Primary school in Richmond celebrates good Ofsted report

A headteacher has spoken of her pride and delight after Ofsted graded her school good overall and good in all areas.

Inspectors who visited St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Richmond found a “caring community” where children have everything they need to flourish.

The report added: “Pupils behave well and feel safe. They are well cared for by the adults, who know them well. When pupils join the school, they quickly become part of a caring community.

“Leaders have high expectations for pupils’ achievement. This starts in the early years, where the curriculum has been well thought through to support pupils to learn. By the end of key stage 2, pupils have the skills that help them to be ready to move to secondary education.

Headteacher Fran Mackle said she couldn’t be prouder of St Mary’s children, families and governors.

“We are truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful community,” she said. “I admire every member of my staff team as they always, without fail, put the children at the centre of everything they do.

“It’s a real pleasure to work alongside such dedicated, motivated and highly skilled people. Our parents and governors are a great support and the school wouldn’t be the wonderful place it is without them.

“One of my main aims is to establish a healthy workplace culture where the emotional health and wellbeing of staff is recognised and valued. Mental health and wellbeing of both the staff and children alike is a key priority in everyday life at St Mary’s.

“We are very proud of our new curriculum and the high expectations we all have for our children.

“We have a wonderful parish priest, Father John Bane, who fully embraces school life.

“We’re also very lucky to be the feeder school to the Ofsted outstanding St Francis Xavier School in Richmond, with our children gaining top category places in the admission process.”

St Mary’s, which is in Cross Lane, became part of Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) in September 2022.

One of the country’s largest Catholic multi-academy trusts, NPCAT is made up of 38 schools throughout Teesside and North Yorkshire, including the city of York.

CEO Hugh Hegarty further endorsed the leadership of Miss Mackle and her team.

“The support from the parish and community is a key strength of this beautiful school,” he said.

“St Mary’s and its sister school on the same site, SFX,  afford parents the option for a seamless transition from primary into an outstanding secondary school.

“These pathways are so important and having them in Richmond is why places at St Mary’s are so sought after.”

Inspectors found some areas for improvement.

The report stated: “Some targets for pupils with SEND do not specify the precise knowledge or skills that are to be developed. This means that some small steps in learning are missed, and pupils find learning difficult.

“Some assessment processes are still being developed. This means that gaps in learning are not always being identified quickly. Leaders need to ensure that
assessment criteria is closely matched to the curriculum and that staff regularly and effectively assess pupils’ understanding.”

Miss Mackle added: “My professional aspiration has always been to secure excellent outcomes for all children. To achieve this, a key priority is to focus on developing high-quality teaching and learning, ensuring all children receive the education they deserve.

“I will remain focused on what matters most. For me, that must be the children whose parents entrust them into our care.”