SIAS Report

National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report


Thornham St James CE Controlled Primary School

Castleton Road           




Diocese: Manchester

Local authority: Oldham

Dates of inspection: 16th October 2012

Date of last inspection: 13th June 2007

School’s unique reference number: 105692

Headteacher: Mrs Margaret Johnson

Inspector’s name and number: Mrs Gillian Rhodes 657


School context

Thornham St James CE Primary School is situated in a semi-rural area of Royton between the towns of Oldham and Rochdale. The socio-economic backgrounds of the children vary; the number of pupils eligible for free school meals is below the national average. The number from ethnic minority backgrounds is also below the national average. There are no children with statements of special educational needs; the number of children on the SEN register is below the national average but increasing. Pupil attainment on entry to the school in Reception is broadly average but trends show an increase in the number of children with lower than average attainment on entry. The school is situated in close proximity to St James’ Church and the Vicar is a member of the Governing Body.


The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Thornham St. James CE Primary School as a Church of England school are outstanding.

Thornham St. James is a highly effective Church of England school where pupils and staff understand and demonstrate a distinctive, well-established Christian ethos. The children and their parents value the quality of education they receive and highlight the outstanding care offered by the dedicated staff team. Christian values underpin all aspects of school life, including expectations for conduct and positive relationships.


Established strengths
  • The care, friendship and respect for each other shared by the whole community rooted in the Christian values which permeate all aspects of school life.
  • The excellent conduct of the pupils.
  • The close links between school, church and the local community.


Focus for development
  • To extend evaluation of worship to a wider range of stakeholders, including pupils, parents and governors, in order to enhance creativity in worship.
  • To increase opportunities for pupils to plan, participate in and lead worship.
  • To include pupils in decision making and planning of community involvement projects.


The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners.


Children confidently identify how important Christian beliefs and expectations are in the life of the school. They can explain that they are friendly, respectful and caring because they share Christian principles. Dedicated staff and governors work together to provide the best opportunities for all pupils across all aspects of school life and children and parents appreciate this. Parents speak of staff being approachable and highlight the welcome and family atmosphere they enjoy when they attend events such as church services, the Book Fair and the concert for grandparents. The children all know each other across the year groups and the Year 6 Playground Pals effectively support friendships and safe play. Pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural developments are all given high profile. For example, music is an important feature of the school and the children are proud of the choir and orchestra which perform in local festivals and events. Links with secondary schools are strong and children access sport and music opportunities at destination schools. Church and school benefit from links through uniformed organisations, the Sunday School and the involvement of the Vicar in the life of the school through worship in assemblies, Religious Education, his role as Governor and the pastoral support he provides. Excellent standards of behaviour, courtesy and care for each other ensure all pupils feel safe, secure and included. Parents value the discipline which comes through the Christian ethos of the school. There is a calm atmosphere throughout school. Children from minority groups feel included and valued. Children with SEN are supported and parents feel that staff are proactive in identifying and addressing difficulties.

The impact of collective worship on the school community is good.

Worship is a focal point of the school day and brings the school family together for prayer, reflection and praise. Children of all ages participate enthusiastically in prayer and singing of hymns and pupils regularly read prayers and Bible extracts as part of worship. Children take pleasure in each other’s success and they, along with their parents, value celebrating individuals’ achievements. The weekly celebration assembly is a highlight and children wear the star pupil badges they receive with pride. Pupils are familiar with Anglican traditions and practice, which play an important part as a consequence of the vicar’s contribution. Worship is soundly based in Christian teaching and pupils are familiar with the Lord’s Prayer and response prayers. The teaching of Christian values in worship is linked closely to teaching in RE and frequent cross references are made by adults with the result that children are able to explain which are important in school. Worship is planned effectively by the Headteacher and supported by the Vicar. Teachers and support staff participate in worship and teachers regularly lead assemblies. Children enjoy worship and like to participate. They would welcome the opportunity to be more involved in the evaluation, planning and leading of worship and to experience a wider variety of creative worship experiences.


The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding.


The Headteacher, supported by governors, senior leaders and the whole staff team, has a clear vision of how distinctive Christian values are central to all aspects of the life of St. James’ school. This has been successfully communicated throughout school so that adults provide excellent role models for children and children are able to articulate the distinctiveness of the school and how proud they are to be part of it. Leaders identify areas for further development and work effectively to plan and realise this development. School leaders have a strong sense of the school’s role in the lives of pupils and their families and also in the local community. The school successfully provides a focal point for the community in close collaboration with the local church. The Headteacher and other members of the senior leadership team nurture a caring, articulate pupil population who are aware of their worth and understand their roles and responsibilities. The children are very comfortable with the decisions of their teachers for whom they have great respect and trust. The school uses the skills and talents of a very articulate pupil population through the School Council and Eco-Council and there is the potential to include pupils more in decision making and planning, particularly with regard to community and charity events and appeals.



SIAS report October 2012

Thornham St. James CE Controlled Primary School OL2 6XT