St Nicholas CE Primary School based in East Challow near Wantage, and a member of the local Vale Academy Trust, is celebrating having secured a “Good” rating overall following its recent SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) Inspection that took place a few weeks before the summer break. The leadership and management aspect of the school was graded as “Outstanding”.
The contribution of all involved in this success was noted by inspector Sandra Symms when she stated in her report “The vision, passion and drive of the Headteacher, supported by staff, governors and the Vale Academy Trust (VAT), promotes an inclusive Christian ethos and a nurturing school community where everyone feels valued and respected”.
St Nicholas currently has 94 pupils on roll and joined the VAT in October 2014, shortly after which Andrew Browne was appointed as Headteacher.
Ms Symms highlighted many positives, describing the school as an “inclusive, caring community” and observed that “the school’s values, closely linked to a growth mindset when pupils adopt a “can do” attitude, inspire pupils to work hard”. Improving attendance was noted as a key focus, with any issues “dealt with in a supportive, caring way so that pupils can attend regularly, meet their goals and enjoy life in all its fullness”.
Behaviour and relationships between all members of the school community were identified as good, with mutual support between the school’s leaders and the VAT resulting in a cohesive team committed to the Christian ethos of the school.
Accurate self-evaluation was noted as a key strength, along with “a determined focus on raising standards, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.”
Ms Symms reported that parents and family members value the sense of community and appreciate the inclusive, supportive and approachable staff who model the school values.
Chair of the school’s Local Governing Body, Philip Harrison, commented: “We are obviously delighted with the outcome of this report which we believe is an accurate reflection of our wonderful school, our children and parents, our staff and our very supportive community. Our priests John Durant and Alec Gill and the hugely popular Open the Book team from St Nicholas Church play an important part in the life of the school and we are lucky to enjoy the energy they bring to sharing the Bible stories with us”.
The inspector pointed to how the school might improve even further with more quality experiences so that pupils can develop their spirituality and express their thoughts in more depth, including opportunities for pupils to plan and lead worship and developing their understanding of Christianity as a multi-cultural world faith.