School’s exceptional five year journey leads to celebrations

St Joseph's,Catholic School, Moorthorpe, gets a good Ofsted report after being in special measures.
St Joseph's,Catholic School, Moorthorpe, gets a good Ofsted report after being in special measures.
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A school that was dropped into special measures five years ago has turned its fortunes around after finally being given a ‘good’ mark by Ofsted inspectors.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, in Moorthorpe, was heavily criticised in 2012, particularly for the quality of teaching, leadership and the achievement of their pupils.

Class act: Pupils celebrate their good news from Ofsted.

Class act: Pupils celebrate their good news from Ofsted.

In what the current headteacher, Lesley Darren, described as being a ‘tremendously difficult time’ for the school, she says the school has been on a ‘exceptional journey’ since that time.

She said: “The report is overwhelmingly positive and is a tribute to everyone’s hard work.

“All staff in school have maintained a relentless pursuit to ensure that provision in the school is right for our children and this has been and will remain my focus while ever I am headteacher at St Joseph’s.

“As a result of the measures that had to be put in place, a robust focus on improving outcomes for our children became the main driver for improvement of everyone working in or on behalf of St Joseph’s school.

“I hope that parents are as delighted with the outcome as myself, deputy headteacher Luke Welsh, staff and members of the governing body.”

Converted to an academy in 2014 as part of the Bishop Konstant Catholic Multi-Academy Trust, the school was visited by the education watchdog at the start of February.

With 211 pupils, the two inspectors observed lessons, 
met with pupils, and spoke to staff.

The findings impressed the inspectors enough to be a given ‘good’ rating across all key areas, including teaching, leadership, pupils achievements and behaviour and the early-years provisions.

The teachers and leaders at the Barnsley Road school were described as being ‘highly ambitious’ with a ‘clear vision’, and ‘setting high standards and expectations’.

It reads: “Leaders and managers have worked effectively to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

“Governors consistently challenge the school and hold senior leaders to account for pupils’ outcomes.

“Within the school there is a strong sense of community.

“Pupils are making better progress throughout the school in a range of subjects across the curriculum. This is due to better teaching.”

The early years provision was also singled out for praise, with youngsters deemed to be given the ‘support and guidance needed to ensure that the best progress possible is made’.

Mrs Darren added: “Reflecting on how St Joseph’s has been repaired and how much it has improved over the past four years, it is only now that I am able to fully appreciate the exceptional journey we have made as a school community.’’