The challenge and support from St Mary & St Thomas’ School Committee, and through the way in which they hold leaders to account has supported leaders’ drive to sustain strong pupil achievement despite the impact of COVID. Although the end of KS2 assessments did not take place in 2020-21 due to Covid-19, standards at the end of KS2, as assessed by teachers, have not declined; 88% achieving the expected standard in Reading with 26% of those pupils achieving the higher standard, 82% in Writing with 15% of those pupils achieving the higher standard, 88% achieving the expected standard in Maths with 30% of those pupils achieving the higher standard.
The percentage of pupils achieving RWM combined was 81%. Pupils in all year groups have made strong rates of progress. At the end of key stage 1 standards in Reading and Maths have remained roughly in line with previous years despite the pandemic. 87% of Y2 achieved the expected standard in the Phonics Screening Check by the end of the year (of the 4 that did not attain the standard, 3 pupils were both PP and SEND). One is expected to achieve the standard in Y3 however given the complex SEND of the other 3 pupils it is unlikely they will attain the standard by the end of the academic year. In the external review that was carried out in May 2021, the reviewer reported:
The two-day external review in May 2021 highlighted the school’s high standards.
The reviewer recognised the role that the school committee also play in supporting leaders’ work to sustain high quality teaching and learning at St Mary & St Thomas. The shared sense of responsibility and accountability for all aspects of educational provision, including the effectiveness of the wider leadership of the school was acknowledged and praised. The strategic dialogue during School Committee meetings has ensured a relentless focus on school improvement, despite the global coronavirus pandemic.
Together with the senior leadership team of the school, the School Committee have protected pupils’ full educational entitlement whilst ensuring the health and safety of the community during the pandemic. They have regularly reviewed the Covid19 risk assessment which has involved critical thinking and debating ways to mitigate risk of transmission and engaging with parents/ carers and the wider school community. In addition to this they have had courageous conversations about the Recovery Strategy, challenging leaders to ensure our most vulnerable pupils (inc pupils in receipt of pupil premium and SEND pupils) performed in line with the pupils of a similar starting point. The School Committee have also monitored and evaluated the Catch-Up Premium strategy. The impact of which can be seen in the percentage of pupil who have made sustained progress, accelerated progress and achieved ARE as a result of catch up lessons, daily reading and participation in therapeutic intervention.
This year, there has been a strong focus on ensuring St Mary & St Thomas is fully inclusive by promoting equality and diversity. The School Committee have made a valuable contribution to upholding this ethos by pursuing clarity of vision and by agreeing the equality aims, objectives and scheme. They have shown curiosity and challenged the status quo to ensure the school fully equips children to gain an understanding of the world they are growing up in, and learn how to live alongside, and show respect for, a diverse range of people. The School Committee are committed to developing children’s understanding of the protected characteristics across the entire curriculum, including during PSHE and RSHE lessons. This was highlighted in the external review, the reviewer reported: