Ofsted: St Joseph's is a happy school

March 03 2017

'ST Joseph’s is a lovely school with a playground full of happy smiling pupils' - that's the verdict of just one of the parents who told Ofsted inspectors how happy they are with the Fishponds primary.


'ST Joseph’s is a lovely school with a playground full of happy smiling pupils' - that's the verdict of just one of the parents who told Ofsted inspectors how happy they are with the Fishponds primary.

And it seems inspectors agree as they have just awarded the Catholic school a Good rating in a report which followed their visit back in January.

In a letter to headteacher Jackie McCarthy, inspector Jen Southall said: "You and your staff share the same goals and aspirations in order to provide the pupils with the very best all-round education. 

"Teachers have high expectations of each individual pupil and have a very deep understanding of pupils’ academic and emotional needs. Pupils receive a rich and varied curriculum which includes lots of opportunities for them to excel."

There was also praise for pupils who "behave very well and have a clear understanding of the differences between right and wrong."

The report revealed that children start St Joseph’s with skills below those expected for their age, especially in their communication, language and literacy skills, because many have little prior knowledge of the English language. 

"As a result of effective teaching children make good progress during their time in the early years," the report said.

"The proportion reaching a good level of development continues to improve and is now above the national average. Children achieve well above the national average in reading, writing and mathematics."

The report acknowledges that boys make better progress than girls in maths but says effective changes and support means that girls are now quickly catching up.

Disadvantaged pupils do well at St Josephs's and are on track to exceed national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics: "The effective support provided for disadvantaged pupils enables them to make better progress and catch up with other pupils in the school and nationally. 

"Many of these pupils have additional learning and emotional needs and you (the headteacher) ensure that these pupils are well supported through a range of different specialist teaching sessions and individual help."

School leaders and governors place the "highest priority" on the safeguarding of pupils with robust systems "rigorously implemented and adhered to by staff".

"Staff and governors receive high-quality safeguarding training to keep them informed of all types of risk to children, including female genital mutilation and child sexual exploitation. This training enables staff to quickly spot concerns and take rapid action with confidence.

You work closely with a range of agencies, and draw on their professional expertise, to ensure that your pupils are kept safe."

The report advised that leaders and governors should ensure that teachers "consistently provide the highest levels of challenge" so that the most able pupils make stronger progress.

They should also make sure that gaps in maths attainment between girls and boys continue to quickly close.

St Joseph's chair of governors, Bob Edwards, said: "The governors are delighted with the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection. The report is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Mrs McCarthy, all staff, parents, pupils and governors.

"The governing body along with the senior leadership team and the whole staff will continue to raise standards and achievement throughout the school."

Headteacher Jackie McCarthy said: "I am proud of the very high standards within the school and felt especially proud of the children, who were so keen to tell the inspector how much they love their school. 

"Inspections are an important snapshot of our work but it is the creativity, care and excellent teaching every day that makes a great school, and St Joe's is certainly a great school."

The school was previously inspected by Ofsted in May 2012 when it was also given a Good rating.