St James Church of England Primary School has received a glowing Ofsted rating, with the inspectorate judging it to be ‘Good’ across all areas.
Part of Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust (DMAT), the school was praised for its “caring ethos”, “calm and orderly atmosphere”, and the “strong” relationships between adults and pupils.
Following an inspection held on January 24 and 25 earlier this year, the result is a strong ‘good’ in the school’s first ever Ofsted report since it opened in 2018.
The excellent result is a true testament to the tremendous efforts of the executive principal Suzie Stevens, associate principal Geraldine Carter, their entire team of dedicated colleagues, and the wider school community.
Together, their commitment has been vital in securing this positive report. While “adults love working at St James,” and “greatly admire and respect the leadership of the executive principal,” pupils are “kind”, “understand the importance of respect when discussing religions, life choices, and different family models,” and “show positive attitudes to their learning, and achieve well.”The report also concluded that:
School leaders place a “high priority on pupils’ personal development,” and thanks to their strong relationship with students, can “quickly spot any changes in their well-being and take swift action.”
There are “a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer, which include sports, drama and music.”
Leaders are “ambitious for the children and pupils at [the] school”, and have developed a curriculum which “provides pupils, including those with SEND, with the knowledge they need to succeed in life.”
Staff “have a sharp focus on developing children’s language and communication,” with students able to “confidently practise saying and writing the sounds they are learning.”
As part of a push on reading, adults “bring texts alive by acting out familiar stories.” The report concludes “this inspires children to develop a love of reading.”
Thanks to a “strong safeguarding culture”, pupils “know that adults will listen to them if they have any worries or concerns.”
Inspectors received “a number of positive comments”, which include, “My child is happy and thriving at the school” and “Staff go above and beyond.”
The report has also outlined a number of constructive suggestions to help continue the school’s positive upwards trajectory, and school leaders across both the school and central trust are hard at work to implement these.
Geraldine Carter, associate principal at St James’ CofE Primary School, said:“I am hugely proud of everyone at the school for their role in achieving such a positive Ofsted rating. As the report shows, this really was a team effort – from students and staff through to school governors and the wider community – and I am so pleased that our school’s caring ethos and culture has been recognised in this way.
“We are, of course, not going to rest on our laurels, and will continue to proactively implement policies and structures which ensure we can continue this positive upwards trajectory.”
Dan Morrow, trust leader for Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, said: "This is a stunning result, and one which is richly deserved by the team at St James. Everyone involved in the school takes such care to create a nurturing, engaging environment, and I’m pleased that Ofsted has recognised this. I would also like to thank Suzie Stevens and Geraldine Carter for leading the school through such a challenging period. I look forward to seeing the school continue its positive journey, and the trust will continue its wholehearted support for this mission.”