Children’s love of learning and the hard work of teaching staff have helped a Hebburn primary school be graded Outstanding by Ofsted. St Aloysius Catholic Junior School Academy, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, was inspected by the education watchdog at the end of last year [November].

Emily Stevens, lead inspector for the Ofsted inspection, said in her report today [9 January 2023]: “The quality of the curriculum and education pupils receive is exceptional. Relationships between pupils and teachers are caring and respectful. Pupils respect and value one another. The Christian ethos is woven into the daily life of the school. In lessons, pupils consistently work hard and take pride in their work. Leaders have planned a highly ambitious and broad curriculum for all pupils. Staff at all levels understand this ambition and support pupils to achieve this. As a result, pupils have a vast range of deep and connected knowledge. Pupils are passionate about their learning and eager to share their achievements.

The behaviour of the 242 pupils, aged seven to 11, at the Argyle Street school was described as “exemplary” in the report.

The school, which is federated with St Aloysius Catholic Infant School, benefits from a “calm and purposeful environment” and leadership skills are encouraged and supported for both staff members and pupils with children taking on roles such as school council and mental health champions.

The inspectors carried out deep dives in early reading, mathematics, history and art. The lead inspector also looked at curriculum plans and pupils’ work in music and modern foreign languages; discussed the curriculum with subject leaders; visited a sample of lessons and spoke to teachers, including those at the early stages of their career. They spoke to pupils about their learning, looked at samples of their work and listened to pupils at the early stages of reading with a familiar adult.

Kathryn Fenwick, executive headteacher of St Aloysius Catholic Infant and Junior Schools, said: “I am delighted that the hard work of St Aloysius staff and pupils has been recognised with an Outstanding judgement. I am hugely proud of what we have achieved together as a school community. Our pupils’ love of learning, fabulous attitudes and exemplary behaviour is celebrated in the report. They thoroughly deserve this recognition. It is a huge privilege to lead St Aloysius and I am grateful for the commitment of our dedicated staff and the support of our families and governors, as well as to the wider trust network.

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