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Praise for city school rated Good by inspectors

A school where pupils meet the high expectations set of them has been rated Good by Ofsted.

Inspectors visited St Mary's Catholic Primary Academy in January found that the school’s values of believe, achieve and aspire ‘permeate throughout' St Mary's – with leaders' aspirations for pupils 'without limits'.

They 'have high expectations for what they expect all pupils to achieve, and these are realised', ensuring that each pupil's academic needs 'are fully considered and met'.

Leaders have given careful thought to the curriculum and ensured it is fit for purpose, while staff have received training so that they can teach it effectively.

Children in the early years are well cared for and nurtured, and the 'success of this early work endures through the school'.

Teachers focus on teaching pupils to read with fluency and accuracy, and this is encouraged throughout the school day and at home. Leaders make checks on how well pupils are learning to read and swiftly help pupils catch up if they need to, meaning 'pupils achieve well'.

Teachers also use a range of strategies, drawing on professional external advice, to help pupils with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), targeting areas including communication and reading well which has a 'positive impact on individual pupils' and ensuring they are 'supported effectively to achieve well'.

Leaders make sure parents are kept well informed about how well their children achieve, with parents typically praising how well led the school is in parental surveys.

Pupils at St Mary's, which is part of the St Francis and St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Company, are 'polite and well mannered' and demonstrate 'a great deal of care for each other', particularly those new to the school or to Wolverhampton.

They also take responsibility for their school community through an array of leadership roles, such as garden ambassador, school councillor or eco committee member. Children 'take these roles very seriously and take great pride in helping to improve their school community'.

And they enjoy a range of wider opportunities and experiences, including educational visits to places as varied as Dudley Castle, the National Space Museum in Leicester and the Natural History Museum in London. Inclusive extra-curricular activities include choir, orchestra, trampolining and a pony club.

The safeguarding culture at the school is strong, with staff 'extremely vigilant' and 'knowledgeable about what to look out for and know how to report any concerns', whole governors ask the right questions of leaders to hold them to account, care about the wellbeing of staff and contribute to the Cannock Road school’s success.

Inspectors concluded that St Mary's continues to be a Good school in their report published today (Wednesday 15 March, 2023).

Principal Vicky Minihane said, "There are not many principals who would welcome a visit from Ofsted, but it was a real pleasure to have the opportunity to show the great work that takes place in our school and to receive such positive feedback.

“The report focuses on our high aspirations for every child in our care, regardless of their starting point or ability, and reflects the ethos of our wonderful school. “I am incredibly proud of the hard work of every member of staff, the commitment of our families and the support of our Local Governing Body and Multi Academy Company - this is very much the result of a team effort, and I now look forward to the next step in our journey as we continue to strive for further excellence.”

Toni Ellis, CEO of the St Francis and St Clare Catholic Multi Academy Company, added: "We are rightly proud of leaders, staff, governors, pupils and parents at St Mary’s. The school's relentless determination to value every child, their individual talents and to secure the highest quality of education for its community is inspirational."

Councillor Chris Burden, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, said: "This is another very good report for St Mary's Catholic Primary Academy and it’s great to read that pupils are meeting the very high expectations being set of them by their teachers.

“I would like to say a big well done to everyone connected with the school."

Latest figures show 89% of schools in Wolverhampton with a current Ofsted grade are rated either Good or Outstanding, the highest ever.

Pupils from St Mary’s Catholic Primary Academy celebrate their Good Ofsted rating with Kerry Cox, Vice Principal, Councillor Chris Burden, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Work, Vicky Minihane, Principal, and Sarah Smith, Vice Principal.


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