Primary school with its own dog rated good by Ofsted

Children love being greeted each morning by Clementine <i>(Image: St. Mark’s CE Primary)</i>
Children love being greeted each morning by Clementine (Image: St. Mark’s CE Primary)

A village primary school which has its own dog has been rated good by Ofsted.

Clementine the Scottish terrier greets the children when they arrive each morning at St Mark’s CE School.

Ofsted inspectors, who visited in March, said the pupils enjoyed seeing the dog and "thrived"  at the school in Brantridge Lane, Staplefield, near Haywards Heath.

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Their report said: "Pupils thrive and feel safe. They are happy and have warm relationships with nurturing staff.

"Every morning, pupils enjoy being greeted by the school dog Clementine."

The Argus: The dog greets the students every day
The Argus: The dog greets the students every day

They found the school, which teaches four to 11-year-olds, has high expectations for the children, who take pride in their work and have positive attitudes towards learning.

Staff were said to have a good understanding of pupils’ needs, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (Send).

The inspectors said the children have a range of opportunities available to them and particularly enjoyed forest school, which helps them "ignite their imagination and creativity".

The pupils were said to behave well in lessons and "play kindly" with each other during breaktimes.

The Argus: Headteacher Laura Kelsey with Clementine
The Argus: Headteacher Laura Kelsey with Clementine

The school, which has 106 pupils, was praised for its well-designed curriculum which meets learning needs and helps children to develop their knowledge as they progress.

Inspectors said the curriculum still needs to be improved in a few places to ensure children can "make even better progress".

At the moment, Ofsted said that parents are "overwhelmingly positive" about the school and what it offers its children.

Headteacher Laura Kelsey said: "We are delighted that the Ofsted inspectors recognised some of what makes St Mark’s CE Primary such a special place to be.

"We are so proud of our wonderful little school and the whole community of pupils, parents and staff who make the school the amazing place it is.

"It is great to be able to show that such a small school can have a huge impact."