St Josephs Catholic Primary School, Moorthorpe

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 St Josephs Catholic Primary School, Moorthorpe is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

We strive to provide excellence
in all ways
A school community built
on relationships
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Moorthorpe,
the staff team are continually looking to build on their
successes while also planning for the future. A one-form
entry school in the small town of South Elmsall, South East
Wakefield, it caters to the needs of 208 children from nursery
to year 6. Headteacher, Luke Welsh, discusses the journey the
school has been on in recent years.
We became a Voluntary Academy in 2012, joining The Bishop Konstant Catholic
Academy Trust, following our “inadequate” Ofsted grading. I joined the team in
April 2014 and was proud to support an Ofsted grading of “good” in February
2017, as deputy headteacher. I was appointed headteacher in 2018, which
has allowed me to further direct all future change and now oversee further
improvements in our school’s journey.
In 2017, we were placed in the top one per cent of schools in reading and maths
at the end of Key Stage 2, particularly impressive given our position five years
prior. Furthermore, in 2019 St Joseph’s was the fifteenth best-performing primary
school in Wakefield for Key Stage 2 combined outcomes, with well above-average
progress in reading and maths. We are confident in our ability to continue this
positive journey into future years and remain committed to ensuring all children
make the best possible progress at St Joseph’s.
What you do and the way you do it
Within our school, 40 per cent of our pupils have English as an additional
language, predominantly Eastern European. We operate within an area of
»Headteacher:Luke Welsh
»Founded in 1912
»Location: South Elmsall, South
East Wakefield
»Type of school: One-form
entry Catholic primary
academy, from 2012
»No. of students: 208
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary
School, Moorthorpe
Highlighting best practice
significant deprivation – our school
is ranked 79 out of 114 schools
in Wakefield on the Income
Deprivation Affecting Children
Index – and therefore we face
We are a Catholic school, which
is reflected in our mission, placing
Christ at the centre of all that we do.
Each and every decision we make is
done with our children at its heart,
and we tailor our education as such.
We are proud to act as a shining
beacon in Wakefield, and an increase
in admission numbers over recent
years reflects the mutually beneficial
relationship between our school and
the community it operates within.
We are an outward-facing school and
believe it is important to act as part
of a team. In recent years we have
supported a school that was also
subject to special measures.
Attending and attaining
We hope to teach our children that life
is not all about attainment. While we
are proud of our successes in reading,
writing and maths, with 81 per cent
combined by the end of Key Stage 2,
we want to recognise the importance
of the whole child. We believe that we
are all made in the image and likeness
of God, and therefore it is our role to
use our gifts and talents that we have
been blessed with.
Our recent focus has been on
school attendance. In 2017, we
saw persistent absenteeism rise to
21 per cent, significantly above the
national average. From September the
following year, we set about radically
reviewing our approach to attendance,
working collaboratively with schools in
the local authority.
Now, if children attend school every
day, they are rewarded with a visit
to the SJM Attendance Shop where
they are able to select a gift or prize,
incentivising children to come to
school. Persistent absence reduced to
seven per cent, and for the first time
in many years, we met the national
average of 96 per cent for the whole
school end of year attendance. We
are proud to have met our target of
making improvements within a year,
and believe it is a credit to our families
and the children, as well as our staff.
Every day truly counts at
St Joseph’s!
In 2019
was the
fifteenth best-
primary school
in Wakefield
for Key Stage
2 combined
Recruiting challenges
The biggest challenge we face at
present is one of recruitment. We are
the most southern school within the
Catholic Diocese of Leeds, bordering
Doncaster and Barnsley. Our particular
geographical location has meant
we have struggled to recruit a high
calibre of teachers, and it continues
to be particularly difficult to find
Catholic teachers, as well as aspiring
We are fortunate that financial
challenges currently do not affect
us to the same extent they do other
schools and find that our staff are well
equipped to deal with any other issues
that face them.
Building on successes
In the future, we hope to continue to
perform as we are at present, providing
an incredible education, with our
children at the centre of all that we do.
Our current slogan – Building on our
successes… Planning for the future
– is instilled in all that we do, and we
believe it can be used as part of our
plan for the future too. We hope to
ensure that our pupils can learn and
grow in a way which encourages them
to develop as unique individuals.
We have never been a school that sits
still, and we are reflecting on the ways
in which we can effect change. While
we do appreciate the importance
of said change, we also understand
that there is little benefit to changing
for the sake of change. Therefore,
we provide due consideration to all
decisions we make, ensuring they
benefit pupils and parents alike,
with staff wellbeing underpinning all
decisions and processes.
Indeed, we work with our stakeholders
to establish the best way in which
our school can plan for the future.
Through continuously operating in a
way that may improve our curriculum,
we can consider how best to plan
for the future of teachers and pupils
at StJoseph’s. A continued balance
between academic and personal
excellence is an aspect of education
we hope to explore further in the
coming years, and we believe that our
present structure is an absolute asset to
delivering this. Ultimately, our ethos of
doing what we believe in, which is right
for our children, is how we are able to
sustain the future of ourschool.
Our current
slogan –
Building on
our successes
… Planning
for the future
– is instilled in
all that we do
Never underestimate the
power of quality first

This article was sponsored by St Josephs Catholic Primary School, Moorthorpe. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy