A “thriving” primary school in South Shields where pupils “flourish” and feel safe has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted. Pupils and staff alike at St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, love their school and feel proud to be part of the school community.

Ofsted lead inspector Lisa Ponter says in her report, “St Bede’s is a thriving school community where pupils flourish and feel safe. The Catholic values are evident in all aspects of school life. The school recognises each pupil as a unique individual. Staff have high expectations for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The highly ambitious curriculum prepares pupils well for the next stage of their education. Pupils demonstrate excellent attitudes to learning. They love being part of the St Bede’s family.

Pupils’ behaviour at the school on Claypath Lane is “impeccable” and they are “kind, responsible and respectful”. Older children take on the role of play leaders, organising games for other pupils during lunchtime breaks. Some become peer mentors and are trained by specialists to help support other pupils’ mental health and wellbeing.

The school helps pupils seamlessly transition to the local secondary school,” continues the report.

Primary and secondary colleagues work in partnership to produce sequences of learning that help pupils develop a deep and rich body of knowledge over time.

Pupils with SEND study the same curriculum as their peers and achieve “equally well” because they receive “precise support”.

The school’s “ambitious curriculum” is accessed by pupils because reading is a high priority of leaders. The number of pupils reaching the expected standard in phonics at the end of Year 1 in 2023 was significantly above the national average and staff “effectively support” any pupils who fall behind to catch up quickly.

The school’s support for pupils’ wider development is exemplary and is threaded through the curriculum,” continues Ms Ponter in her report.

Pupils learn to take good care of themselves physically and mentally. They gain first-hand experiences that bring the curriculum to life. For example, pupils sing in a cathedral and discuss democracy with the mayor at the local town hall.

The curriculum prepares pupils for their life beyond school. Staff raise pupils’ aspirations through visits from a range of professionals. As a result, pupils are ambitious for their future lives.

The school provides a vast array of sporting opportunities for all pupils, including those with SEND. For example, pupils with SEND take part in the Panathlon Challenge with pupils from other schools and compete in boccia competitions. Staff develop strong links with local sports clubs and forensically track participation in sport to ensure that no pupil misses out.

Teachers have “very strong” subject knowledge due to high-quality training provided by leaders and regular professional development events with other teachers from the Trust.

Staff share leaders’ relentless pursuit of excellence,” she says. “They are proud to work at the school. Staff morale is high. They feel well supported.

Headteacher Carol Devine said, “We are thrilled and incredibly proud to have received an ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted. This achievement is a testament to the hard work, dedication and passion of our entire school community – our governors, staff, children and parents. It reflects our unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality of education and creating a nurturing environment where every child can thrive.

We will continue to strive for excellence in all that we do and ensure that our pupils receive the best possible start in life.

During the Ofsted visit, inspectors carried out deep dives in early reading, maths, history and music.

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.

Press release issued by SASS media on behalf of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust. For more information, contact Sarah Dale on 07814 976582.