St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School in Seaham has been rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Catholic Schools Inspectorate (CSI) in a glowing report. The Dene House Road school, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, is a “vibrant and living example of the mission of the Church”, according to the report.

CSI lead inspector Leigh-anne Young said: “Pupil behaviour is outstanding. This is a result of the high-quality relationships throughout school and the true sense of nurture and belonging. There is a wealth of opportunities for pupils to step up to leadership and this is embraced by the pupils. Their deep care and understanding that they are known and loved by God makes them proud, authentic and skilled at carrying out these roles. Pupils fully understand and embrace the core message of the school mission statement; they are ‘centred in Christ’.

Leadership at the school is praised in the report for being “visionary at all levels”.

As a result, there is complete engagement from all members of the school family,” continued the report.

Religious literacy and high levels of oracy are evident in lessons and throughout discussions with pupils. Scripture has a high priority and is central to the discrete religious education teaching and learning but also within the holistic curriculum that permeates all elements of school life.

The school’s outdoor prayer space “enhances the opportunity for pupils to pray with staff but also for individual quiet reflection”.

Behaviour for learning within lessons is outstanding,” she continued.

This results in good levels of attainment and progress across the whole school. All staff demonstrate consistently high levels of subject knowledge. This authentic subject knowledge allows for quality teaching and high expectations within lessons. Leaders maintain religious education at the heart of the curriculum. Religious education is given full parity with the other core subjects and is led with the same diligence and attention to detail.

Headteacher Andrea Goodwin, who is described as “truly inspirational” in the report, said: “As a school family, we are extremely proud that the inspectors clearly recognised the mission of our school to keep Christ at the centre, whilst confidently engaging in the world around us. The commitment and positive relationships at all levels from our staff, families, governors, Parish community but mostly from our exceptional children is something to be celebrated. We will continue in our drive for all children to flourish and live out Gospel values.

For more information on 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.