A Primary School in Sunderland, which is undergoing transformational change following the appointment of a new headteacher has been rewarded with a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.

Headteacher Dionne Dunn was introduced to St Leonard’s Catholic Primary School a year ago, when she was asked to carry out a supportive role for a couple of weeks.

Mrs Dunn immediately identified issues which needed to be addressed, including putting a proper curriculum in place and addressing pupils’ challenging behaviour.

And with the support of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, which the school is a part of, once she was appointed as headteacher in May, Mrs Dunn was able to make some sweeping positive changes.

Now, Ofsted have acknowledged that a “transformation is taking place” at St Leonard’s, in Silksworth, with inspectors also noting that “aspirations for the school are high”.

My dream is we will be a full school with a nursery and we will be an outstanding school – I won’t settle for anything less,” Mrs Dunn says. “It will take time, but we will just take it one step at a time. We would really love to see more reception children in our school – the deadline for applications is January 15, so we would love for more reception families to come in and see us because we do have spaces.

In awarding the school with a ‘Good’ rating, the inspectors noted that pupils were now “flourishing” at the school and are well-prepared for secondary school by the time they leave, thanks to the way staff nurture the children.

Ofsted inspectors also gave credit to all staff, noting that they all “work tirelessly to make their school the best that it can be”, while pupils, who “Learn, Grow and Shine” together at the school are proud of their school and display “excellent” behaviour.

The report states: “From the youngest children in Reception to the oldest pupils in year six, they show motivation and a thoughtful, positive attitude to learning. Warm relationships between staff and pupils are evident in every space of the school and at every point in the day.

The report adds pupils told them ‘you can always trust the adults and make a new friend at our school’ and they ‘welcome new classmates with open arms’ as well as ‘feeling happy and safe’.

Mrs Dunn praised the “teamwork” that had taken place to bring in higher standards at the school since her appointment.

I quickly worked on motivating the other teachers within the school, giving them an opportunity to be heard about what solutions were needed at St Leonard’s,” she said. “This enabled us to work as a team to drive it forward and improve the learning environment for everyone, but especially the pupils.

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