“So much more than a school” – that’s the verdict of a parent interviewed by Ofsted as part of an inspection at St Thérèse of Lisieux Catholic Primary School in Ingleby Barwick.

The 213-pupil school – part of Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT) – was found to be Outstanding in behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and early years provision, and was given an overall rating of Good.

Inspectors said St Thérèse is a school where all pupils feel valued, happy and safe because of the care they receive from all staff.

“Pupils are courteous and polite,” the report says. “Pupils show a keen interest for those around them. Teachers have built a climate where kindness and respect for others are celebrated.

“Teachers encourage pupils to speak in class, in assemblies and in church. They show a keen interest in what pupils have to say. From Nursery to Year 6, pupils are welcoming, confident and articulate.”

Learning flourishes in a positive and supportive atmosphere where bullying is extremely rare – and parents say communication with the school has never been better.

One wrote: “St Thérèse of Lisieux is so much more than a school. It is a community and my sons feel as though they belong and are part of something special. Their overall wellbeing is at the heart of all the school does.”

Executive headteacher Mark Ryan said he was delighted with the report.

“This is a report for the school and the parish community to be rightly proud of,” he said.
“We are indebted to the fantastic support we receive from parents. The dedication of both staff and governors, and their expertise, has clearly been recognised.

“We are fortunate to be able to work with such wonderful children and their exemplary behaviour, attitudes and kindness have shone through in this report. This is a special school and the report by Ofsted captures this.”

St Thérèse joined NPACT when the trust was formed in September 2018 and inspectors say school and trust leaders have managed a period of change extremely well.

“Staff value the high-quality guidance and support they receive,” the report says.

The school has an “ambitious curriculum” and there is particular praise for its reading programme, with a love of reading continuing throughout the school, for learning in mathematics, and for an “exceptional” early years programme.

“In subjects such as science and history, teachers have mapped out the knowledge and skills that pupils will need to know,” the inspectors continue.

“Leaders make pupils’ personal development a priority. Pupils develop a deep respect for all forms of equality. Pupils recently met female pilots and fire officers to widen their awareness of gender equality.

“They develop an interest in sport, the arts and the environment. Teachers build pupils’ confidence and self-esteem in exceptional ways. “From the earliest days of Nursery, children are encouraged to talk and share their thoughts.”

NPCAT senior standards officer Nicky Jamalizadeh said: “We’re so pleased that the Ofsted judgements reflect the outstanding provision that the pupils receive at St Thérèse.

“These excellent outcomes are a result of the ongoing hard work and dedication from school leaders, staff, pupils and parents working in partnership together.”