Updated: Sunday, 29th March 2020 @ 7:27am

‘Our failures will never be repeated’: Stockport school overcomes nightmare inspection with glowing Ofsted report

‘Our failures will never be repeated’: Stockport school overcomes nightmare inspection with glowing Ofsted report

By Edward Roberts

A Stockport school blasted for their ‘inadequate’ teaching and poor attendance levels in 2011 have turned it around with a glowing Ofsted report praising the head teacher for his ‘pivotal leadership’.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School on Etchells Street has promptly recovered from the December 2011 report and now holds a ‘good’ rating after their latest Ofsted inspection.

Head teacher Dominic Mulcahy is thrilled with the results but has vowed that the improvements are only a sign of things to come.

Mr Mulcahy said: “We’re only going to be satisfied when we achieve outstanding.

“Our failures will never be repeated, we’re only going in one direction now and that’s up.”

Mr Mulcahy from Levenshulme, was appointed to the post last September after the school failed to produce any immediate developments following the report.

A former head of five different schools, he was originally assigned to the role for one term but opted to become permanent.

Since being assigned to position, as well as enhancing the schools rating, the number of pupils has also risen by 16%.

Mr Mulcahy says his recipe for success comes down to three factors:  the strengthening of vision, relationships and environment.

“What we do now is recognise potential and help people believe in themselves,” he said.

“By having faith in people we’ve given the staff and pupils a new confidence.

“There’s a real buzz now and the place feels alive.

“In the past, for whatever reason, there was a misdirection and the children weren’t learning.

“The school was a blank canvas waiting for a masterpiece, and now we’ve started again and our masterpiece is in progress.”

The latest Ofsted report was based on a series of inspections where classes were observed, attendance was monitored, and progression was analysed.

One of the most promising results was that attendance has risen to the point where it is now in line with the national average.

Lead inspector Jane Austin said: "The headteacher’s dynamic leadership has been pivotal in driving the school’s rapid improvement this year.

"Achievement is good. Pupils’ progress has accelerated considerably and their attainment has risen. This is because the quality of teaching has improved.

"Exciting topics, drawing on several subjects, have increased pupils’ enjoyment of learning. Consequently, they are enthusiastic about school life and behave well. Their attendance has improved markedly."

Mr Mulcahy believes the schools new motto, ‘where we learn to love and love to learn,’ is the reason for this.

“We’re letting our pupils believe they can be anything – doctors, lawyers, footballers,” he said.

“We’ve incorporated dance, music and drama into the school environment and the pupils are really happy to come here everyday.”

Ofsted rules that a good school is ‘effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all its pupils’ and ‘prepares them for the next stage of their education, training or employment'.

Image courtesy of Simone Ramella via Flickr, with thanks.

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