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Quality Mark Assessment

Last week St Thomas' was inspected for the Quality Mark.  We received feedback and a report on their findings.  



Click here to read the report




          Basic Skills Quality Mark Programme – Visit Feedback Report

School name


St Thomas CE Werneth



Mrs. Angela Knowles

School and/or

HT email

Tel no

0161 6330539

Alliance QM Assessor

Mrs. Chris Barsby

Visit date



Purpose of Visit



The assessor spoke with the following people: 







Headteacher and/or Senior Leaders YES

Literacy Subject Leader YES

Numeracy Subject Leader YES

Assessment Manager








Pupil representatives


Governor representative(s) YES

Parent representative(s)  NO









‘Learning Walk’ completed? YES

Relevant evidence-base reviewed? YES







The previous development points have been considered and have been implemented.





Agreed areas for development in preparation for the next Quality Mark visit:


Building on already good practice in the teaching and learning of English and mathematics:


·         even further improve marking and feedback to pupils, involving them in their own assessment and next steps in learning within the new National Curriculum.


·         further improve the achievement of the most able pupils.


  • further improve the school's website to make it even more accessible and supportive to pupils and their families for the benefit of (their children's) education.



St. Thomas Werneth is a large school in a socially and economically deprived area of Oldham. Pupils are mainly from Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritages and the numbers of pupils with English as an additional language is above average.  Pupils enter the Early Years foundation Stage (EYFS) with skills in literacy and numeracy (and other areas of learning) which are well below national expectations.  In addition, many speak English as an additional language (EAL), or speak virtually no English at all.  This puts up additional barriers to learning and so pupils exit Key Stage 1 with basic skills in literacy and numeracy which are still well below national averages, even though they have made good progress. Progress speeds up in Key Stage 2 but is not fast enough at present for the pupils to attain national averages.  However, given their very low starting points they make good progress during their time in the school and this is shown in the school's Value Added scores, which are currently significantly above average.  The school is challenging the more able pupils so that, although there are still some lower ability pupils who do not make the expected progress, more average and higher ability pupils are making better-than-expected progress. The most recent section 5 inspection in April 2013 judged the school to be good.



‘Good practice’ identified in relation to the 10 Elements of the Quality Mark:


Elements 2, 3, 1 & 10 (the elements relating to assessment and expectations; planning; monitoring and evaluating impact).

Pupils' progress is monitored via “Target Tracker” which is accessible to all staff and straightforward to use and because of this it has given class teachers ownership of their pupils' assessment and progress.  They understand what the data tells them and act upon it accordingly, planning appropriate learning activities and addressing gaps in pupils' knowledge and understanding.  They are willingly accountable for the impact of their teaching on pupils' learning and participate knowledgeably in target setting and the diagnosis (where necessary) of pupils' special educational needs.

The Governing Body takes an effective role in monitoring and evaluating the school's performance.  The standards committee regularly looks in depth at pupils' achievement in basic skills and the 2 governors who took part in the renewal assessment spoke eloquently and proudly of the school's work, based on thorough knowledge.  The headteacher is keen for governors to come to school when it is session and keeps a log of all their visits, with any decisions made, or actions taken as a result.  St Thomas' and 3 other local schools share any relevant expertise of governors between them – for example one of them has professional knowledge of financial matters, which now (innovatively) benefits 4 schools instead of just one.

The school development plan is very focused on improving basic skills and is regularly monitored by a very impressive senior leadership team (SLT).  They spoke with passion and pride about their work and see the imminent changes to the National Curriculum and its assessment as an exciting opportunity for innovation and moving forward rather than something simply to be endured.  They have developed a “working wall” for staff (in the staffroom) so that they can share knowledge and strength as they move towards new systems for planning and teaching.

Each SLT member has a distinct set of roles, but the way they work closely together gives them a clear view of standards across the school and knowledge of each others' specific areas of expertise and responsibility.  This means that they are all working for the same end and conversations with them demonstrate their dedication and a very tangible team spirit.  It also means that monitoring and evaluation of the key areas driving the school forward is very good and that outcomes for pupils are improving.


Elements 4 & 5 (the elements relating to under-attainment and/or underachievement

The school's leaders monitor first teaching to ensure that good planning and good differentiation supports the learning of all groups of pupils.  Now, more so than in the past, the systems for identifying pupils' disabilities and/or special educational needs (D/SEN) is more efficient and ensures that the D/SEN register is smaller and therefore provides more effectively for those who are on it.

