School serving deprived community judged outstanding by watchdog

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AS a city centre primary school where more than a third of pupils speak English as an additional language St Peter’s C of E Primary in Leeds is not without its challenges.

However it has been highlighted by Ofsted as an example of a school serving a deprived community which has achieved a top rating from the schools watchdog.

The success stories are being promoted as Ofsted published its annual report yesterday.

Ofsted describe St Peter’s an outstanding school which provides its pupils with an excellent quality of education.

It adds: “The school’s motto, ‘We care’, is promoted comprehensively and is at the heart of all its work.

“Consequently, the ethos is extremely strong and the school has a very pronounced sense of togetherness.

“School is like being with your brothers and sisters” is typical of the comments pupils make.

“Cheerful faces are everywhere and the considerable enjoyment pupils derive from the school’s extensive range of lively and stimulating experiences is clearly apparent in all that they say and do.”

Its last inspection report, which took place in October of last year, saw it go from a good rating to one of outstanding.

Head teacher Liz Holliday said: “Our relentless focus on improving standards is the single biggest thing which has helped us to achieve this

“Tracking the performance of every child and if they are below average or not making the progress expected then we will look to intervene quickly and effectively.”

She said teachers tailored their intervention work to the needs of the individual child.

“We do this because it is the right thing to do for our children – and if you are doing the right thing then Ofsted inspections will pick up on that.”

The school has a Healthy School status, holds the Inclusion Chartermark and has achieved the Activemark, Basic Skills Quality Mark and Stephen Lawrence awards.

An after-school club is available to pupils at the end of day.

About four in 10 pupils speak English as a second language and the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is well above average.

About nine in 10 pupils are from a range of ethnic minority backgrounds with pupils of African, Caribbean and mixed White and Black Caribbean heritage the three largest groups.

Ofsted has highlighted the success of several schools in Yorkshire which are said to serve deprived communities and which have improved from being rated as satisfactory or good to now being classed as outstanding.

They include Hill Top Primary in Doncaster, Ralph Butterfield Primary in York, Highlands Primary in Hull, Ryedale School in North Yorkshire and the Outwood Grange Academy in Wakefield.

Ofsted inspections result in one of four findings: Outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

The schools watchdog is planning to replace the satisfactory category with ‘requires improvement.’