Crossroads Primary School Is a Rural School Situated Between Kilrea and Upperlands









A. i. School: Crossroads Primary iii.Date of Inspection: W/B 06.02.06

ii.School Reference Number: 303-2218 iv.Nature of Inspection: FI/Mathematics/ICT


School Year / 2001/02 / 2002/03 / 2003/04 / 2004/05 / 2005/06
Year 1 Intake / 13 / 14 / 25 / 17 / 13
Primary / 72 / 76 / 95 / 107 / 122
Reception / 4 / 10 / 0 / 2 / 8
Nursery Class/Classes / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Special Unit / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0

The enrolment for the current year is the figure on the day of notification of inspection.
For previous years it is the figure in the annual return to the Department of Education.

The calculations at C and D should be based on the total of the primary and reception enrolments only.

C.Average Attendance for the Previous School Year
(expressed as a percentage):96.44%

Primary &NurserySpecial Reception Unit Unit

D. i.Number of Teachers
(including the principal and part-time teachers):600
(Full-time equivalent = 25 teaching hours)

ii.PTR (Pupil/Teacher Ratio):20.33 NI PTR: 20.0

iii.Average Class Size:20.33

iv.Class Size (Range):18 to 24

v.Ancillary Support:
Number of Hours Per Week: i.Clerical support:13

ii. Official Making A Good

Start Support: 15
iii. Additional hours of other

classroom assistant support:120

vi.Number of pupils with statements of special educational needs:7

vii.Number of children who are not of statutory school age:8

viii. Percentage of children entitled to free school meals:1.64%


1.1Crossroads Primary School is situated on the Drumagarner Road between Kilrea and Upperlands. Most of the children who attend the school live within the town boundary. The enrolment has increased significantly in recent years to its current figure of 122. Approximately 1% of the children are entitled to receive free school meals.

1.2The arrangements for the inspection of pastoral care included the completion of questionnaires by parents, and meetings with members of the Board of Governors (BoG) and with the children from year 6. Approximately 41% of the parents responded to the questionnaire, with 15 parents taking the opportunity to write additional comments. The BoG and nearly all of the parents expressed strong support for the school and value its distinctive ethos. They also raised a number of issues, including the major deficiencies in the accommodation, and matters relating to health and safety; these matters were discussed with the Principal. The children in year 6 spoke enthusiastically about their experiences at school and the care received by their teachers; they reported however, that they felt unsafe and unhappy while travelling in the bus to and from school. These issues have been reported to the Principal.

1.3The inspection focused on the work in mathematics, information and communication technology (ICT) and the school’s arrangements for pastoral care, including child protection.


2.1There are positive working relationships at all levels within the school; a strong sense of school community has been built up. The children’s behaviour is good; they listen to their teachers and co-operate well with one another. The teachers promote a climate of pastoral care and concern for the children; they have worked hard to create an inviting learning environment in the classrooms and corridors. Good use is made of the space available in the entrance hall to display andcelebrate the children’s work, to acknowledge their achievements in competitions, and to inform parents of the school’s policies.

2.2The Principal reports that Circle Time is being used appropriately for the discussion of relevant issues and to foster attitudes of tolerance and responsibility among the children. The school is currently working on promoting positive behaviour opportunities for the children to share any concerns or worries with the Principal. An appropriate and helpful series of school rules has been reviewed and developed in consultation with the children and, as a result, additional attention has been given to the outdoor play arrangements for the children. This includes a Playground Friends scheme which encourages the promotion of personal responsibility amongst the older children.

2.3There is a developing sense of team spirit and a common sense of purpose amongst all of the staff; the teachers are extremely hard-working and highly committed to the children. The school has undergone a period of staff changes. Over the last two years, three new teachers have been appointed. The classroom assistants and ancillary staff are generally deployed appropriately and make a worthwhile contribution to the children’s education and welfare. Two of the classroom assistants have been trained by the school under the Better Reading Partnership and will be deployed to support the children’s reading in the year 3 class.

2.4The school has procedures in place which implement the guidance outlined in the Department of Education (DE) Circulars 1999/10 ‘Pastoral Care in Schools: Child Protection’ and 2003/13, ‘Welfare and Protection of Pupils’ Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order’ and has identified appropriately further areas for development within its pastoral programme. Procedures for dealing with child protection matters are set out clearly in the child protection policy and all the staff have received relevant training.

