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Headteacher Jim McCall, Deputy Headteacher Tamar Warner, Chair of Governors Major Yvonne Rouffet

and children at St John and St Francis Church School

A place where ‘staff bring the curriculum to life’ – praise for Bridgwater primary as inspectors deliver verdict of ‘Good’

A Bridgwater primary has been praised in all areas of school life by Ofsted inspectors who described it as a place where staff ‘bring the curriculum to life for pupils in imaginative ways’..

St John and St Francis Church School was rated ‘Good’ by the inspection team for the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and early years provision.

The report said St John and St Francis was a school and where children have positive attitudes to both the school and learning and where they ‘learn to lead respectful lives’.

The school, led by headteacher Jim McCall who joined in 2021, has 406 pupils on the roll and has seen a dramatic improvement since its last inspection in 2019.

The inspectors said: “Since the previous inspection, leaders have improved the school in many respects. Staff and parents recognise this. They value leaders’ openness and integrity. Leaders are considerate of staff wellbeing and mindful of how their decisions impact upon staff workload. Governors know the school, its curriculum, staff and pupils well. They draw everyone together around their vision for the school, based on Christian values.

“Pupils have positive attitudes to school and their learning. They concentrate well in their lessons.”

The inspectors also noted that the staff play an important role in supporting families, especially those in most need.

The report said: “Vulnerable families receive timely support. Leaders are strong advocates for pupils and their parents. They are mindful of pupils’ needs in the event of any gaps or delays in the support they receive from external agencies.”

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Leaders have prioritised the development of the curriculum and sustained their focus on this over several years. As a result, in each subject, the curriculum is well designed.
  • Leaders ensure that all pupils take on a position of responsibility before they leave the school. For example, older pupils look out for vulnerable pupils in the playground. They help them to join in with games and make new friends.
  • Staff work together to make sure that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) learn the same detailed knowledge as everyone else.

Pupils’ confidence grows as a result.

  • Staff bring the curriculum to life for pupils in imaginative ways. The Reception Year children recently returned from a virtual trip to Africa. Older pupils venture out to museums and landmarks across Somerset. There is an array of clubs for pupils to choose from.

There was also praise for the way the key subjects of English and maths are taught in the school. And the inspectors, having spoken to pupils, stressed that children treat one another with respect and forgiveness, noting that bullying is rare and if it does happen, it is quickly dealt with.

Mr McCall said: “Our whole ‘community here at St John and St Francis is delighted with this inspection report, which reflects the hard work done by our staff at a time when we are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

“I was especially pleased to see that our work with families was praised because this is a key part of what we are all about.

“Working together is at the heart of what we do – children, families, staff, our governors and the support we get from the Bath and Wells Multi Academy Trust.

“Of course we do not plan to stand still – we are considering the report closely, will build on our strengths and seek to improve in all areas.”

Bath and Wells Multi Academy Trust Chair of Trustees Nigel Daniel said: “I am delighted that the progress in the school is recognised in this “Good” rating by Ofsted. Leaders and staff have worked extremely hard to achieve these improvements during the major disruptions of the Covid pandemic, going the extra mile in providing additional support to vulnerable families. Many congratulations and thanks to all Leaders and Staff.

“Our Trust is here to support the continued development of our schools and this will continue to further enhance the education provided to the children entrusted to our care.”