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National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report

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									              National Society Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Report

Withern St Margaret’s Church of England Voluntary Controlled Primary School
Main Road
Withern
Alford
Lincolnshire
LN13 0NB
Diocese: Lincoln
Local authority: Lincolnshire
Dates of inspection: 19 March 2009
Date of last inspection: 29 June 2006
School’s unique reference number: 120588
Headteacher: Mrs Valerie Buckeridge
Inspector’s name and number: Mrs Jackie Sheldrake 255

                                          School context
St Margaret’s Church of England Primary School is much smaller than average and serves
the village of Withern and surrounding area. The 59 pupils come from almost entirely white
British backgrounds with none speaking English as a second language. Withern has no
Anglican church and the school has no hall. The school benefits from a soft federation with
two small church schools in the villages of Aby and Saltfleetby.

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of St Margaret’s as a Church of England school
                                  are outstanding.
Christian values are evident and deeply rooted within every aspect of the life of the school. All
members of the school understand how their contributions and concern for the welfare of
others support this deeply caring and inclusive community.

                                      Established strengths
•     A strong Christian ethos informs and guides the values daily lived out in the life of the
      school.
•     The outstanding vision and inspiration of the headteacher guides and nurtures all
      stakeholders as they contribute to the developing life of the school.
•     Provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding.
•     Throughout the school relationships and pupil behaviour are outstanding.

                                      Focus for development
•     Ensure that the focal point for worship fully impacts on the experience of those present.
•     Realise development plan target for growing contact with other faith groups and wider
      global links.
•     Explore opportunities and provision for a child centred Communion service.
•     Investigate the possible provision of a space for worship where members of the school
      might meet with in prayer with the local Anglican community.

    The school, through its distinctive Christian character, is outstanding at meeting the
                                     needs of all learners.
This is a welcoming and inclusive school where pupils and staff enjoy outstanding
relationships. Within a deeply caring Christian ethos the provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral,
social and cultural development is outstanding and pupils demonstrate high levels of
achievement in all of these areas. The Christian character of the school is clearly proclaimed
by the use made of Christian artefacts and by displays of pupils’ work on spiritual, moral and
religious themes. A happy family atmosphere pervades the school where members of staff
model shared values and where pupils clearly understand that they are valued and
cherished. Pupils readily offer their thoughts and feeling about issues that concern them and
all groups ably demonstrate their understanding of the need to care for each other, their
school environment and their community. Members of staff provide sensitive and effective
support for pupils enabling learners of all abilities to achieve well. Pupils are confident and at
ease with themselves, with each other and with the staff. Their behaviour is outstanding and
they make an excellent contribution to the life of the school. The religious education
curriculum and collective worship themes coupled with good teaching enable pupils to learn
about and from Christianity, other major world faiths and other cultures. Pupils from the
youngest to the oldest are able to reflect on these experiences and illustrate their
understanding through a variety of mediums. Pupils are able to express how cultural
enrichment opportunities, experienced both within the school and through visits, have
supported their understanding of local, national and worldwide communities. This was well
illustrated by pupils in Key Stage 2 following their recent visit to an inner city school serving a
mainly Hindu community. Pupils are given many opportunities that support their personal
development and well being. They speak with enthusiasm of the role of the school council
and of the wide range of clubs and activities available. These opportunities do much to
encourage confidence and a range of skills enabling learners to work with others outside their
classroom setting. Pupils are proud of their school. They and their parents value the warm
family atmosphere where members of the community are welcomed and where dedicated
voluntary helpers add much to the richness of school life.

       The impact of collective worship on the school community is outstanding.
Collective worship makes an outstanding contribution to the spiritual and moral development
of pupils. It is highly valued and central to the life of this school. All members of the school
attend and contribute to daily worship. Pupils show very good attitudes and a mature ability to
reflect and gain meaning from their experiences. This was well illustrated during the worship
observed where learners of all ages took great interest in the sensitive and capable delivery
of worship organised and led by Year 5 and Year 6 pupils. Through skilful questioning
members of staff encouraged thoughtful reflection and further extended pupils’ understanding
of the values and issues portrayed. Prayer is an important feature of worship at the school
and pupils of all ages and abilities are able to offer their own thoughtful and unprompted
prayers. Pupils confidently use Anglican responses and know the Lord’s Prayer. Worship
takes place within a classroom where an atmosphere of reverence and praise pervades. A
focal point is used but it lacks prominence and its impact on those present is limited. Worship
is carefully planned and follows the termly theme. Consideration is given to the social and
emotional aspects of learning (SEAL) framework, the church calendar and stories, festivals
and celebrations from other major world faiths and cultures. Each act of worship builds on the
weekly focus ensuring meaningful experience for those present. Pupils’ understanding of
Anglican worship is further supported through regular contributions to worship made by the
parish priest. Since her arrival increasing links have been enabled with the local Anglican
community. The school wishes to broaden the pupils’ experience and understanding of
Anglican worship and now seeks to explore opportunities for a child centred Communion
service and to provide a space for worship which might then be shared with the local
Anglican community. The school has a long standing association with worshippers at the
village Methodist Chapel. Here the school is welcomed as it celebrates major Christian
festivals and times of school celebration. Despite the lack of a dedicated area within school
for worship parents have an open invitation to attend. They speak highly of the impact of
worship on their children and of the welcome they receive within the friendly atmosphere of
the school. As part of the school’s self evaluation process pupils, staff and parents are
encouraged to suggest areas for development for worship and other aspects of school life at
the monthly open meetings.

The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school
                                    is outstanding.
The headteacher’s clear and vibrant Christian vision and her commitment for the school are
outstanding. Her role in the ongoing development and success of the school is considerable.
She works in partnership with staff and governors inspiring and encouraging all to realise
their shared vision for the school. This close team work very well together and their ability to
meet the needs of the pupils has been further extended through the school’s soft federation
with church schools in Aby and Saltfleetby. The three schools have enjoyed a number of
combined development opportunities and have shared in worship. Through a joint school
development plan St Margaret’s and its partner schools seek to enlarge links with other faith
groups and to provide stimulus for global links. Foundation governors have a good
understanding of how far the Christian foundation of the school impacts on its ethos. They
together with fellow governors have ensured that the work of the school as a church school is
monitored and evaluated. The development areas of the previous denominational inspection
have been addressed and the school has received good support from the diocesan education
team. The work of the school council ensures that pupils play an active and meaningful part
in the life of the school. This group showed mature judgement when involved in the
recruitment process of the recently appointment caretaker. Parents and members of the local
community are very supportive of the school as is the Bishop’s Visitor. They speak highly of
the school’s family atmosphere and of how their views are both sought and valued. The
school seeks to be at the heart of the local community and this is evident in many areas of
school life where pupils make an outstanding contribution to their own and others lives. The
school receives good support from both local Anglican and Methodist communities and has
extensive links with local schools, colleges and outside agencies.
SIAS report March 2009 Withern St Margaret’s Church of England Primary School, Withern,
Lincolnshire LN13 0NB

								
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