STRONG team bonds, determined leadership and greatly improved teaching are just some of the positive highlights from one Littlehampton school’s most recent inspection.
Education watchdogs from Ofsted have given a glowing report of St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, in Highdown Drive, citing ‘significant improvements’ in both leadership and teaching quality since the primary’s last inspection, in 2013.
The report, which can be viewed online, also highlighted improvements in the achievement and behaviour of pupils, with inspectors saying the school ‘has a very strong set of values’ and that its ‘work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding’.
Head teacher Gillian Askham said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the inspectors recognised that teaching across the school was of a high quality. I am pleased that the teachers received such positive feedback as they, along with our team of teaching assistants, truly deserve the outcome.
“The present team at St Catherine’s is as strong as it has ever been. Each member of our team is dedicated, committed and more than willing to go ‘above and beyond’ what is expected of them in order to provide our children with the best opportunities possible in all areas of their school life.”
In the report, Ofsted said: “The quality of the school’s leadership has improved considerably since the previous inspection.
“Leaders at all levels have high expectations of pupils’ achievement and the quality of teaching.
“Their effective actions have ensured that all the weaknesses identified at the previous inspection have been remedied and that teaching has strongly improved.”
The inspector added: “Leaders at all levels ensure that the quality of teaching is good; there is now no weak teaching.”
The inspection process also took into account the views of parents and carers about the school, with Ofsted saying that ‘an overwhelming majority of parents and carers thought that their children were safe and happy at school and that the school managed their behaviour well’.
Much of the report was overwhelmingly positive.
However, inspectors did highlight some minor shortcomings which could be worked upon to try to boost St Catherine’s up from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ – the gold standard for schools to attain.
Inspectors have advised the school to focus now on refining the use of data and assessment, as well as providing children with more regular opportunities to write at length.
These issues are rooted in the school’s improvement plan and are set to be addressed in the coming months.
Mrs Askham felt moving the school forward would be a challenge but one she was ready to tackle.
She said: “Steering the school through an Ofsted inspection is no mean feat and I hope that the other schools in both our locality and Deanery who are awaiting inspection also receive positive outcomes. We keep them all in our thoughts and prayers.”
She wished to thank all the staff for their contributions towards helping to make the school ‘such a lovely place to be’.