School’s religious life is outstanding

Celebration time - St Norbert's pupils in the new Our Lady's Garden with RE subject leader Sharon Whitwell and headteacher Louise Yarnell. SG140415-158TW
Celebration time - St Norbert's pupils in the new Our Lady's Garden with RE subject leader Sharon Whitwell and headteacher Louise Yarnell. SG140415-158TW

A Spalding school has climbed to the top rank of outstanding for the overall effectiveness of its religious life.

Inspectors from the Nottingham Roman Catholic Diocesan Education Service concluded that St Norbert’s Catholic Primary School in Tollgate had leapt two categories – from satisfactory to outstanding – since the last inspection in 2009.

We are obviously over the moon with it, really pleased, and hopefully it gives us a good benchmark for going into our next Ofsted inspection.

Headteacher Louise Yarnell

The school – where more than six out of every ten pupils have English as an additional language – now hopes the verdict will pave the way for more great news when Ofsted carries out an inspection to measure the more wide-ranging educational achievements.

St Norbert’s headteacher Louise Yarnell said: “We are obviously over the moon with it, really pleased, and hopefully it gives us a good benchmark for going into our next Ofsted inspection.

“Obviously I am delighted for the pupils, staff and governors that it is recognising all of their hard work and commitment to Catholic education.”

Mrs Yarnell, who became head at St Norbert’s in 2011 after two years as deputy head, says the great thing about her school is that everyone cares about every child reaching their full potential – and that “inclusivity permeates through everything we do”.

She says in the current St Norbert’s cohort, some 67 per cent of pupils have English as an additional language and, with all lessons taught in English, that further reflects on the quality of teaching by the dedicated staff.

The Diocesan Education Service described both the school’s Catholic life and collective worship as outstanding – and its religious education as good.

The report says: “The quality of the Catholic life of the school is outstanding and permeates everything that happens in the school reflecting both Gospel values and Catholic social teaching to the highest standard.

“The quality of collective worship is outstanding and is now a strength of the school.

“Pupils show respect and participate wholeheartedly in all forms of prayer and collective worship.

“The quality of religious education is good. Most pupils make good progress given their starting points and time in the school.

“Some pupils make accelerated progress due to outstanding teaching and support.”

News of the school’s outstanding performance in the Diocesan inspection was posted on the St Norbert’s website, along with a copy of the complete report.

Mrs Yarnell described the mood in the school as “very, very happy”.

She said: “We have been waiting for this for quite a long time.

“It kind of recognises all of the hard work the children and the staff have been putting in towards this for quite a while.”