Our ‘Outstanding’ church schools

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AS well as facing mainstream Ofsted inspections, the Diocese’s 284 church schools have their Christian distinctiveness assessed by the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools. Here, some of those classed as Outstanding by SIAMS tell their stories. 

A café  and a procession pave the way

by Frank Venables.

Bishop Colin visits Shrivenham.

Bishop Colin visits Shrivenham.

AN inspector from SIAMS raised Shrivenham’s rating from Satisfactory to Outstanding following an inspection last December.
The result was a tribute to five years’ inspiration from head teacher Vicky Sammon, and hard work from her staff, governors and helpers. The inspector rated the school as ‘Outstanding’ in all four areas of assessment: distinctiveness and effectiveness as a Church of England school, meeting the needs of all learners through its distinctive Christian character, impact of collective worship on the school community, and effectiveness of its leadership and management as a church school.
Two initiatives that impressed the inspector were a Holy Week procession and Café Inspire. The Holy Week procession began at St Andrew’s Church, and processed through the village with children enacting the Easter story.
In a Tweet, the actor Michael Sheen sent the school a good luck message: “Great to hear you were inspired by the Passion Play we did in Port Talbot. Hope the weather is on your side but be ready to go with whatever happens. I wish you the best with your performance. Always try to keep the reason you’re doing it in focus.”

Café Inspire

Café Inspire is a joint outreach project of St Andrew’s and the Methodist Church in Shrivenham. It meets in Shrivenham CE School hall on the second Saturday of each month except August. The hall is set up with tables, seating, craft and play areas, catering and newspapers. Drinks, cakes and bacon butties are all offered. There is a ‘Thought for the Day’/’God Slot’ and the organising team comprises Anglican, Methodists and Baptists. Café Inspire started in 2010 and has grown until now the hall is full to bursting every time. The initiative raises funds for a young boy’s education in Uganda.
Some young families have been drawn into Sunday congregations, a fundraising evening with Fiona Castle was a great success, and our sixth birthday this year was celebrated with a Tea Party Sunday Service in the school hall in April, and a coach trip to the seaside in a 100-seater double-decker bus in June.
Following the SIAMs inspection, Bishop Colin also visited us in June.

Frank Venables is the Diocesan Foundation Governor at Shrivenham CE Primary School.

Delight as Great Horwood moves from ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Outstanding’

by Paula Shaw

STAFF, students and Governors at Great Horwood CE School were delighted to be judged as Outstanding in their recent SIAMS inspection in May. It was the perfect opportunity for everyone to demonstrate the commitment and the high value we place on being a Church of England school.

The banner at Great Horwood CE School.

The banner at Great Horwood CE School.

At the end of a long and exhausting day we were able to celebrate our huge achievement of moving from being Satisfactory to Outstanding. All the children and staff were amazing and keen to show the inspector that our school values of love, perseverance and respect, rooted in the biblical teachings of Jesus, are lived out in our daily lives. The inspection was a rewarding and positive experience and we appreciated the recognition that “We are a nurturing and inclusive Christian environment in a welcoming and worshipping community, meeting the needs of all our children and families.”

Great Horwood School has a strong Christian vision. This vision is shared by the community and everyone at St James’s church, alongside the Oxford Diocese which has played a major role in supporting the school in its spiritual journey during the last five years.

Paula Shaw is the headteachter at Great Horwood CE School, near Milton Keynes.

 

 

 

‘Hard work and determination’

by Susan Calvert

LAST year was quite a challenge as I was executive Headteacher of both Braywood CE First School and The Royal School, Windsor, which were both expecting SIAMS inspections. I am delighted to have achieved ‘outstanding’ for both schools.

Braywood has been working hard to maintain its Outstanding SIAMS from five years ago. Our main initiative was to challenge our worship leaders to lead our collective worship. It has been fascinating to watch how these young children have strengthened their skills and risen to the task.

At the Royal School, although we had been judged as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted in December 2014, when I started working with the school in September 2015 it became very clear that the spiritual guidance and pastoral growth of the children was extremely strong. The children are a real credit to the school and our success was down to them and the impression they delivered to our SIAMs inspector.  I am very proud of the hard work and determination of the staff, governors, children and parents at both schools.

A beacon of faith

HELEN Ball, Headteacher of Polehampton CE School in Twyford was delighted when the school received its third Outstanding SIAMs result in March. She said: “Polehampton holds its church school status in high regard; we are always keen to ensure that the spiritual life of the school is given top priority in time and space so our community can flourish.

“Our children love learning about our Christian values and make real links between the values and their daily lives. We benefit from the fantastic support of Revd Simon Howard and our church team. One of our favourite quotes from the inspection report reads… ‘The strong partnership of the school and church is a beacon of faith, hope and love in the local community.’

“The report inspires us to continue with this important work, to make our school Outstanding every day, for our whole community.”

 

“An excellent example” in Frieth

Staff and pupils celebrating their Outstanding SIAMS report at Frieth CE School.

Staff and pupils celebrating their Outstanding SIAMS report at Frieth CE School.

