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Shining a light and opening doors

by Michael Ford last modified 26 Mar, 2019 04:48 PM

Swanage St Mark’s Primary has been graded Excellent in a recent school inspection.

The school’s Christian vision is based on the words of Jesus recorded in John 8:12 - “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

At St Mark’s, that light leads to core values of love, trust, respect and inspiration – values to open doors on the journey of life. The school aims to “drive learning through discovery and encouraging children to have high aspirations and hope for the light of life to fill them with knowledge and skills to lead fulfilling lives.”

SIAMS* Inspector Richard Wharton noted that “Leaders have infused the school with an unrelenting determination to fill pupils with the knowledge, skills and hopefulness to enable them to lead fulfilling lives.

“Teaching is carefully focused on the needs of individuals and, as a result of this, outcomes for learners are on an upward trend. In particular, the provision which the school makes to address the needs of its high proportion of disadvantaged pupils is exceptional.

“All recommendations from the previous inspection have been addressed.”

The school leadership has sought to embed the Christian vision at the heart of the school, and draw on this as the impetus for ensuring that all learners flourish. As a result, the impact of home liaison and nurture on pupils’ mental health and well-being is exceptional.

Pupils are able to articulate and draw on the school’s vision to guide them, and rigorous RE (Religious Education) is led and managed excellently, leading to a high standard of outcomes.

Collective Worship is underpinned by the school’s Christian vision, and pupils’ ability to draw on it as a profound source of hope and inspiration reflects the success of the leadership’s embedding of it.

The school’s Nurture Leader runs a social learning group during four afternoons each week to enable pupils to acquire social skills to be ready to learn. Activities have included gardening, an afternoon with Tim Peake, art therapy, drama therapy and family cookery.

The school aims to further develop and implement a systematic process for evaluating the impact of the school’s vision over time, to identify further areas for development, and to refine and deepen shared understanding of spirituality.

Swanage St Mark’s is a primary school with 169 pupils on roll. The majority of pupils are of White British heritage. Very few pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of pupils who are considered to be disadvantaged is above national averages. The proportion of pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities is above national averages.

The school is part of a Multi-Academy Trust, made up of three Church schools, and the Headteacher is currently the interim CEO of the trust.

www.stmarksswanage.dorset.sch.uk

*Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools

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