Faith Primary School in Liverpool has achieved IQM Centre of Excellence status.
Faith Primary School is a smaller than average sized Catholic and Church of England primary school with 184 pupils on roll, including the nursery housed in a modern bright and spacious building that opened in 2011. At the time of the assessment attendance stood at 96.5%. The school is situated in Everton, one of the most deprived areas of Liverpool. Mobility is higher than the national average with the deprivation indicator well above the national average 0.5 for the school and 0.2 Nationally. Similarly, the disadvantaged figure is above the national average at 54% for the school and 24% Nationally. The school is below National Average for EAL at 17% while the picture is 21% Nationally, although this number is increasing due to higher mobility. SEN is above average being at 28% for the school compared to 12% Nationally.
A Broad and Balanced Curriculum
Faith Primary School’s Christian mission statement and values’ ‘Loving and Learning in the Light of the Lord’ underpins all aspects of the school. This is a school, that encourages all stakeholders to become involved and become partners in the process of learning and personal development, a fact I can attest to from observations, discussions and documentary evidence supplied during the assessment. Everyone involved with the school works very hard to provide the pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum that has been designed to ensure progress. They are committed to the well-being of every pupil in their care. Faith is now a vibrant, motivating school where the warmth of the staff and pupils is obvious as one is welcomed through the door! Inclusion is an integral part of school life. Inclusive practice permeates the school at all levels led by the Executive Headteacher, Headteacher and the Senior Leaders, who are role models to staff and pupils alike. This was evident in the conversations which were held with parents, governors, staff and pupils, whose relationships are built upon trust and respect. All share a common ethos of caring for one another and are determined to make their school successful in every respect. All staff are committed to ensure that the school values and ethos are enacted on a daily basis and are reflected in their passionate commitment to learning and recognition of the uniqueness of individual learners. It is driven by their desire to offer the best possible education for all of their pupils in partnership with parents and the local community. Evidence of which I saw demonstrated on numerous occasions throughout the assessment and this has also been recognised from an external viewpoint from two reviews conducted by School Improvement SEND Team and the Local Authority as a leading school in inclusive practices, where the review confirmed that the school has, ‘made transformational progress in all areas under current leadership’. This is a fact I would concur with, the school is highly inclusive, promotes equality of opportunity exceptionally well and as reflected in the IQM SER, ‘No Child is Left Behind’.
Inclusion and Equality are Central
Arrangements to tackle discrimination and to foster good relations with all are now firmly embedded at the heart of the school’s work. The removal of barriers to learning, inclusion and equality are central to the ethos and culture at Faith PS. Staff, governors, parents and pupils collaborate closely to analyse the needs of individual children and implement highly effective interventions. These interventions are measured for impact. Policies are under continual review. There is now a very strong collegiate approach and culture which forms a sound foundation for the continually improving practice and provision which exists in the school.
Improving Partnership with Parents
The partnership with parents is continuing to improve, parents I spoke to during the assessment were very positive about the school and that it is now an open and honest place, where they feel comfortable, listened to and valued and where not only will their children be supported but they know they will be supported as a family. School communication with them is very good and the school is proactive in letting them know how well their child is doing. School governors are highly effective and visit the school as often as possible and are well informed about the work of the school and the progress that the children are making. Governors support the school highly effectively and are extremely knowledgeable about the strategic plan for the school. They understand their role and use this to drive and hold staff accountable for the progression of the pupils at all levels and needs. They know that their contributions are valued by the school.
