Moston primary school named ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted report – just four years after being branded inadequate

By John McDougall

A remarkable turnaround has seen a Manchester primary school being awarded ‘outstanding’ in a recent Ofsted inspection – four years after inspectors said it was ‘inadequate’.

St Margaret Mary’s RC Primary School in New Moston now delivers teaching ‘outstanding in all key stages’ after it had been put in special measures following a 2009 inspection. 

Margaret Cunningham, executive head teacher of both St Margaret Mary’s and St Willibrord’s RC Primary School in Clayton, feels hard work and collectiveness is responsible for the transformation.  

“We are absolutely delighted with the outcome,” she told MM. “To move from special measures to this is wonderful.

“It is a great achievement for all our staff and children who have all worked so hard to make this happen.

“It will be a great boost for Manchester. This has been all about teamwork and it is through joint working that so much has been achieved.

“We were always determined to prove what a successful school looked like and it was a team effort that achieved this!”

Mrs Cunningham was appointed executive head teacher following the school’s placement under special measures and has overseen the changes.

Veronica Kirkpatrick, a Labour councillor for Charlestown, feels the news is positive for one of the area’s schools to experience such a turnaround in fortunes. 

“It is wonderful news to hear that it has been transformed into one of the best schools in Manchester,” she said. “The teachers, governors and parents deserve as much praise as they get.

“It is a really fantastic achievement in such a short space of time and is great for Charlestown.  I am sure the waiting list is going to be as long as your arm.”

In 2009, Ofsted inspector John Dunne reported exceptionally low standards in Key Stage One and Key Stage Two pupils underachieved partly due to teacher failings.

The school has since come on leaps and bounds, with pupils now achieving above the national average for reading, writing, English and mathematics.  

A previous report in 2010 upgraded the school to ‘satisfactory’, meaning the most recent inspection is the culmination of lengthy process.

For this inspection, pupils told the inspection team – comprising lead inspector James Kidd and colleagues David Deane and Juliet Demster – the pride they have in their rejuvenated school.

“We are very proud of our school because we always get chances to show what we can do,” they said.

“Our teachers are kind and look after us and our friends support us too. They make difficult work fun and give us things to do which make us think!”

In their report, Mr Kidd and his colleagues highlighted the progress made by the school and paid tribute to Mrs Cunningham’s influence in achieving this.

“Inspirational leadership from the executive head teacher has ensured that there has been marked improvement in all areas of school life since the previous inspection,” he said.

“Teachers plan work and activities in class which get the best out of their pupils. Pupils learn rapidly and with enjoyment.

“Pupils’ progress has improved significantly over the past three years and their attainment by the end of Year 6 is above average and, on occasions, well above.”

Picture courtesy of marsmet491, with thanks.

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