2.5Despite the limitations of a very restricted site, the teachers work extremely hard to make the accommodation as bright and inviting as possible. The inspection has identified many health and safety issues, which are highlighted in the appendix, or later in this report.

2.6The school is developing effective links with the parents and values the contribution they make to the life of the school. The staff make good use of a variety of methods of communication to encourage the parents to become fully involved in their child’s education.

2.7The children take part in a variety of extra-curricular activities including sports, public speaking, school trips, and in a range of local competitions which usefully broaden the children’s experiences. The school has established effective linkswith other schools in the immediate and wider area.

2.8There are eight children who have not attained the statutory school age and are enrolled in the year 1 class. The small number in the class enables the staff to engage the children in valuable discussion about their play. The organisation of the day is at times too formal and provides insufficient opportunities for the children to participate extensively in sustained and purposeful play. The school needs to review the provision to ensure that it is in line with the ‘Curricular Guidance for Pre-School Education’ issued by DE. The Principal reports that he does not intend to continue with a reception group in the next school year. The inspection team strongly endorses this decision.

2.9The whole-school policies and schemes of work for mathematics and ICT provide detailed guidance for teaching and learning. The teachers’ written planning is clear and comprehensive; intended learning outcomes are identified and linked appropriately to classroom activities and resources. Insufficient attention is given to the planning to identify systematically the strengths and needs of individual children, especially higher attaining children, and those children who require extra help with their learning.

2.10The quality of teaching observed during the inspection was always satisfactory, frequently good, and, on occasions, excellent. In the best practice, the work was well paced, the teachers used skilful questioning to develop and extend the children’s understanding, and there was an appropriate range of teaching strategies to support the differing needs of the children. In addition, there were opportunities at the end of the lesson for the children to reflect on what had been learned and, in a few instances, to evaluate their work.

2.11The children have regular sessions of play-based learning. The staff have appropriately identified the need to develop further this area of the programme. During the inspection, there were examples of good interaction between the staff and the children, when the children were helped to develop and explain their ideas. There is a need to ensure that the play experiences are of a high quality, promoting challenge, and meeting the children’s needs effectively with appropriate progress across the year groups.

2.12The school is in its third year of involvement with the Northern Ireland Numeracy Strategy. This initiative is having a beneficial effect on the work of the teachers and on the children’s experiences in mathematics. Much has been done to improve the nature and quality of mathematics in the school; for example, the introduction of more challenging and creative teaching and learning activities; more opportunities for the children to work collaboratively, and to gain confidence in data-handling; a more systematic focus on mental mathematics; and greater use, through numeracy trails, of the school environment. The numeracy co-ordinator has also drawn up an effective action plan to develop mathematics further by providing the children with increased opportunities to apply their learning to investigative and problem-solving activities, and to remedy several identified areas of weakness.

2.13Across key stages (KS) 1 and 2, the children’s work addresses the key areas of mathematics including number, shape and space, measures and handling data. In the early years, appropriate emphasis is given to experiential, active, and play-linked mathematical activities. Across KS1 and 2, the lessons are planned carefully and effective use is made of well-chosen practical materials and resources to support and extend the children’s learning. A strong feature of the teaching is the increasing emphasis given to mental mathematics. The children enjoy their work in mathematics and apply themselves well to the tasks set; the teachers, and the classroom assistants, provide suitableindividual support for this work. The children complete most of the tasks set confidently and accurately. In the lessons observed, most showed a good understanding of what they were being asked to do and responded well to the teachers’ questioning. Their written work demonstrates their competence in, and consolidation of, a range of mathematical skills and processes.

2.14The children’s mathematical learning is developed further through their work in other subject areas; in year 3, for example, they made good use of data from a classroom survey of the town of Kilrea to prepare computerised bar graphs, while, as part of a study in geography, the children in year 5 collected and presented weather data in graphical form. In years 6 and 7, the children were able to apply flexible thinking, and their awareness of speed, distance and linear scale, to resolve a number of mathematical problems based on an unfamiliar but real-life situation. The test data held by the school, and the end of key stage results, demonstrate that the children have acquired a good standard of mathematical attainment.

