St Peter’s CE Primary School in Bolton achieves the Inclusive School Award again.
St Peter’s CE Primary is a larger than average two form entry school with 390 pupils on roll, where the majority of pupils are of White British heritage. Attendance is currently 96.7%. The school is an impressive, inclusive learning environment where pupils and staff are encouraged to achieve their full potential, to develop as individual learners and to contribute to the inclusivity of the school and this also filters out to parents and the local community. St Peter’s lives and breathes inclusion. All staff are happy to share their school and celebrate their vision for an inclusive and successful school and they feel part of ‘St Peter’s family’. During the assessment I was able to experience the unique culture and ethos of this truly outstanding school. This is clearly encapsulated in everything that happens here, as a school and as a vibrant part of the local community. A school whose motto, ‘Learn, Sparkle, Shine’ demonstrates everything the school believes in and strives to achieve. During the assessment it was clear to see in classrooms and on corridors with interactions between pupils, between pupils and staff and between staff that inclusion pervades every nook and cranny of the school. It is part of the very fabric of what happens in the school. I was impressed by the confident, respectful and happy pupils and by the shared vision not only of the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team but by all of the staff employed or volunteering in the school, who are committed to inclusion in its broadest and best sense.
Pupils Enjoy School
It is clear to see that the pupils really enjoy coming to school. There is a superb sense of care and nurture within the school and the community surrounding the school where every member of the school is valued for who they are and what they might become. From when they enter usually to the end of Key Stage 2 the pupils make good progress and even excellent progress. Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium also make good or outstanding progress. The school is focused on improving the attainment and wider outcomes for all pupils and not just promoting the learning of the lowest achievers. This can be seen by the fact that they employ a Family Support Worker/Outreach Worker for 30 hours a week to support pupils and families in 1:1 sessions, visits home and group work to ensure more successful outcomes and to help build even more effective relationships between the school and families, alongside learning mentors. Other initiatives include the Sunflower club after school to develop self-esteem in identified pupils; the employment of a HLTA who has a specialism in Art and Design who delivers to pupils in the school and also delivers training to other schools and pupils and the evidence of her influence is evident in classrooms and corridors around the school; Golden Club a nurture provision at lunchtime for KS1 pupils and some at KS2 and their involvement in the nationally recognised Children’s University Scheme that has begun to be developed this year.
Teachers Plan to Meet All Pupils’ Needs
Teachers plan very carefully to identify and meet the needs of all pupils utilising the skills of the support staff who are highly skilled and work as key professionals alongside teachers. There is a very rigorous monitoring process including formal classroom observations, scrutiny of pupils’ work and of teachers’ planning as the school continues to provide high quality provision across the board. There are superb relationships between the pupils and the staff and every member of staff is a positive role model for pupils modelling the behaviour which they expect. There is very much a family feel to the school and its community. Behaviour in classrooms, around the school building, outside in the small, but well maintained and equipped play areas is exemplary, pupils are extremely courteous, respectful to each other and to staff. There are excellent systems in place to support the children and their families. The school ‘knows itself’ really well and has the highest expectations of all members of the school.
Adults Feel Valued
Adults employed at the school feel valued not only by the Senior Leaders in the school but by the pupils and their parents. They have access to high quality CPD whether through in-house or external courses. Teachers, and support staff work together as a team and support for children in the classroom is exceptional. Physical access in and around the school is excellent. Classrooms and corridors are bright and do not feel enclosed and they are full of attractive displays of children’s current work. The school building is clean and well decorated and together with the outside areas is free of litter. Pupils and staff use computers, laptops, iPads and interactive whiteboards to effectively support learning. The school is very well resourced with good quality teaching and learning materials and pupils were seen to be able to access all of the resources they needed for their learning.
