Saint Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy has achieved a Gold Award in recognition of its provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

The award came following visit from a verifier from the National SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) Quality Mark, who reviews and validates the school’s self-assessment.

In the report that followed the visit, the school, in New Mills, was praised for its energy, determination and commitment in ensuring that the children in its care are able to become ‘the next generation of world leaders’.

“Your focus on striving to continually improve ‘excellence of education’ is inspiring. I know that you are, quite rightly, proud of all that the school offers its pupils and the wider community,” the report said.

Verifier Meg Marshall said in her report that she was overwhelmed by the children’s confidence to talk about social action projects that they had initiated.

She said: “They have so many opportunities to lead and be responsible, from Special Friends, Little Fish to Chaplains who prepare and lead whole school worship. The children are aware of current local and international news, and they are able to discuss world events. Theological questions are provided on the dining tables at lunchtimes in order to promote discussion. They clearly articulate how British Values link to Catholic Social Teaching, and the school’s values.”

Parents described how friendly and homely the school is, the report said.

“I heard about how children ‘thrive’, no matter what their needs. The parents appreciate the careful focus on smooth transition, Nursery to Reception, and KS2 to KS3, and that there is an open door policy. It is also appreciated that staff retention is strong, and that staff have opportunities to develop professionally,” the verifier said.

Governors spoke about the importance of global learning and their involvement with it, according to the report.

The school’s numerous strengths were highlighted in the report, including the positive relationships and pride from everyone connected to the school, the real ethos of ‘family’ and support, the leadership opportunities available for children and how well the children articulate themselves.

Headteacher Patricia Chapman said: “The school is delighted to receive the recognition through this award that reflects the focus and dedication we have for all our pupils in their personal development.”