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 says: “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 NPCAT in September 2022.

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.”

Ofsted says St Mary’s 171 pupils are proud of their work to support others, such as creating their own small food bank, and enjoy after-school clubs such as archery, dodgeball, football and dancing.

They also take on responsibilities as eco-warriors, school councillors and members of the Mini Vinnies group, who put their faith into action in their community.

“Pupils feel safe and are happy here. They trust the adults in school to help them. They understand how leaders and staff expect them to behave. They are highly respectful of each other and of adults. This makes the school a calm and orderly place.

“Arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Leaders and staff know pupils well. They work closely with pupils, and their families, to check on and look after their wellbeing.”

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.”