A school in Salisbury that opened with just 69 children and three teachers in 2018 has received a resounding vote of confidence from Ofsted.
St Peter’s Church of England Primary has grown since first opening and now has 268 pupils on role and 29 members of staff. Following its first inspection by Ofsted, the school received a judgement of Good in all areas.
Lead inspector, Kathy Maddocks, said in her report that St Peter’s was well respected in its neighbourhood and that Ollie Martindale, headteacher from the very start of the school’s journey, was a “lynchpin” in upholding the vision of a school at the heart of its community.
“The school has been on an extremely fast and purposeful journey. Leaders have dealt well with an ever-shifting landscape with both the Covid-19 pandemic and the changes to the locality,” Ofsted reported. “Staff and pupils follow the school’s motto, ‘Strive Beyond: Defy Limits’, with determination.”
Ms Maddocks, who visited the school in Xanten Way with two other inspectors for two days in November last year, noted that the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust, which opened the school, had high expectations from the beginning.
Ofsted rated St Peter’s as Good for quality of education, leadership and management, pupil behaviour and attitudes, personal development and early years provision.
The report praised the school’s ambitious curriculum, which includes what is best for pupils and reflects what to teach and when, so that learning deepens over time.
The priority for reading and staff’s expertise in teaching phonics were highlighted, as was the recognition given to the need for children to rebuild stamina and precision that had been lost during the pandemic.
“Whether in Reception or in Year 6, teachers ask questions skilfully to engage pupils. With the high number of pupils who speak English as an additional language, this is vital work. Pupils’ vocabulary and pronunciation are improving as a result.”
Support for the individual needs of pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, was another strength acknowledged in the report.
“Leaders track these pupils’ progress through the curriculum. When difficulties arise, leaders resolve issues swiftly. Pupils flourish because of this support and make rapid improvements in their work.”
The report highlighted parents’ appreciation of the “rewarding ethos and atmosphere” and children’s pride in their environment.
“Respectful behaviour is always on show and low-level disruption is not accepted.”
The report commended the strong safeguarding in the school, as well as the fact that children were learning to be responsible citizens.
“Pupils know right from wrong. They understand how to stay safe when they are online and the importance of consent within relationships. Pupils show compassion and tolerance of differences in race and ethnicity.”
Inspectors challenged the school to support children further in implementing their strong writing skills consistently, in all subjects across the curriculum.
Headteacher Ollie Martindale said: “I am enormously proud that our brilliant children, fantastic staff and wonderful community have earned this recognition from Ofsted in our school’s first inspection. Our vision was to create a school for the community, where children love learning and thrive. This report is an important step on our continuing journey as we establish ourselves as a beacon of excellence in our community and within our Trust.”
Mark Lacey, chief executive of the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust, said: “What Mr Martindale and everyone at St Peter’s has achieved in the last four and half years has been nothing short of phenomenal. They have turned every challenge into an opportunity and have earned the trust of families and stakeholders as they have established a strong church school for their community, where children can flourish in every way.
“Our aim is for the children in our academies to become mature and confident learners within the context of our Christian ethos – St Peter’s is certainly delivering that and we are immensely proud of all they have achieved.”