Sacred Heart Primary School has been judged as “outstanding” by Catholic inspectors checking on its religious ethos.
The inspection team were at the school in Red Lane in June and later wrote to the 213 children on the roll, saying it was “lovely to see so many happy, smiling faces”.
The Voluntary Aided school serves the parish of The Good Shepherd.
Three-quarters of the pupils are baptized Roman Catholic. One in five children is entitled to free school meals. The inspectors noted that the majority of pupils are below the national average standard when they start school in the reception class, but most make good or even better progress by the time they are ready to move on to secondary school.
Lead inspector Brendan Hennessy said the overall effectiveness of the school was outstanding, offering a deep faith experience.
“This warm, friendly school strives to be a place “where love can grow and flourish” in a caring environment where all are welcomed and differences celebrated,” he said. “Prayer is very much at the heart of this school enriching everyone’s experience of God’s presence. The Mission Statement is visible, understood and lived by all in the school community.”
The inspection team praised head teacher John Robertshaw as inspirational, supported by the dedicated and talented RE subject leader Anne Baldwin and staff at the school for doing all they can to ensure that spiritual and pastoral needs of everyone at Sacred Heart are clearly met.
“The overriding atmosphere within the school is one of calm, safety and dignity for all,” said Mr Hennessy. “Parents said that problems in school are extremely rare but when they do occur they are dealt with swiftly, sensitively and effectively. The children demonstrated very effectively their commitment to a happy school environment and they spoke about how they readily forgave one another on the rare occasion when it was needed.”
Children told the inspectors they liked the regular visits of their parish priest, Fr Chris Gorton who emphasised the need to care for other people beyond the school community, such as when they worked together to raise money for the CAFOD charity, as well as learning to take care of the other children at playtimes and to make sure that everyone is included. It was noted that children feel safe and secure.
The governors were said to have a clear strategic vision for the school, being committed and proactive in providing support and challenge to ensure that RE and the development of the Catholic life is at the core of the school’s thinking and practice.