Letter from Mrs McHale
Dear Parents and Carers,
As you are aware, Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy had its Diocesan Canonical Inspection in March. The report has now been published and is available on the school website. We are delighted to inform you that the overall effectiveness of our academy was judged to be Good. Within this, there are three categories; Collective Worship and Religious Education were both judged to be Good and the Catholic Life of the school was judged to be Outstanding!
The Inspectors were very positive during the visit and acknowledged how far the academy has come on its journey of improvement. The children represented the school very well and were proud to show the inspectors all that we do in school. It is very reassuring that the dedication and determination of all the staff and children have been recognised.
Whilst we are delighted with these judgements, we continue to work hard to ensure we raise standards for all children to achieve their potential. We would like to thank you for all the support you continue to give to the school.
SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS FOR PARENTS AND PUPILS
The Catholic Life at St Mary’s is outstanding. The parish priest is justified in describing the school as ‘an oasis for the pupils and their families’. Driven by her own personal faith and well supported by the equally committed deputy headteacher and a team of highly skilled governors, the headteacher ensures that Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church underpin every aspect of school life. As a result, pupils feel valued and the vast majority develop a strong sense of right and wrong. Both indoors and out, bright attractive displays, artwork and notices loudly proclaim that this is a Catholic school.
The Collective Worship of the school is good. Pupils benefit from a rich variety of prayer and worship. Pupils are respectful and show reverence at times of prayer and worship. They are keen to participate, to answer questions and to offer their thoughts on how to live good lives. Pupil chaplains are proud of and understand the importance of their role.
Religious Education is just on the cusp of good. Good practice is evident in some classes. The headteacher and her deputy have a clear and accurate view of the standard of teaching in Religious Education throughout the school and are taking robust steps to address areas of weakness.
Under the leadership of the headteacher, the school has developed increasingly strong links with the parish. Parishioners treasure the school and welcome the invitation to be a part of school life. The school in turn values the support they receive from the parish. The new parish priest is proactive in building on and further developing the links established by his predecessor. The school, and in particular the school’s leadership team welcome and value his support. The proximity of the church to the school enhances the partnership between the school and the parish. Pupils and parents regularly attend Mass in the church. The subject leader for Religious Education has developed in her role and is proving instrumental in improving standards in Catholic Life, Collective Worship and Religious Education.
WHAT DOES THE SCHOOL NEED TO DO TO IMPROVE FURTHER?
Further enhance the Catholic Life of the school by:
Facilitating a genuine role for pupils in shaping the school’s mission and Catholic ethos. For example, they may be invited to contribute to the school improvement plan or assist governors on their monitoring visits.
Ensuring staff are trained in order that the RSE scheme, A Journey in Love is taught effectively and consistently across the school.
Ensuring that governors retain an objective and accurate overview by appointing a non-staff member as the link governor for Catholic Life and Religious Education.
Improve the quality of Collective Worship by:
Allowing pupils time for genuine reflection, to enable a deepening of their understanding of the Gospel.
Developing pupils’ ability to plan Acts of Worship independently.
Ensure teaching and learning of Religious Education is consistently good or better across the school by:
Developing all teachers’ understanding of assessment for learning and ensuring that they consistently and effectively apply its principles to their planning and delivery of lessons.
Ensuring that the marking and feedback policy reflects most recent guidance and is consistently applied across the school, so that teacher marking within the lesson improves pupils’ understanding of their learning.
Adopting a presentation policy and ensuring that it is consistently applied across the school.
Providing pupils with the opportunity to challenge themselves to work at a higher level in their written work.
Developing manageable and sustainable strategies to secure a consistently high quality of teaching and learning regardless of staff mobility.