St Wilfrid’s School has been rated ‘outstanding’ following a denominational inspection by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
Dr John Lydon spent two days in October inspecting the faith side of the school, in Southgate, before giving it top marks across the board.
In his report, Dr Lydon praised the sense of community at St Wilfrid’s, which saw that every person was valued and treated “with dignity and respect”.
He added: “The leadership team, staff and students are committed totally to an inclusive approach to every member of the school community, regardless of religious belief. This was highlighted as a significant strength by parents and students.”
Dr Lydon’s findings were reflected in the behaviour of the students, which was described as “exemplary at all times”. He said: “They are alert to the needs of others and seek justice for all within and beyond the school community.”
The teaching of religious education was seen to be ‘good’, with some students showing “exceptional” knowledge. Dr Lydon said: “Students generally enjoy religious education lessons and told inspectors that they appreciate the opportunity to explore Christianity and other religious beliefs as they develop their own personal convictions.”
Headteacher Michael Ferry said of the report: “It’s an indication of all the work we’ve been doing over a number of years. It’s nice when some one comes along and gives you a pat on the back.” Mr Ferry said he and his team believed in the development of the whole child – both spiritual and academical – adding: “We want them to leave school and go out into society, stand up to injustice, put the needs of society first rather than the needs of themselves.”
Pastoral care was described as “a significant strength”, with several parents praising the team for “going the extra mile” to support their children.
When it came to further improvements, