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Wrexham school buoyed by positive Estyn inspection report 

Pupils at St Mary's CIW School in Overton celebrate (pic: Acting Headteacher Darren Morris)

PUPILS and staff at a Wrexham primary school are celebrating a positive inspection report.

St Mary’s CIW school in Overton-On-Dee was visited by education inspectorate Estyn in March.

In an overview, the inspectors found the school to be “an inclusive and caring community where pupils work and play together confidently”.

The report states: “Staff focus well on pupils’ well-being, and this allows pupils to thrive in the school’s inclusive environment. Pupils say that they feel safe, secure, and happy in school. They know that adults in the school care for them and that they can turn to them when they face challenges or have difficulties.”

Good behaviour amongst pupils was also noted as well as the school ethos, having links to the local church but also teaching about other religions.

The report adds: “They (pupils) have a clear understanding of the concept of fairness, equality and tolerance, demonstrating an appropriate understanding of some of the ethical issues facing the world, such as the need to protect the environment. They are proud of their efforts in support of national and local charities such as the Wrexham food bank and Down Syndrome charity. “

As well as the quality of teaching, inspectors also noted the importance staff place on outdoor learning which includes the forest school.

Leadership at the school was also praised.

The report adds: “The acting headteacher and governors provide efficient and supportive leadership. Staff work well together and as a team they share responsibilities. As a result, there is an effective whole school ethos and sense of teamwork where staff feel valued for their contribution.

“The school is good at identifying the areas of its work that are most effective and those aspects that need to be improved.”

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One area the school could improve on according to the report is the development of Welsh language skills.

It states: “Overall, pupils do not make strong enough progress in developing their skills or have confidence in speaking Welsh in other areas of the curriculum and around the school.”

Three recommendations have been made to the school for the future which are to;

  • Strengthen provision for the development of pupils’ Welsh language skills.
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to make decisions about how they organise and present their work, and to decide for themselves how they respond to learning tasks.
  • Ensure that the quality of teachers’ feedback is focused on the next steps in pupils’ learning effectively.

The school will draw up an action plan to address the recommendations from the inspection.

Speaking about the findings of the report, acting Headteacher Darren Morris said: “We are all incredibly proud and feel the inspection team have written a report that perfectly sums up life at St Mary’s.

“It highlights the high-quality and creative learning experiences provided by all our committed and hard-working staff, rightfully acknowledging the whole team effort at the school.

“The report is a wonderfully positive reflection of everyone involved in our school and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff, pupils, governors, parents and members of the wider school community that help make St Mary’s such a special place.”

The Chair of Governors, Angharad Veneklaas-Slots added: ‘’St Mary’s is an inspiring learning environment where pupils and their families form strong bonds with the school and its staff, and often maintain those relationships even after the children have moved on to high school and beyond.

“As governors we feel our school is a truly special place and we are delighted that Estyn agrees.”

The full report is available online on The Estyn website and the school is holding an open day on June 9.