The school uses nationally provided and commercially published intervention programmes for those who need extra support to meet their targets, but leaders say that the most effective  method is “precision teaching” - all staff have received training in this (from an educational psychologist). Precision teaching pin-points pupils' very specific needs to enable them to move on in learning, and operates across classes from Upper Foundation to Year 6.

The D/SEN leader (SENCO) attends the regular pupil progress meetings so as to support the identification of any issues affecting pupils' progress, and monitors the interventions used to ensure a balance between literacy and numeracy support and effectiveness of application.

In addition, in-school and inter-school moderation of pupils' work ensures that all staff agree on standards and that assessment is consistent. Leaders describe this practice as “a deeply embedded process.”  Marking and feedback to pupils is well developed in English will be further developed in mathematics along with improving pupils' mathematical using and applying skills.

Pupil Premium funding is used to buy well-researched resources to support pupils with D/SEN, or those at risk of underachieving and these are monitored to ensure good value for money.

As a result pupils with D/SEN make good progress and achieve well.


Elements 6, 7, 8 (the elements relating to teaching and learning)

Continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers takes place within school using the expertise of members of staff and leaders or external providers from a range of sources.  This is managed through performance management and monitored through observations of teaching and learning: leaders must see the impact of CPD in classroom practice.

Teaching techniques vary according to context, but effective methods are shared to address any whole-school needs.  A good example of this was the need to address the teaching of phonics, which was not consistent across school.  A new (published) core resource was purchased and existing resources deployed to make the teaching of phonics more fun, for example the use of Lego to engage boys with phonics and the use of iPads.  Year 1 and 2 phonics test results have improved as a result, and the current Year 3 pupils were in line (very slightly above!) national average in their Year 2 test.

The learning walk revealed a series of learning environments which support learning with literacy and numeracy display boards and celebrate pupils' work, particularly their writing, on a great range of subjects: the writing is beautifully formed and presented.  This is very much enhanced by stunningly beautiful art work which directly relates to what the pupils have been learning across the curriculum.

The school's front reception area houses the library, the construction of which makes excellent and innovative use of the school's existing architecture and is currently adorned with images of a rain forest, gleaned from research using books and the internet, and contributed to by every pupil in the school.  This and other displays in the reception area give a real “Wow factor” on entry and promote the school as a place where learning is exciting.  This is born out by the pupils who took part in the assessment.  They spoke fluently and at length about literacy and numeracy work.  Sadia in Year 4 spoke about a rule (2AA) for writing interesting sentences, and demonstrated her ability to do this on request.  Iram, also in Year 4 demonstrated how her very good instant recall of multiplication facts has supported her very impressive ability to use the standard written method to multiply 3-digit by 2-digit numbers when solving mathematical problems.  Abid, in Year 2, spoke very maturely about his excellent information text.  He very clearly understands his teacher's role in supporting his learning and described various techniques including the teachers modelling of writing, to demonstrate the key features of writing to give information, and the thought processes involved.


Element 9 (the element relating to the involvement of parents and carers)

The school's work with parents and carers is outstanding.  The extended services leader, in close partnership with a member of the teaching staff, works to ensure that parents, carers and families have the best understanding of how and what the school is aiming to teach their children and how best they can support them.  A great many parents/carers have enrolled, under the school's auspices in partnership with other agencies, for courses in basic skills including literacy, numeracy, ICT and English language.  Accredited courses lead to family members becoming employed by the school.  All this has impacted on children's attendance and on the community, who see the opportunities to be had through education and training. It has also ensured that the conditions for learning (including attendance) for pupils has improved dramatically.

A huge factor in the success of this work is that extended service leaders are flexible and adaptable.  They reach out to families to find out what their specific needs are, make groups of people with the same needs, work together with other schools to facilitate this and offer whatever is needed. Through this work they have built up exceedingly good relationships with families and a high level of trust.

The school communicates with parents through regular parents meetings (which are very well attended), reports, letters and the website.  The school has decided the website needs improvement and has plans for this in place.

The school continues to meet the 10 Primary Quality Mark elements very well indeed and I recommend without reservation that the award be renewed for a further 3 years.

I thank Mrs. Angela Knowles for her preparation for the assessment and her very warm welcome.  I also thank Pam Brocklehurst (Chair of Governors) and Yvette Walsh (governor) for their valuable contribution to the assessment. My thanks also go to the dynamic and energetic Senior Leadership Team for their evident dedication to the education of the children of Werneth.  I must also thank all other staff and pupils, especially Sadia, Iram and Abid.