Our Lady and St Paul’s RC Primary School judged as Good following Ofsted inspection

Date published: 15 November 2023

Our Lady and St Paul’s RC Primary School in Heywood has been rated ‘Good’ following its first Ofsted rating.

The Darnhill school, which is run by the St Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Academy Trust, was judged to be ‘Good’ overall, but also had Early Years provision highlighted as ‘Outstanding’. Inspectors said that support from the trust meant “greater stability and strength across the school.”

The inspection report said that pupils were “polite and had good manners” and “speak confidently with visitors.” Pupils were also said to be happy and safe as “they know staff will listen to them and give them the support they need.”

The school was praised for “dealing with any bullying effectively” and for its “high expectations for behaviour” with calm classrooms allowing for pupils to do their best. Pupils rarely disturbed their peers’ learning.

Inspectors said the school “with the support of the trust, is successfully reversing a legacy of underachievement” and has made improvements to the curriculum in recent years, with “a positive impact on results in the reading, writing and mathematics assessments at key stage 1.”

It was noted that results at the end of key stage 2 in 2022 were affected by the legacy of instability of staffing and the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our Lady and St Paul’s was also praised for “a well-ordered phonics curriculum” in which “teachers in the early years and in key stage 1 build pupils’ phonic knowledge skilfully.”

Of its Early Years provision, inspectors said children were off “to a flying start,” adding: “The school is ambitious for the achievement of all pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The majority of pupils achieve well in most subjects.”

Pupils also benefitted from a “wide range of high-quality opportunities that enhance their learning and support their personal development” with outside organisations including clubs for arts and crafts, and sports.

Safeguarding arrangements were also praised for their effectiveness.

Inspectors identified a couple of areas for improvement including “sharpening aspects of teaching” in “some foundation subjects” to help pupils “know more and remember more over time” and supporting teachers in improving their subject knowledge and confidence.

Headteacher Marie Gavin said: “We are delighted that inspectors agreed with our evaluation of our school.

“It is satisfying to see that inspectors absolutely recognised that the school has reversed a legacy of underachievement and commented that children make an excellent start to their education in early years.

“This is a validation of the time and effort that we have put in to ensure the children at our school receive the best possible provision and experience.”

Chris Foley, CEO of the St Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Academy Trust, added: “This inspection report deservedly recognises the incredible work that the headteacher Marie Gavin has led in this school.

“We are so very proud of how all the staff at the school continue in their drive to make the lives of the children of Our Lady and St Paul’s better. The trust board would like to place on record their most sincere thanks to Marie and all her staff.

“The community of Heywood has a Catholic school it deserves and should be rightly proud of. This is an inspection outcome that has affirmed and confirmed what we already know about this very special school.”

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