A primary school where children are 'happy and feel safe' continues to provide an outstanding education, a recent inspection found.

Ofsted carried out a visit at Pikes Lane School in Deane.

Inspectors found that  the evidence gathered suggests that the grade might not be as high if a graded inspection were carried out now at the school based on Gibraltar Street, Bolton.

Ofsted stated that Pikes Lane Primary School continues to be an outstanding school where ‘pupils value the friendly atmosphere’ and ‘the school’s motto, ‘together we can be the best’, unites this welcoming community’.

Complementing the reading curriculum, the report states: “In reading, the school has introduced a new phonics programme. In the early years, children get off to a good start in developing their understanding of letters and the sounds that they represent.

“The new approach is improving pupils’ phonics knowledge.”

Inspectors also praised the education the school provides to pupils with SEND.

The report states: “The school quickly identifies the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), particularly in the early years.

“Staff help these children, and pupils in the rest of the school, to have access to the same curriculum as their peers.”

Inspectors praised the opportunities the school provides pupils with to learn about other cultures.

The report states: “The school has put in place high-quality opportunities for pupils to learn about other cultures and faiths, such as through visits to different places of worship.

“Pupils have a strong understanding of equality and respect each other’s opinions.”

The report also complemented the school’s commitment, stating: “The school has a strong commitment to working in partnership with parents and carers.

“The school engages well with staff to ensure that they feel supported on key matters such as their well-being and workload.”

The school’s arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Inspectors  also shared ways in which the school should improve.

The report states: “For some pupils in key stage one who find reading difficult, the school has not been as effective as it could be in helping them to keep up with the intended curriculum.

“As a result, these pupils do not apply their phonics knowledge well enough to read with fluency and understanding.

“The school should ensure that these pupils have increased opportunity to put their phonics knowledge into practice in order to read words with both accuracy and speed.

“The school has not defined fully some of the essential knowledge that underpins subjects.

“This means that pupils do not develop some important subject-specific skills and knowledge in sufficient depth.

“The school should further refine subject curriculums so that teachers are even clearer about how they should enable pupils to deepen their knowledge and understanding of individual subjects.”

Steve Bentham, lead inspector, said school has been through a difficult time in recent years.

The report states: “Having suffered disproportionately from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consistency of teaching within the school has been affected by a large number of staffing changes, including in the leadership of the school.

“The school is starting to recover well from this. The school has recently refreshed the curriculum, including in the early years, to focus on the key knowledge that pupils need to acquire. As a result, pupils are building well on their prior learning.”

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