'Proud' pupils and 'ambitious' curriculum at primary praised in glowing Ofsted inspection

Some of the 'proud' pupils at St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School
Some of the 'proud' pupils at St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School -Credit:Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT)

Inspectors have praised a Redcar primary school at an interim Ofsted visit.

St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School, on Mersey Road, is celebrating after a glowing inspection from the education watchdog. Ofsted visited the site for an ungraded inspection in October, the first since the school's 'good' rating in 2018.

The glowing report praised the "proud" pupils, "ambitious" curriculum, and "passionate" leaders, even saying that evidence suggests the inspection grade "might be outstanding" if a graded inspection were to take place. Acting headteacher Suzanne Dickinson said it was a testament to the "hard work, perseverance and unwavering determination" of pupils, staff and parents alike.

The school - which has 388 pupils - is one of 38 schools throughout Teesside and North Yorkshire run by the Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT). Inspectors found that students at the site were "inspired" by its Catholic ethos - living out the motto of 'pray together, learn together.' They also not only enjoy school but are "safe and happy."

Leaders have introduced a "well-considered" curriculum, leaving "excited" pupils taking pride in their work. Those with special educational needs or disabilities are also given the right support and the same "ambitious curriculum."

St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School
St Benedict’s Catholic Primary School -Credit:Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT)

Meanwhile, pupil behaviour was found to be "exemplary" at all times of the day. Students have developed a "positive attitude to learning" and "treat each other and staff with high levels of respect." Bullying is not an issue at the site.

Other praise was given to the "ambitious" curriculum, with "passionate" leaders described as experts in their subjects. Pupils benefit from "consistently well-sequenced" lessons and deepen their knowledge over time.

The school also has effective systems to check what pupils know and can remember, with teachers having a "clear understanding" of what pupils need to achieve. Children are "well prepared" for their next steps in areas such as reading, writing, and numbers.

Inspectors reported that the school has prioritised pupils’ understanding of important vocabulary in lessons, meaning children talk about their learning with "confidence and accuracy."

The reading culture was also praised, with pupils learning to read "quickly and confidently." Progress is "diligently" checked, with effective support given to those who struggle. The report stated: "The school inspires a love of reading for pupils. They are excited about the wide range of books in the school library."

"Passionate and knowledgeable" teachers were found to make learning exciting, with pupils being both "attentive and enthusiastic" in lessons. The Diocese, trustees and governors were also found to have an accurate picture of the school, with governors providing effective support and challenging school leaders. Staff feel well supported, and workload is not a concern.

'St Benedict’s is a truly outstanding place to be'

CEO Hugh Hegarty praised the school leaders and governors following the glowing report. He said: "Their total commitment has ensured that Redcar children continue to be offered fantastic Catholic education, where everyone is welcome. I would also like to thank the trust’s Primary Standards team for supporting the continued development of excellent provision.”

Acting headteacher Suzanne Dickinson added: "This report is a testament to the hard work, perseverance and unwavering determination of our pupils, staff and parents alike. The report acknowledges an ambitious curriculum, which was demonstrated through the deep dives in reading, maths and history.

“The work over the last three years to further develop our curriculum highlights the quality of leadership and education St Benedict’s provides for every child. We are committed to ensuring we deliver a curriculum that challenges and inspires all pupils to reach their full potential.

“We have a team approach, based upon the generous sharing of individual gifts by all pupils, staff, parents, governors and parish. Our strength comes from the whole St Benedict’s community – home, school and parish – working together and appreciating and encouraging everyone’s contribution.

“This community is a shining example of how working together can lead to remarkable achievements. Together we have built an environment that nurtures our students, instils in them a love for learning, and empowers them to become competent and independent individuals.”

Executive headteacher Kendra Sill said: “This report reflects the commitment of all leaders and staff. We have been relentless in our ambition to provide the very best for the children. St Benedict’s is a truly outstanding place to be, and although no areas of improvement were identified, the leadership team will continue to strive to offer the very best education.

"Pupils are proud to attend this school as are the staff who we are indebted to for their unwavering dedication.”