Its economy is characterised by manufacturing, distribution, construction and energy production; drawing its employees from the district’s market towns and villages, as well as neighbours including the East Riding, Wakefield and Doncaster.

Looking ahead, the district has a key role to play in providing space for business growth in the Leeds City Region.”

The unemployment claimant count rate in Selby is around 1.3% (Sept 2016) which is well below the national average.

In short, Selby is a hidden gem, with both its own delights and very easy access to a diverse range of activities and experiences, for individuals and families of all ages.


Living in Yorkshire

North Yorkshire is England's largest county and one of the most rural. The area comprises the Yorkshire Dales and North York 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 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!

We have 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. The Sustrans trail centres are all easily accessible for days and weekends away, as is the Lake District and the fells, crags and coast of Northumberland. There are a small number of sailing clubs on reservoirs around the county and fantastic surf sport 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 the 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.





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