25 Nov 2021
St. Mary’s College has received a double seal of approval from inspectors from the UK’s national independent schools watchdog.
Following a recent compliance-only inspection, assessors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) say that St. Mary’s College fully meets all eight standards they have set, the best possible inspection outcome.
In addition, during their three-day visit the inspectors also carried out a more in-depth educational quality inspection of the school’s Bright Sparks & Early Years Department and have given it the highest possible ‘outstanding’ grading.
The verdict on the whole school covered key areas such as the quality of education, the moral and social development of pupils, premises and accommodation, health and safety, leadership and the suitability of staff.
St. Mary’s Principal, Mike Kennedy, said: “We’re very pleased with the assessment we have received for the school as a whole.
“The inspectors were impressed with everything they saw and all the students that they met. They clearly recognised the many strengths of the school which is very encouraging.”
Meanwhile, the ISI assessment of the Early Years Department follows a full educational quality inspection which reports on subjects in much greater depth.
St. Mary’s Bright Sparks & Early Years Department was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in terms of its overall effectiveness, the quality of education, the behaviour and attitudes of children, the personal development of the children and the department’s leadership and management.
Amongst many complimentary remarks inspectors say that Bright Sparks staff are ‘highly effective in their planning and designing of the curriculum which meets the unique needs and interests of each child’.
In addition, ‘practitioners forge excellent relationships with all children. They interact enthusiastically with them, enabling them to learn and develop extremely well.”
Overall the ISI inspectors say that ‘all children make excellent progress in their learning and development relative to their starting points’.
As a result ‘they are extremely well prepared for the next stage of their education, moving to the next class with great excitement.”
St. Mary’s Head of Early Years, Alice Haigh, said: “We’re obviously delighted with this ‘outstanding’ assessment which is a tribute to the hard work and commitment of the early years staff team.
“Bright Sparks has received consistently high praise from ISI and Ofsted inspectors over the years, and this is yet another feather in our cap.”
St. Mary’s College, founded in 1919, caters for boys and girls of all faiths aged 0-18 and has seen a significant rise in pupil numbers in recent years. The school currently has 789 pupils on roll across four departments – early years, juniors, seniors and sixth form.