St Luke’s Catholic Academy praised by Ofsted: “This is a happy place”

Education / Wed 20th Mar 2024 at 02:36pm

FIVE short words told you all you needed to know about St Luke’s Catholic Academy following an inspection by Ofsted.

“This is a happy place”

The inspection took place over two days in December.

We will be visiting the school to speak to the head, Ms Kendal but for now, here is the report in full.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils describe their school as a ‘very happy place’. This is because of the nurture
and care they receive from adults who help them. The school works hard to make
sure pupils attend frequently and on time. Each morning, pupils receive a warm
greeting from staff waiting at classroom doors. It means pupils feel safe, settle
quickly and are ready to learn.

The school’s Christian values are important to pupils. Staff expect pupils to share the
values through their work and play. They help guide pupils’ behaviour through the
school day. Pupils readily recall ideas of respect, honesty and kindness. They know
what these things mean. They always look to recognise the values in each other and
celebrate this as part of the ‘values tree’

Pupils’ sense of responsibility is palpable through the school community. They are
highly active in building ideas of citizenship and service. Pupils volunteer to be
representatives as ‘Mini Vinnies’ or they participate in the chaplaincy or CAFOD club.

They think of different ways to support the local community and respond to global

Parents are highly positive about the school. They welcome the support and help
their children receive from knowledgeable staff.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The school has thought carefully about the curriculum pupils learn. It identifies
important knowledge, which is used to build pupils’ understanding step by step. The
curriculum is ambitious and ensures pupils learn a breadth of subjects. A few of the
school’s curriculum programmes have only been recently revised. While teachers use
the information to plan a series of lessons, subject leaders have not yet had the
opportunity to make a full check of how well pupils secure a deep knowledge in
these subjects.

Subject plans begin from the early years through to Year 6. At the start, adults
design activities to support children’s interactions. This helps to build children’s
communication skills and confidence well. For example, adults use their knowledge
of the children to question and prompt speaking while exploring in the garden. As
pupils move through the school, they continue to build their knowledge successfully.

Teachers present learning in interesting ways. They weave in key values by making
links across subjects. This works well where staff have secure subject knowledge.
However, not all adults have the same level of subject expertise. This means they do
not precisely identify the key knowledge pupils need to know. In a few aspects,
pupils are not fully secure in their learning.

The school’s approach to assessing pupils’ knowledge is well thought out. Staff ask
questions to check what pupils remember through the lesson. Teachers make
effective use of what they find out to revisit and recap previous learning.

The school has high expectations for all pupils, including pupils with special
educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Pupils’ needs are accurately identified.
Staff use information well to adapt teaching plans so that pupils access the
curriculum. This means pupils with SEND achieve as well as they should across
every subject.

The teaching of reading is a strength across the school. Staff understand how to
teach phonics systematically. This includes for pupils who may speak English as an
additional language and arrive later at the school. Adults regularly assess how pupils
progress with their reading. They provide extra help for those who struggle. This
helps pupils to catch up quickly. Pupils act as reading champions to encourage the
love of reading across every class. They share their favourite stories and introduce
competitions to challenge other pupils to read frequently.

Pupils understand the importance of working hard and trying their best. They are
respectful and attentive towards each other and adults. Pupils follow routines to help
establish a cooperative and joyful time during break and lunch periods.

The school provides a range of opportunities for pupils’ personal development,
including clubs, activities and visits. Pupils participate in school council elections to
learn about democracy and the rule of law. Visitors share experiences of their
professions. This builds pupils’ aspirations for what they may do in the future. They
learn about diversity and are well prepared for life in modern Britain.

The trust knows the school well. It plays an active role in supporting the school’s

Effective partnerships between the schools in the trust provide strong support
for the professional development of staff.

Staff acknowledge that this helps them to have a clear understanding of their roles as part of a collaborative team. Staff are proud of the school and enjoy working here.

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