2.15The staff have reviewed and updated the ICT policy. All of the teachers have completed successfully their training in ICT. They are making good use of the computers to draw up their teaching plans and to create learning resources. During the inspection, many of the teachers demonstrated the use of ICT as a valuable teaching aid. All of the classes have regular access to modern computers and the children enjoy working on ICT tasks although the school reports, however, the need to develop further its ICT resources to cater for the increase in enrolment. The software packages in use include those designed to complement the work in mathematics.

2.16The younger children are developing their skills of controlling the mouse and they use programs to help them learn about number, colour, sorting and matching. Many of the older children access relevant information from the Internet and from CD-ROMs to support class projects and to further their particular interests; suitable e-mail facilities are set up for the children from year 4 and, in years 6 and 7, each child receives an individual e-mail address. In KS2, the children use ICT extensively to prepare work for presentation and display. The staff have in place a system for monitoring the development of ICT skills within each key stage and a record is kept of the computer activities experienced by each child. The staff need to consider further how ICT can challenge and extend the children’s knowledge and understanding in mathematics. The Internet and the use of CD-ROMs also need to be exploited further, particularly for research purposes. Appropriately, the ICT action plan identifies priorities for the further development of ICT, including the re-introduction of video conferencing to establish further links through the Comenius project with their partner school in Germany, the setting-up of a school website, and the introduction of an after-school computer club. The school needs to continue to review the extent to which ICT is integrated effectively into all of the children’s learning experiences, and to take greater account of the varied learning needs of the children.

2.17The school has identified some 16% of the children as requiring additional help with their learning. Approximately half require support in relation to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) while almost all of the remainder require support in literacy and/or numeracy. Support for the children with ASD is prioritised and much is being done by the teachers and by the classroom assistants to help these children. It will be important that further attention is given to monitoring the impact of the provision for children with ASD; in particular, the work of the teachers and the classroom assistants should be reviewed to determine its effectiveness and to guide future staff deployment and direction. The children’s individual education plans also require attention; they are unduly repetitive and do not contribute sufficiently to developing the children’s learning and independence. Furthermore, the teachers would benefit from additional training to broaden their knowledge and understanding of ASD.

2.18To date, the school’s understandable focus on developing its provision for ASD has resulted in insufficient attention being given to the needs of those other children who require additional support for their learning, and to the needs of higher-attaining children. Appropriately, the school’s current development plan recognises that this imbalance in provision requires attention, and additional literacy and numeracy support is beginning to be made available to some of the children in need of extra help. It will be important that the school continues to develop its provision to cater more systematically for the needs of all of the children who are considered to require additional help and attention, or who would benefit from it. The staff need to monitor closely the children’s attainment over an extended period of time to determine what progress is made and identify clearly what further attention and support is required.

2.19The school’s approach to assessing, recording and reporting on the children’s work is suitable and effective. The marking of the children’s work is carried out regularly and appropriately. In the best practice, the children are offered helpful advice on the quality of their work, and, if necessary, on how it might be improved. The staff now need to ensure that this good practice is shared consistently throughout the school. Appropriate procedures are in place to record the children’s levels of attainment in English and in mathematics. Insufficient attention is given, however, to analysing and evaluating this data to determine the extent to which the children are making progress, and to identify the issues arising for the teachers’ future planning and classroom practice.

2.20The Principal is providing informed and effective leadership. He has a good knowledge of the children and their needs, and is implementing important and appropriate changes to support their progress. The school has identified and highlighted relevant areas for its development plan. The role of the Principal and the curriculum co-ordinators in
monitoring the work of the school will need to be developed more fully to assist them to gain an overview of the curricular provision and issues arising. The school manages its resources prudently.

2.21The accommodation consists of a main building which contains a classroom, the Principal’s office, a small library, and an assembly hall which also functions as a gym and canteen. The other five classrooms are housed in temporary accommodation. The quality and suitability of the accommodation is significantly deficient in many respects and affects adversely the work of the teachers and the teaching and learning experiences available to the children. The size of several of the temporary classrooms limits unduly the work of the teachers and the opportunities for the children. It is especially inappropriate that one of the temporary rooms functions as a dual classroom and staff room; the room is unsuitable for the number of children in the class, and it is unsatisfactory that the staff have to use the children’s desks and chairs prior to school commencing, at break, and at lunch time. Recent changes, while improving parking facilities and drop-off facilities for parents and children in the morning and at the end of the school day, have also resulted in a significant reduction in the playground space available to the children.