Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School

A Church of England school serving the Community since 1686

Headteacher: Mrs Nichola Russell
Telephone: 01924 303525
Address: Barnsley Road, Sandal, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF2 6AS

Diocese of Leeds
No description available

‘Together we grow: Together we give’. Ezekiel 47:2

We are a school community and we are a family. We learn together, we support each other, we give our time, our kindness, our love and our compassion to those around us in our school and wider community. We help each other to be ourselves and to be proud of it and to grow in to the unique individuals we are, and as a result, we grow into the respectful and accepting community we all value so much- we are there for each other on each step of our journey.


At Sandal Castle VA Community Primary we are extremely fortunate to have our own swimming facilities on site. We have four fully qualified Swimming Teachers who provide swimming tuition to all children from Year 1 through to Year 6. We follow the International Learn to Swim Programme.

We also offer a comprehensive After-School Provision including swimming, aqua zumba and swim squad opportunities which enable our children to swim competitively against other schools in the district.

Our fantastic quality of teaching and learning continues to be celebrated by AfPE and now the BBC. Swimming featured on the filming for BBC Breakfast and here you can see Jason Robinson OBE meeeting our Y5 swimmers.

Getting ready!


Question and Answer time with Jason.

Mr Harper and Mr Russell discussing the school swimminf provision with Jason and Sue Wilkinson

In 2020, our SWIMMING STATISTICS for year 6 children are as follows;

What percentage of your current Year 6 cohort swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres?

N.B. Even though your children may swim in another year please report on their attainment on leaving primary school.

No of pupils tested


















































What percentage of your current Year 6 cohort use a range of strokes effectively [for example, front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke]?

Front Crawl = 91% (78% 17/18 = +13%)

Back Stroke = 97% (81% 17/18 = +16%)

Breaststroke = 63% (45% 17/18 = +18%)

What percentage of your current Year 6 cohort perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations?


All pupils taught Treading water techniques, as part of the Swim syllabus that we use, higher ability pupils are also taught land based rescue techniques. Using various equipment depending on the position of the casualty.

Schools can choose to use the Primary PE and Sport Premium to provide additional provision for swimming but this must be for activity over and above the national curriculum requirements. Have you used it in this way?


Swim squad training x 3 per week

Aquafit After School Club x 2 per week – Year 6 and Year 4/5

Year 1 Swimming lessons – Thursdays

Year 2 swimming lessons – Fridays

School tournaments/ meets held against other schools at our pool.

Tournaments/meets at other venues/events.

Swim squad visits to deep water pools to practice diving technique.

Sports Week wc 17.6.19

Year 3 Swim Gala

English Schools Swimming Association - 31st March 2019

Our swim squad performed in the English Schools Swimming Association competition held at the John Smiths’ Stadium, Stadium Way, Huddersfield on the 31st March 2019. As you can see, we were extremely successful!

Swim Summit - 27th September 2018

We were asked to speak at the Swim Summit in London on the 27th September. Although we were unable to attend on this occasion a case study of our PE, Sport and Swimming provision was given.

At Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School, we firmly believe that our main concern is to ensure that our children make progress and achieve their potential in the widest sense. We are a health promoting school, where everyone has the right to be heard and good mental and physical well- being of all-children and staff is the key.

We understand that children need motivation in order to learn and that self-esteem is vital for motivation.We plan learning activities which foster independence, confidence and responsibility and that have low stress yet high challenge enabling our children to have a voice and an input into how the school works.

Physical Education, Sport and Physical Activity are firmly embedded at the heart of Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School. PE and Sport are at the centre of the school - it has an incredibly high profile. There are 8 teachers in the PE, Health and Well-being Faculty who have varying responsibilities for driving PE, Sport, Health and Well-Being forward who work closely alongside our Sports Council, Sports Leaders and Swim Squad. The quality, effectiveness and the impact of this high performing collaboration of children and staff has enabled the school to be widely recognised achieving the AfPE Quality Mark with Distinction twice, the fantastic accolade of featuring in the recent AfPE DVD; ‘Effective and Sustainable Use of the Primary PE and Sport Premium, whilst also being recognised at the recent AfPE awards for outstanding leadership and management. None of which could have been achieved without our children and their deep rooted passion for PE and Sport.

At Sandal Castle, we are extremely fortunate to have our own swimming facilities on site. A rolling programme of refurbishment has taken place during the past three years, taking on board the views of the children in the new design. We have four fully qualified Swimming Teachers who provide weekly swimming tuition to all children from Year 1 through to Year 6. We follow the International Learn to Swim Programme. We also offer a comprehensive After-School Provision including swimming, aqua zumba and swim squad opportunities which enables our children to swim competitively against other schools in the district.

PE and Sport are seen as non- negotiables, taking place every week of the academic year, never reducing entitlement due to other factors. In our opinion, PE /Physical Activity is the underpinning core, enabling children to achieve highly from well below typical attainment on entry. Our commitment to ensuring a broad and balanced curriculum enables our children to exceed expectation in National tests as they leave year 6; In 2018, our school was in the top 10% Nationally for reading and top 1% for progress in reading.

Our children are fortunate to have weekly swimming tuition. Initially our KS2 children enjoyed weekly sessions, however listening to pupil voice it became increasingly clear that our children wanted longer sessions in the pool and that our younger children wanted to partake in this vital aspect of the curriculum. A remap of the curriculum has enabled all children in KS1 and KS2 to take part in either an hour (KS1) or hour and a half (KS2) swimming lesson led by highly qualified staff.

