St George’s graded Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted

St George’s Catholic Voluntary Academy is one of only two primary schools in Derby to be graded Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted since a new inspection framework was introduced.

Inspectors said that “everyone thrives” at the school, in Littleover, which they visited in May and graded Outstanding overall. Ofsted introduced a new framework for inspections in 2019.

They said: “Pupils are happy and flourish at St George’s Catholic Voluntary Academy. The school is highly ambitious. Staff are dedicated and all are committed to enabling every pupil to succeed. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and disadvantaged pupils receive everything they need to be successful here.”

Rachael Snowdon-Poole, Headteacher at St George’s, said: “Following a rigorous inspection, we were overwhelmed by the feedback from the inspection team. To receive the highest grade in every category of the Ofsted inspection framework is an amazing achievement. It is testament to the expertise of our wonderful staff, the support given by the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust and of course, the dedication of our pupils and families. The results of our recent inspection fill me with immense pride and appreciation for the hard work, commitment and ambition of our entire school community. I would like to thank everyone for their exceptional contributions and the roles they have played. We are excited about the future and will do all that we can to ensure that our pupils continue to thrive.’

The report said that school invests considerable time and thought into the character traits they want pupils to develop, such as perseverance, respect and acceptance.

“Pupils demonstrate these traits by being friendly, polite and by greeting visitors with confidence and warmth. Pupils consistently spoke about the fact that ‘we all respect each other and respect each other’s differences’,” inspectors said.

Behaviour was described as “exemplary” and inspectors said that every moment of lesson time is devoted to learning.

The report noted that one parent, whose comments were typical of many, said: “St George’s has gone above my expectations. I am impressed with how much my child has learned and developed at this school and how much the school cares about every child.”

Inspectors said that the curriculum was meticulously planned and delivered by skilled staff. It is enriched with visits and talks from experts including a virtual meeting with a marine biologist from the Maldives to learn about pollution in the sea.

“Pupils engage well in their learning because their teachers enthuse them and make lessons interesting,” the report said.

Teachers expertly adapt the curriculum for SEND pupils. Inspectors said that pupils with SEND feel well supported and spoke about how “we are blessed by all the wonderful teachers here.”

All pupils develop a love for reading at this school and pupils who struggle to learn to read get extra support and practice, according to the report.

Provision for children in the early years was also praised, inspectors said: “Children in the early years settle quickly and develop a passion for learning. Teachers plan activities to bring the curriculum to life. The environment is fun, stimulating and carefully constructed so that learning opportunities are everywhere.”

The vast array of opportunities on offer to pupils was also highlighted.

Inspectors said: “The curriculum for personal, social and health education (PSHE) is exceptionally well

planned. Themes of equality and diversity are thoughtfully embedded across the curriculum. Pupils from different backgrounds learn about each other. They celebrate differences. This curriculum goes beyond the expected. For example, pupils’ talents and interests are nurtured through the enrichment offer.

Pupils get opportunities to play their violin with an orchestra, visit Parliament, participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workshops and career talks.”

Inspectors said that leaders, governors and the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust have a shared vision for the school based on success for all. High quality professional development, including masterclasses and coaching, play a key role in the school’s success.

“Leaders listen to staff and work with them to ensure that workload is manageable. Staff feel incredibly well led and are proud and happy to work at this school,” the report said.

Kevin Gritton, Chief Executive of the St Ralph Sherwin Trust, said: “Congratulations to everyone at St George’s on the outcome of their recent Ofsted inspection which reflects all of the hard work that is being done to ensure that pupils receive the very best Catholic education and care. Well done to staff, governors, pupils, parents, carers and the wider school community.”