Parents are Exceedingly Positive
Parents and external partners spoken to during the assessment such as the advisor from Bolton Behaviour Support Service, which the school has an SLA with, were exceedingly positive about the school. The advisor has worked closely with the school for a number of years and felt the school was excellent at identifying need and intervening at an early stage to ensure issues are resolved and felt her work with staff, pupils and families was valued and that she felt part of the team, a fantastic accolade from an external professional. Parents felt that it is an open and honest place, where they feel comfortable, listened to and valued and where not only will children be supported but they know they will be supported as a family. The parents were very clear that they felt the school is an exceptionally inclusive environment for their children and that they would not consider any other setting. They said that they always receive a very warm welcome and that staff willing to discuss any issues and support their children. School communication with them is very good and the school is proactive in letting them know how well their child is doing without them having to ask for the information all the time. In fact, there are multiple opportunities for families to visit the school and see their children’s work. It is very clear that the school places the highest value on the relationship it forms with the families it serves, as it realises the benefits of engagement for their pupils. This is reinforced by the school being awarded the Leading Parent Partnership Award in November 2107 reflecting their excellence in relation to their work with parents and families in the community. They should be justifiably proud of their work in this respect.
Highly Effective Governors
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 effectively and are 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. The Governing Body is fully involved and integrated into the life of the school, actively promoting the inclusion policy of the school. They are well trained and knowledgeable about the school and provide both support and challenge to the school. They know that their contributions are valued by the school.
Ofsted Rated the School as Outstanding
St Peter’s was deemed as ‘Outstanding’ during their most recent Ofsted inspection in February 2016 where they stated, ‘There is a relentless drive and ambition at all levels in the school to provide the best possible life chances to all pupils. Success is not only measured in the significant progress that the pupils make in their learning but also in their personal development and growing maturity’. They also stated, ‘The high-quality teaching across the school ensures that pupils develop the skills they require to access their learning. As a result, they make very good progress and are very well prepared for secondary school’. I wholeheartedly agree with these statements from the evidence seen during a learning walk and discussions with all stakeholders during the assessment, and that I agree with the school’s assessment that 100% of teaching is good or better. The school is constantly looking at ways to develop for the benefit of the pupils, parents and the community that it serves. In many respects this is due to the aspirational and inspirational leadership of the Headteacher and her team. All staff have a clear vision for the school and their pupils and a relentless determination and drive to succeed. Pupils demonstrate an enjoyment of learning about themselves and the world around them, again clearly seen during a learning walk around the school. The behaviour and safety of all pupils is outstanding as I can attest to from the numerous interactions observed during the assessment in classrooms, on corridors and at breaks and lunchtime and in conversations with representatives of the School Council and Shine Team. The staff provide a happy, caring and stimulating environment in which every pupils’ uniqueness is celebrated and they can grow to fulfil their potential, evidence of which I clearly saw time and again during the assessment. They are committed to inclusive education in its widest and broadest sense and they work extremely hard to provide a fully inclusive learning environment where they celebrate diversity and difference and where pupils are treated as equals.
A True Community School
This is a true community school as evidenced throughout the review from discussions and conversations with pupils, staff, parents, governors and an external partner who spoke so openly about their school and about the superb inclusive ethos of the school. Inclusion is not an additional part of the curriculum but is ingrained in the ethos and culture at the heart of the school and part of everything that happens, where staff, governors, pupils, external agencies and parents work in partnership to ensure the best for all. The school is an extremely friendly and welcoming learning community within a bright and airy building that has recently been refurbished and extended that is fit for 21st century education, where they make the most of their limited outdoor learning areas. St Peter’s is a vibrant ever-changing and developing community with a happy, family-orientated environment where exciting things happen in and out of the classroom. This is a school where pupils are listened to and valued, they feel they belong and continue to achieve and grow as individuals, this was clearly demonstrated time and again in all areas of the school and in discussions with all stakeholders.
Improving Attainment and Wider Outcomes
The school is focused on improving the attainment and wider outcomes for all pupils, but 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. Leadership at St Peter’s is inspirational and aspirational, coupled with extremely professional, highly motivated and enthusiastic staff with a great passion for teaching and for the development of all pupils. There is excellent use of pupil premium funding and tracking to support vulnerable pupils, alongside superb support for staff and pupils at all levels, including training and CPD as appropriate. There is a calm but vibrant feel to the school within an enjoyable, happy, nurturing and purposeful learning environment that sets the tone for teaching and learning. 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 success and why it is valued not only by the local community, but by the staff and the pupils with a staff who regularly go beyond what is expected to ensure successful outcomes for the children and families. Staff morale is exceptionally high and excellent relationships were evident throughout the visit 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 in their care.
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