A Sunderland primary school, which pupils are proud to attend, has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features following the latest inspection by the Catholic Schools Inspectorate (CSI). St Leonard’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, has leaders who are “exemplary role models for staff and pupils” and pupils who love their school, feel proud to be a member of the school community and “enjoy lessons and speak with confidence about what they have learned”, according to the recently published CSI report.

The Silksworth primary has been rated ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ in two key areas: Catholic life and mission, and collective worship, with the report highlighting the school leaders’ approach in ensuring Christ is at the “heart of the school” and a “golden thread running through all policies and procedures”.

The latest CSI report follows a glowing ‘Good’ Ofsted report earlier this year which praised the transformation of the primary school following the appointment of headteacher Dionne Dunn last May. The Ofsted report commented on the “warm relationships between staff and pupils”, the “new and exciting curriculum” and how the pupils are “flourishing” at the school.

CSI lead inspector Louise Nealings said in her report: “Relationships between staff and their pupils reflect how much pupils and their families are valued; staff provide the highest levels of pastoral care for pupils, ensuring they always make time for the most vulnerable. Pupils at St Leonard’s fully understand the Catholic mission of their school, ‘We learn, we grow, we shine in the light of Jesus’. Pupils know that this distinctive Catholic nature makes their school special. All community members embrace this mission and pupils say that they love their school and are very proud to come here. The pupils know that they are loved and well-cared for by the staff team.

The CSI report praised the work the school carries out in the local community, as well as overseas. This included donating old furniture to a school in Gambia and, closer to home, organising food collections and making Christmas cards for pensioners.

The inspectors also praised the “inspirational” religious education leader, Frances McVittie, who has a “clear vision for outstanding teaching and learning and leads by example, providing high quality religious education lessons as a model for the rest of the school” and her work that has led to pupils planning prayer and liturgy.

The school’s prayer garden and prayer room were also highlighted as “quality areas which continue to inspire and support the development of prayer”.

Dionne Dunn, headteacher of St Leonard’s Catholic Primary School, said: “I am delighted that our school is again recognised for the great work and commitment of our staff, pupils and families. I am very proud of the caring and thoughtful attitudes our children show at all times and their genuine delight at sharing their talents and skills in lessons, during collective worship and in the support they offer to our wider community. The children of St Leonard’s are dedicated to protecting their local environment and have been incredibly proactive in their drive to find ways to help others.

The school was rated ‘Good’ following its last inspection by the CSI in March 2015.

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