A Very Productive Atmosphere
Classrooms and corridors are bright and cheerful. There is a very productive atmosphere in the classrooms. In all the lessons visited, behaviour was impeccable and there were high levels of engagement and participation and this was highlighted during the afternoon when I was able to watch an assembly about Road Safety where the pupils were actively engaged and behaved faultlessly. In classrooms around the school pupils were working in different ways, demonstrating evidence of astute planning by teachers and TAs and the accomplished delivery of lessons. The school and staff are extremely focused on improving the attainment and wider outcomes for all pupils. Teachers plan very carefully to identify and meet the needs of all pupils utilising the support staff that are highly skilled and work as key professionals alongside teachers. There is a highly rigorous monitoring process including formal classroom observations, scrutiny of pupils’ work and of teachers’ planning as the school continues to focus on the provision of high-quality teaching and learning across the board. Within this framework there is also a commitment to staff well-being and nurture and a rigorous but supportive PM system. There are excellent relationships between the pupils, the staff and the Governors who are very much a part of the school. Every member of staff and adult who works in the school is a positive role model for the pupils modelling the behaviour which they expect, which I clearly saw during the assessment and in conversations with staff, parent, pupils and Governors. There is very much a family feel to the school. Behaviour in classrooms, around the school building, outside in the well maintained and very well-equipped play areas, is exemplary. Pupils are extremely courteous, mature and respectful to each other, to staff and to visitors. There are excellent systems in place to support the children and their families. It is very clear that the school now ‘knows itself’ very well and has the highest expectations of all members of the school, including parents and families.
A Truly Inclusive Approach
Inclusion is a natural part of what happens on a daily basis at the school supporting pupils and their families in a truly inclusive approach, with highly professional, motivated and enthusiastic young staff with a great passion for teaching and for supporting the development of all pupils, led by a Leadership team who is driving the school forward ensuring the best teaching and learning for their pupils. Everyone is working towards the same aim within a team atmosphere and passion and determination is evident across the board. There is excellent use of Pupil Premium funding and tracking to support pupils, alongside a fantastic level of support for staff and pupils at all level. This is a school where pupils needs are now to the fore and where they are always encouraged to do their best, irrespective of ability, disability, social background, ethnicity or gender, consequently over time they will achieve well or better than expected.
A Calm but Vibrant Feel
There is a calm but vibrant, feel to the school within an enjoyable, happy, nurturing and purposeful learning environment that sets the tone for learning and enjoyment for the staff and pupils. In my opinion, from the evidence of the assessment, the emotional and educational support for all pupils and the staff is an outstanding feature of the school and is a key element in its continuing drive towards success. The school environment is inspiring, highly stimulating and purposeful. It provides a safe, secure, welcoming space for children to learn. Walking around the school including visiting classrooms, revealed an abundance of well-presented displays. The school offers an excellent broad and balanced curriculum that really excites pupils and contributes to their enjoyment of learning. It is extremely engaging, as a result, pupils feel valued by the staff in the school. It is clear to see that the pupils really enjoy coming to Faith Primary School. There is an outstanding sense of care and nurture within the school where every member is valued for who they are and what they might become.
The Heart of the Community
The school is at the heart of its community and is continuing to work hard to be even more inclusive in this respect to ensure that they meet the ever-changing needs of their pupils, parents and families. This was evidenced throughout the assessment from discussions and conversations with staff, parent, and governors who spoke about the outstanding inclusive ethos of the school. As previously stated, inclusion is not an additional part of the setting, seen as an add on but is ingrained in the very ethos and culture at the heart of the setting and part of everything that happens, where staff, governors, pupils, external agencies and parents work in partnership to ensure the best for all. Faith is now a place where everyone involved is listened to and valued. It was clear to see that all children, staff members, parents and visitors feel that they belong to ‘The Faith community’ or ‘family’. This was reinforced time and time again during the assessment in all areas of the setting and in discussions with all stakeholders and a number of external partners I was able to talk to who were working with pupils at the school during the assessment, such as a key worker from the ADHD Foundation and members of ‘In Harmony’ (from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra)a programme that is using music to bring positive changes to the lives of pupils at Faith and a number of other schools within the area. All spoken to were very clear in the way they felt that they were supported in their work with the children in the school and felt that the school and its staff were very inclusive and that they enjoyed coming to the school to work with the pupils and the staff. This clearly supported the evidence gleaned during the assessment about the emotional and educational support for all children and the staff that has very quickly become an outstanding feature of the school and is a key element in its rapid drive to becoming such a successful school and why it is now valued not only by the local community, but by the staff and the pupils. They have a staff who are regularly going beyond what is expected to ensure successful outcomes for the pupils and families. Staff morale is very high and excellent relationships were evident throughout the assessment between staff, pupils, parents and governors. There is very much a family feel to the school where everyone works to support each other to achieve the best for themselves and the pupils and families in their care.
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