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St Helena School staff and students celebrate Good Ofsted grade

St Helena School staff and students celebrate Good Ofsted grade
March 15, 2024 Dave Gooderham

A Colchester secondary school is celebrating after achieving a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating – including the top grade of ‘Outstanding’ for its leadership and management.

An ambitious and varied curriculum, kind and respectful students and a strong focus on reading were among the highlights from the recent inspection at St Helena School.

Charlie McCarthy, Head of School, said the report reflected the hard work of the entire school community.

He added: “St Helena is a very special place where everyone wants the very best for our students. It was so good that our visitors recognised the positive behaviour, attitudes and attendance of our students, the great teaching and learning they experience and the fantastic leadership at all levels that helps this to happen.

“We see all those things here every day. I’m very proud of all our students and staff and very grateful to parents, governors and the team at The Sigma Trust for their amazing support.”

The inspectors noted that the school’s values of “aspire, believe and achieve” sat behind every decision the school made to ensure all students succeed.

Staff and students also came in for high praise with the report noting: “Pupils of all backgrounds are accepted into the school community. Pupils here are kind and respectful. Pupils value the warm and positive relationships they develop with their teachers. This helps them feel safe.

“Staff have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour and the attitudes they show towards their learning. This creates a calm and purposeful atmosphere across the school.

“The school has clear expectations for pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around the school. Staff implement the school’s approaches to behaviour consistently. As a result, pupils’ behaviour is positive and focused on learning.”

Following the two-day inspection in January, St Helena School came in for praise for designing a “well-constructed, ambitious and varied curriculum”.

The report added: “Reading sits at the heart of the curriculum. Pupils are expected to read regularly across subjects. The school has a robust approach to identifying and supporting pupils who struggle to read. This helps them to learn to read well.”

Fiona Pierson, Executive Headteacher, said: “St Helena School has continued on its journey of school improvement over the last five years.

“Despite all of the turbulence and instability caused by Covid and subsequent periods of school closure and then school operations being very different for our young people, the school has maintained its clear vision of what success looks like.

“We will continue to adapt to the ever-changing societal landscape that surrounds a school to make sure our community and young people have the very best opportunity to be safe and successful in their next endeavours.”