An Ofsted inspector has praised the improvements made to teaching at St Mary’s Primary School, much to the delight of the headteacher.
Julie Sackett carried out a short inspection at the school, in Glamis Street – the first since June 2013 – and found it still deserved its ‘good’ rating.
In her report, Ms Sackett complimented headteacher Peter Edgington for his efforts to not only maintain that rating but to see his school improve.
She said: “Since your appointment in September 2015, you have successfully guided your school during a period of rapid change, including numerous changes in staffing.
“You have sustained the focus on improving teaching throughout this unsettled phase and have achieved considerable success.”
Those improvements – particularly to the teaching of phonics – were described as “substantial”, with the proportion of children achieving the expected standards in the Year 1
phonics check showing a marked rise over the past three years.
In addition, Ms Sackett said a “more consistent approach” to the teaching of English and maths had led to “considerable improvements” in the learning of those subjects.
Mr Edgington said: “I think the report recognised the hard work of the staff who make great efforts to provide children with a fantastic learning experience in a nurturing environment.”
There was also praise for the children, who were described by Ms Sackett as “impeccably polite”, behaving well both in lessons and during playtimes.
She said parents were confident their children were learning well and were very happy with the school’s work.
This was reflected in the Parent View survey, completed by 77 parents, where 98 per cent said St Mary’s was well led and well managed and their children were happy, well taught and making good progress.
Ms Sackett also said that work between school leaders and parents had led to “impressive improvements” to children’s attendance levels.
Her report said the school’s strong moral and religious values made “an important contribution” to the development of pupils’ personal, spiritual and academic achievement, adding: “Pupils from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds get on very well together and work hard.”
With 22 languages spoken by children at his school, Mr Edgington said he was proud that the inspector recognised how enriching the diversity was for all children.
He added: “I was delighted by the way the inspector recognised that spirituality is at the heart of our school and that the children respond to this with positive and caring behaviour.
“I was particularly pleased that the report highlighted the success we have achieved in enabling children from many different cultures to work together and achieve well.”
Ms Sackett gave only a short list of areas for Mr Edgington and his team to address as St Mary’s aimed for the top ‘outstanding’ rating.
They were: the need for the recent improvements in the quality of teaching to be securely established in all classes; for subject leaders to play a more significant role in the school’s development; and for teaching to deepen the learning of the most able children.
Mr Edgington said: “We are working hard to make sure that our more able pupils are able to achieve even more in the years ahead by providing specialist training to staff.”
He added: “We are supported enormously by our parish of Our Lady of Sorrows and would like to thank the whole parish community for their prayers and support for our school.”
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