03:23PM, Friday 17 January 2020
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is still ‘Good’ according to Ofsted – but the school must work harder to be inclusive of pupils with special educational needs.
A report by the education watchdog, released this week, praised the school’s ‘strong moral compass’, underpinned by the its ’strong religious character’, stressing important values such as compassion.
The inspector noted that good manners among pupils were the norm, and the children were kind and caring to each other. Pupils told the inspector that bullying is rare and they feel safe and cared for by teachers.
Pupils also spoke with enthusiasm and pride about the school, in Cookham Road.
They had a high reading level and spoke enthusiastically about their favourite books and authors.
The inspector noted the school has been making positive changes since the last Ofsted report, such as reshaping history lessons to be more exciting.
Phonics is taught particularly well at St Mary’s, the report adds, with teachers modelling sounds and checking on pupils’ progress often.
The school focuses on improving writing skills, with pupils practising writing in multiple subjects. Teachers provide extra support to pupils struggling with reading.
However, Ofsted flagged up concerns about the level of support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities.
The inspector felt that teachers could provide more effective guidance and lesson adaptations for these students.
The report adds the most able pupils are not always challenged, as teachers’ expectations are ‘not consistently high enough’.
The last short inspection of the school was in 2018, and the last full inspection in 2013. In the 2013 inspection, the report again noted that classwork must always be set ‘at the right level of difficulty for all groups of pupils’.
The school had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press.
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