Downs Junior School

Name Downs Junior School
Ofsted Inspections
Address Rugby Road, Brighton, BN1 6ED
Phone Number 01273558422
Type Primary
Age Range 7-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 493 (51.7% boys 48.3% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 22.0
Local Authority Brighton and Hove
Percentage Free School Meals 14.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 7.9%
Persistent Absence 5.3%
Pupils with SEN Support 9.9%%
Catchment Area Indicator Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Available No
Highlights from Latest Inspection

Information about the school

Downs Junior School is a larger than average primary school. There are more girls than boys.

The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is below average. The percentage of pupils from minority-ethnic heritages is below average; very few pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is average.

These pupils include those with: specific, moderate and severe learning difficulties; behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; speech, language and communication difficulties; and autistic spectrum disorder. Among the many awards the school has gained, it has been recognised for its work in the arts by the Arts Mark gold award, and has gained the Basic Skills award. There is a breakfast and after-school club on the site, which is run by a different organisation; this was subject to a separate inspection.

Main findings

This is an outstanding school. The senior leadership team has ensured that an impressive curriculum and good teaching continue to raise attainment. Adults in the school are highly dedicated to ensuring that the pupils receive the best possible care, guidance and support.

As a result, pupils develop into mature, confident young people, well prepared for the next stage of their learning. By the end of Year 6, attainment is high and, from pupils’ above average starting points, this represents good progress. The curriculum is well thought out to meet the needs of pupils and provides exciting and innovative opportunities for learning.

For example the ’mantle of the expert’ approach is used for a range of topics, where staff, pupils or visitors take on the role of an expert within an area of learning. Staff work hard to make all the learning realistic and purposeful. Pupils particularly enjoy the themed weeks, for example each class looking at a particular country.

Alongside the good teaching, this means that pupils thoroughly enjoy their learning. In most lessons seen, pupils made good progress. Occasionally, progress slowed when teaching was not as strong as usual, or when pupils were unsure of what they need to do to reach the next level of their learning.

In the best practice, older pupils regularly reviewed their work and evaluated their progress towards appropriate targets, but this is not always as evident for younger pupils. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities receive support, which is carefully adapted to their needs, through a wide range of strategies, including through highly effective partnerships which the school has developed. The effectiveness of these strategies is accurately monitored and evaluated.

As a result, these pupils make good progress. The headteacher ensures that the care, guidance and support for pupils are given the highest priority, and that adults are well informed about the individual circumstances of pupils. The wide range of opportunities to take on responsibilities and the impressive impact they have had mean that the pupils’ contribution to the community is outstanding.

They are proud to be part of their school and their enthusiastic contribution makes it a vibrant learning community. Behaviour is exemplary. Pupils get along harmoniously across ages and wide-ranging backgrounds.

As a pupil said, ’There are lots of friends and everyone is kind.’ Pupils feel particularly safe, and know how to keep themselves safe, for example on the internet. Parents and carers recognise the excellent care, guidance and support the staff give to pupils.

As one parent indicated, ’All of the teachers are very caring and committed; they work very hard for our children.’ Another parent said, ’Being at this school has boosted my child’s confidence immeasurably.’ The accurate view of senior leaders about the school’s work, improvements brought about since the last inspection, including the rise in attainment and increased attendance, mean that the school has good capacity to bring about further improvements.