The impact of swimming being introduced to KS1 children is that they now benefit and enjoy lessons taught by our own swimming teachers/instructors from age 5 which is much earlier than the statutory age for Primary children. This has impacted positively on all children. When observed, children ably demonstrate accelerated progress as starting lessons earlier underpinned by effective water safety and life skills ensures increased water confidence. Small group sessions enabled due to the increased number of trained staff, all impact positively on outcomes and an increased love of swimming whilst also ensuring a valuable life skill is being taught at the earliest opportunity.

Extra- Curricular Swimming

We have established a comprehensive programme of after school club water sessions to build confidence; Aqua Zumba, Aqua Fit in addition to swimming lessons. The opportunity to gain confidence in the water in a non- threatening session; aqua fit , allows children to feel encouraged, motivated and achieve success which then leads to confidence when being taught the skills and techniques required to swim.

We have also established our Sandal Castle Swim Squad who compete competitively at competitions and meets during the academic year. We also host our own meets. Opportunity to train at the highest level ensures that we can challenge in each of our heats. We have a number of children who now swim for the District. Prior to competition, children are given the opportunity to practice diving at an alternative pool; experience and refine deep pool diving techniques to ensure that they are prepared for the heats and expectations of the competitions. This develops techniques and improves times.

Inspiration and Aspiration

The impact of this (we hope) will be to encourage and inspire our children to aspire to perform at the highest level. Our children already have the opportunity to compete in a range of festivals, galas and tournaments; invited by local schools due to the quality of our young children as swimmers. This gives them opportunities to demonstrate stamina, determination, practising to ‘shave’ off valuable seconds, competing against children from a range of ages, in a range of swimming styles. Children’s commitment is evident in their desire to be the best they can be. An example of this is when our swim squad took part in the ESSA National Swim Championships for Primary Schools at the John Smiths Stadium Pool. To inspire the children, they were taken to Ponds Forge International Sports Centre earlier in the year to watch the British Championships – inspiring athletes of the future!

Swimming DVD - 4th July 2018


DfE Recognition

We are delighted that our school has been showcased as a case study school during National Sports Week, June 2018.

Follow the link below to see the DfE report ...


A truly outstanding school which has achieved the afPE Quality Mark with Distinction (twice!) and who will feature in afPE's new DVD exempflifying high quality provision that will be unveiled shortly! - AfPE

'I am proud to have been associated with this remarkable school' - Eileen Marchant MBE

Recent galas and events

We have our School swimming galas taking place next week...

Monday 18th 1:15pm - 3pm - Year 6

Tuesday 19th 1:15pm - 3pm - Year 5

Wednesday 20th 1:00pm - 3pm - Year 4

Thursday 21st 1:00pm - 3pm - Year 3

Friday 22nd 1:00pm - 3pm - Champions Gala (Winning pupils from all years)

Rotary Sponsored Swim - May 2018

English School Swimming Association 29.4.18

On Sunday 29th April, Sandal Castle Swim Team will swim at the ESSA National Swim Championships for Primary Schools. This will take place at the John Smiths Stadium Pool on the 29th April 2018.The top three teams from each final will be invited to represent North East Schools at the National Primary Relay Championships on Saturday 16th June 2018 at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield. We are looking forward to competing in the gala and hopeful for a top 3 finish!

DfE Accountability

For the 2017 to 2018 academic year, there is a new condition requiring schools to publish how many pupils within their year 6 cohort are meeting the national curriculum requirement to swim competently, confidently and proficiently over a distance of at least 25 metres, use a range of strokes effectively and perform safe self-rescue in different water-based situations.

This condition has been added in response to recommendations from the Swim Group, who reviewed curriculum swimming and water safety in primary schools.

The following link refers to our swimming statistics for 2016/17.

Swimming Statistics 2016-17

In February 2018, we were to be a case study school by the DfE who are working closely with the AfPE. The focus specifically is on the impact of the Sports Premium on attainment and progress in swimming. We look forward to reading the report.

Two members of our amazing Swim Squad have been selected to represent Wakefield. Well done to Marissa and Oliver

The Swim Squad celebrated their successes at the 'Champion of Champions' Swimming Competition during Sports Week

The Rotary Club Sponsored Swimming Relay - 14th May 2017

SANDAL SHARKS IN SPONSORED SWIM RELAY - report taken from Sandal Community Association - with thanks

The Sandal Sharks - the swimming squad from Sandal Castle Primary School - were keen participants in today's sponsored swim relay at the Normanton pool.

The event was organised by the Rotary Club of Wakefield who entered their own four-man team. There were 24 Sandal Sharks swimming today. There are 34 in the full squad who train two or three times a week in the school pool. Today's team was raising money to support the squad's activities

Ponds Forge -

The British Swimming Championships 2017 took place at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre from 18 – 23 April 2017.

The event was used as selection trials for British Swimming teams for the World Championships 2017, the European Junior Championships 2017, the European Youth Olympic Festival 2017 and the World Junior Championships 2017. Our children were fortunate to visit the championships on Sunday 23rd April. What an opportunity to see where they could be with continued aspiration to succeed with their swimming! Here they are enjoying their day. Many thanks to Mr Harper and the staff for taking the children during the school holidays.

Each year, we celebrate our achievements in swimming by taking part in a variety of annual swimming galas; the Rotary Club Gala, Normanton Gala and our very own Sandal Castle Primary School Gala. We invite children from other schools within the district to compete against our amazing swim team!