St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby is celebrating after being rated ‘Good’ in all areas by Ofsted.

The quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision were all assessed as part of the two-day inspection in October 2023.

Inspectors said: “St John Fisher is a warm and welcoming school. Pupils enjoy their learning and are

happy. They feel safe. Pupils behave sensibly in class and around the school. Children learn the routines they need to follow as soon as they join the school. This helps them to be ready for learning. Staff, including those in the early years, are ambitious for what they want pupils to achieve.”

Pupils show respect towards staff and each other, they are polite, well-mannered and they enjoy their lessons, the report said.

Inspectors said that parents and carers valued the work that the school did to support their children.

One parent stated: ‘I would highly recommend this school to any other parent. I’m so glad my children have such a wonderful environment to be in whilst getting their education. I cannot thank the teachers and other staff enough for all they do’.

The school is ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), to learn as much as possible, the report said.

Reading was described in the report as a “whole school priority.”

Inspectors said: “Children begin learning to read as soon as they start in Reception. All staff are well trained and teach daily phonics sessions effectively. Teachers make sure that books match the letters and sounds that pupils know. The school identifies pupils who may be falling behind in the reading curriculum. These pupils receive extra support to catch up. Teachers inspire pupils when they read to them every day.”

Support given to SEND pupils was highlighted in the report.

“Pupils with SEND access the full curriculum. The school has made significant progress in identifying and assessing the needs of SEND pupils. Staff deliver carefully planned support in lessons. Teachers adapt their teaching to meet these pupils’ needs. SEND pupils produce work of good quality and achieve well,” inspectors said.

The inspectors also acknowledged that “The school has made significant progress in identifying and assessing the needs of SEND pupils,” which coincides with the arrival of Kirsty Campbell, the new SENDCo and Deputy headteacher.

The report said that the curriculum for children in the early years was “well sequenced”.

“Children gain a wide range of knowledge and skills. They are well prepared for their next phase of learning in Year 1. There is a sharp focus on developing children’s communication and language skills. Children enjoy learning through well-planned activities. They play happily together and demonstrate strong social skills,” inspectors said.

The school works closely with families to promote pupils’ attendance and adds to pupils’ personal development in many ways, according to the report.

Saul Ratcliffe, Headteacher at St John Fisher, in Alvaston Street, said: “I am thrilled to be able to share this report with our children, parents, parish and wider school community. The report showcases everything that we have worked so hard on. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and support of all the staff and governors of St John Fisher. I am now looking forward to the exciting challenge of further improving this ‘Good’ school.”

Inspectors said that safeguarding arrangements at the school were effective and the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust and governors were committed to giving pupils the best possible experience.

Kevin Gritton, Chief Executive of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “We are delighted for the community at St John Fisher and would like to thank the staff and governors for everything they do, every day, to give the pupils there the very best education and care.”