St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Marple Bridge is a ‘welcoming and nurturing school which cares about its pupils’, according to the school’s latest Ofsted report.

The school has been rated Good overall, with Outstanding features, following a two-day inspection by Ofsted in December 2023.

The quality of education, leadership and management and early years provision were rated Good and behaviour and attitudes and personal development were graded Outstanding.

In their report, inspectors said: “St Mary’s is a welcoming and nurturing school, which cares about its pupils. Pupils are polite and well mannered. They are articulate and have a thirst for learning.

“Pupils learn the ‘St Mary’s Way’. This helps them to understand how to behave in lessons and around school. Pupils behave very well and are a credit to the school. Pupils are well supported to develop valuable skills for life. They understand that their three ‘pocket principles’ help to guide their behaviour. As a result, the school is a place of calm.”

The school has high expectations of pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, the report said.

“The curriculum for pupils in Years 1 to 6 and for children in the early years is ambitious. Thoughtful links are made between the subject content and the local area,” inspectors said.

The report said that pupils enjoy their lessons and they achieve well, pupils enjoy supporting one another.

Behaviour among pupils was also praised by inspectors, who said: “The school expects pupils to behave well and they do. From the early years, routines are quickly established. Pupils across the rest of the school also have positive attitudes to learning. They listen attentively to their teachers and they are respectful to staff and to one another. Pupils who need extra help to behave well are nurtured by staff and supported by their friends.”

The school prioritises pupils’ personal development and parents and carers hold the school in high regard, according to the report.

Inspectors said that the school was well supported by its local governing body and the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust. They also said that arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

John Nish, Headteacher, said “Our vision of ‘living and learning by journeying with Mary to Jesus for the greater glory of God’ focuses on a relentless drive to continue to improve and excel in all areas. This report recognises this drive that leads to excellent academic outcomes, while developing the pupils’ character as part of a supportive and nurturing school family. I would like to thank all pupils, staff, parents/carers, trustees and governors for their ongoing hard work, support and dedication.

“To be rated Outstanding in two areas under the new, more rigorous framework is a fantastic achievement. Our school family is extremely proud of the feedback provided by Ofsted. This result reflects a significant, whole team effort to improve the education of each and every one of our pupils. All of our staff, families and children have played a central role in ensuring that the academy continues to provide an excellent education based on Gospel values that prepares pupils for an ambitious future of learning, regardless of difference and challenge.”

Kevin Gritton, Chief Executive of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi Academy Trust, said: “We are delighted for the community at St Mary’s 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.”