PICTURED right are staff and students at Frieth CofE School, which was rated Outstanding by a SIAMS inspector in April. As part of the inspection, parents, pupils and staff were all anonymously canvassed for their opinion.

Pupils said: “I like learning about things I don’t know yet” (Yr 1 pupil). “It’s good to learn. Everyone is helpful” (Yr 2 pupil) “I like this school because it is all very friendly and we all have collective worship (assembly) together” (Yr 4 pupil)  Pupils said: “I like learning about things I don’t know yet” (Yr 1 pupil). “It’s good to learn. Everyone is helpful” (Yr 2 pupil) “I like this school because it is all very friendly and we all have collective worship (assembly) together” (Yr 4 pupil)

Comments from the parents included: “The school is an excellent example of an educational establishment nurturing children both academically and morally.” Another parent said: “Our experience as parents is that Frieth is a very spiritual, nurturing and inclusive school, and we consider ourselves exceptionally lucky that our children have been to and continue to attend the school.”
The Headteacher, Jo Reid said: “We are absolutely delighted that the inspection recognised the outstanding learning, progress, behaviour and spiritual development of our pupils, as well as the dedication, fantastic teaching and spiritual guidance given by every member of the staff team. The support provided by the Governing body and the Church is instrumental in enabling us to provide an excellent school community for our parents and families. This is an incredibly proud day for Frieth CofE. School.”

“Together we Succeed” in Knowl Hill

by Nichole Bourner

WE WERE inspected by SIAMS in February 2016 and were delighted to have received an outstanding grade in all areas. We became an Academy within a newly formed Multi Academy Trust in September 2014 under new leadership with Isabel Cooke as Executive Principal and Nichole Bourner as the Head of School.

Since then, the school has been on a spiritual journey developing our Christian distinctiveness and building our links with the Church and local community. We are very lucky to be located next door to St Peter’s Church and regularly worship there, inviting parents and the community to join us. Christian values are at the heart of Knowl Hill CE Academy and these are most clearly seen through the behaviour and attitudes of our bright, confident, thoughtful and caring pupils. The SIAMS process was very positive and our inspector Jacquie Coles really captured the flavour of our Church school and Christian understanding of our motto ‘Together we succeed.’

Praise for the Piggott

by Derren Gray

I AM very pleased that the inspectors concluded that “The distinctiveness and effectiveness of The Piggott School as a Church of England school are Outstanding.” The report is available on our school website www.piggott.wokingham.sch.uk/ some highlights include:

• Achievement is significantly above floor standards. Floor standards are the minimum achievement standards set by the Government. (77% 5A*-C including English and Maths) and progress is outstanding.
• Christian love (agape) is the cornerstone of the school which leads to a meaningful and effective education for all pupils, particularly for those who are vulnerable. The values are lived out by all, and the Christian ethos now lies at the heart of strategic planning.”
• The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding.
• The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the needs of all learners.

My sincere thanks to all who contributed to this outstanding grade. It truly reflects our Christian Values of Respect, Honesty, Dedication, Equality, Courage and Love.

Derren Gray is the Headteacher at The Piggott CE Academy in Wargrave, Berkshire.

Buckland’s “inspirational learning environment”

by Louise Warren

Archdeacon Judy at the Summer House at Buckland CE School.

Archdeacon Judy at the Summer House at Buckland CE School.

OUR SIAMS took place in January and we were delighted that the Christian ethos we have nurtured was recognised as having a significant impact on both the achievement and personal development of our learners.
The report stated: “Buckland CE Primary School creates an inspirational learning environment which successfully embodies ‘small, school, big hearts, encouraging outstanding learning’, firmly built upon upholding Christian values daily.” As we don’t have space inside our small school, our prayer space is in our summer house within our school house garden. This special place was blessed by the Ven. Judy French, the Archdeacon of Dorchester, in February 2016.

Louise Warren is the Headteacher at Buckland CE Primary School.

 

Thirsty to learn at Queen Anne’s in Windsor

WE are a small school on the edge of the Long Walk in Windsor, writes Headteacher, Judith Street. Because our Christian values are embedded in our behaviour expectations across the school, pupil attitudes and behaviour are excellent, with pupils self-assured, confident, happy and thirsty to learn.
Recognising that the majority of our children are White British and Christian, we actively plan opportunities to deepen their understanding of Christianity, to widen the children’s understanding of other cultures, to promote British Values and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

Recognising that the majority of our children are White British and Christian, we actively plan opportunities to deepen their understanding of Christianity, to widen the children’s understanding of other cultures, to promote British Values and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

We undertake a whole-school diversity focus each year which has included topics such as India, Windsor and Beyond, Families, Elderly People and ethnicity through International Day. As a result, our children are able to debate and discuss, challenge stereotypes and celebrate similarities and differences

Our annual International Day reinforces the diverse nature of our own school’s population. It raises the profile of other cultures and faiths throughout the school. The children not only learn about diverse cultures, but understand more about the customs of their classmates, which in turn fosters understanding and harmony and reduces conflict.

We were delighted when our SIAMS inspection recognised that as a result of the combination of annual events, and enrichment opportunities, our children gain a good understanding of the similarities and differences of their own and others’ faith, culture, values and beliefs.