Our Lady and St Philomena's Catholic Primary School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Our Lady and St Philomena's Catholic Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.olasp.co.uk

33OUR LADY AND ST PHILOMENA’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
The school’s teaching staff
Situated on the Sparrow Hall estate, Fazakerley, Liverpool,
Our Lady and St Philomena’s Catholic Primary School serves
the local area and offers a very diverse school community.
Striving to nurture its children with a unique set of values
achieved through strong leadership, the school provides a
welcoming learning environment allowing pupils to acquire high
standards of knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of
the curriculum.Executive head teacher Anne Radford discusses
how she and her staff have delivered a sea change in the quality
of education provided for pupils.
Our school has 204 pupils, with a capacity of 210, aged from 3 up to 11, with
22 in our nursery. We work closely with the local community, especially School
Improvement Liverpool, the Archdiocese of Liverpool and our local parish
community. Having been rated “good” by Ofsted in July 2017, our school has
seen marked improvements in performance. With our commitment to a balanced
curriculum and a strong, inclusive leadership shared between staff, our marked
progress is reflected in the fact that we have consistently improved on past Ofsted
ratings, with “requires improvement” and “inadequate” Ofsted ratings afforded to
the school in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
Obstacles
Before I became executive head teacher at the end of September 2015, the school
had numerous intractable problems. With high rates of student absenteeism, poor
safeguarding and special measures in place, both my staff and I had a colossal
REPORT CARD
OUR LADY AND ST PHILOMENA’S
CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Executive head teacher:
Anne Radford
»Founded in 1942
»Based in Fazakerley, Liverpool
»Type of school: Catholic
primary school
»No. of pupils: 208
»Ofsted: “Good”
Our Lady and St Philomena’s
Catholic Primary School
The school journey is one
ofsuccess
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | OUR LADY AND ST PHILOMENA’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL
task in front of us. The behaviour
of the pupils was unacceptable, the
curriculum was poor, the school
grounds were unfit for children and
the buildings required significant
repair. Not only that, but the school,
being based in one of the most socially
deprived areas of the country, had a
high budget deficit. The curriculum
was short of the necessary funds and
the school environment as a whole
was in dire straits. Aiming to redress
many of these issues and give children
the education that they deserve has
been one of my biggest motives for
taking up this post.
Various school reports show the
extent of the crucibles that the school
faced. Indeed, in the school’s 2014
report the school was advised to take
urgent steps to improve the quality
of teaching throughout the school so
that it was at least “good”, to raise
standards for all groups of pupils in
all key stages and to make good or
better progress by ensuring that the
basic skills in reading, writing and
mathematics were taught consistently
well in all classes. Moreover, the
school was urged to raise teachers’
expectations regarding the progress
pupils should make, especially for
disadvantaged pupils. The school
was also advised to improve the
effectiveness of leadership and
management at all levels, including
governance, and improve pupils’
behaviour, safety and attendance. One
of the salient features of the Ofsted
report centred on leadership. In fact,
it was urged that an external review
of governance be undertaken at the
school to assess how this aspect of
leadership and management may
beimproved.
Leadership
Realising the need to forge an effective
leadership within the new team of
staff at our school, a leadership with a
strong commitment to accountability,
high pace, trustworthiness, vision
and transparency has accomplished
much-needed changes to the quality
of our school environment. What
was needed of me and my team was
to show our children how valuable
it is to be driven and ambitious. This
is undoubtedly a backbone of the
leadership we have been championing.
What is more, we all work together to
engender a direction that the children
can follow. I have made sure that our
school’s staff have a clear, insightful
Children are prioritised
in the school
Surprisingly,
many have
been
flabbergasted
by the rate of
change in our
standards
since we
recalibrated
them
35OUR LADY AND ST PHILOMENA’S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
and accurate understanding of the
school’s strengths and weaknesses
while working closely as a team,
especially with the governors, to
develop an aspirational vision for
improvement. Our drive and effective
use of performance management and
carefully considered appointments
have led to considerable improvements
in the quality of our teaching.
Surprisingly, many have been
flabbergasted by the rate of
change in our standards since we
recalibrated them. After all, one of
the cornerstones of our team ethos
is that effective leadership provides
the capacity to translate vision into
reality. Fully aware of how saddled the
school was in previous years, children’s
expectations have deservedly risen,
meaning that staff and students alike
continue to expedite the school’s hard-
thought progress.
Our students are very proud of their
school and the opportunities it offers
them. Since September 2015, pupil
attendance has improved considerably.
Indeed, the number of pupils who
are persistently absent has dropped
like a stone and is now lower than
the national average. Our recent
Ofsted report noted that our pupils’
personal development and welfare is
at an outstanding level and their self-
esteem, confidence and aspirations
are promoted strongly, through a
wide range of opportunities, by our
caring staff who put our pupils first.
Through effective leadership and all
our concerted efforts, our staff have
ensured that all pupils, including those
who are disadvantaged, now make
good progress in a wide range of
subjects across our much-improved
curriculum. The proportion of pupils
attaining expected standards has
improved considerably and is now
rightfully above national average.
No stone has been left unturned in the
push for our school to be a bastion of
high-quality education. The tenacious
commitment of our staff has delivered
considerable improvement in the
quality of teaching. Placing the welfare
and achievement of pupils at the heart
of all that we do, we will continue
creating opportunities to celebrate the
uniqueness of every child and nurture
them through a stimulating and
enriching curriculum.
No stone has
been left
unturned in
the push for
our school to
be a bastion
of high-quality
education
Together making a
difference

www.olasp.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Our Lady and St Philomena's Catholic Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.