Top marks for ‘vibrant’ school

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A ‘welcoming and inclusive’ Catholic school has received top marks following a church inspection.

St Mary Magdalene Catholic Primary School, in Hastings Road, underwent a denominational inspection by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton and was rated ‘outstanding’. In her report, lead inspector Ann Oddy stated: “St Mary Magdalene’s is a welcoming and inclusive school offering pupils a rich and vibrant educational experience firmly rooted in its Catholic ethos. The school community embraces and nurtures all within it.”

Mrs Oddy described the relationships between staff, parents and pupils as ‘excellent’ and praised the behaviour of pupils as ‘exemplary’.

Head teacher Véronique Vanderschelden said: “The entire report was a pleasure to read and we are all absolutely thrilled.”

She added: “This success is the result of our staff and children’s hard work and commitment, our governors’ relentless dedication and our parents’ valuable support.

“Together, we have created a very special place. We are very proud of our wonderful achievements and we will do our very best, as a Catholic community, to continue to flourish.”

The denominational inspection followed hot on the heels of an Ofsted inspection, which saw St Mary Magdalene’s rated ‘good’ and showing ‘clear improvements’.

When it came to the standard of teaching and learning in religious education, Mrs Oddy rated the school ‘good’ and said teachers showed good subject knowledge, while pupils made good progress within the lesson.

She added: “The school should now consider increased levels of challenge, particularly for more able pupils, to deepen understanding and raise attainment.”

Sylvia Cousins, chairman of governors, said the findings in Mrs Oddy’s report reflected ‘the whole ethos of St Mary Magdalene’s, where the warmth and community spirit are so much in evidence’.

She added: “The staff lead by example and have worked so hard to create our welcoming, prayerful and purposeful atmosphere.

“Together we can celebrate the inspectors’ recognition that our Catholic Life, Collective Worship and RE provision reach consistently high standards.”

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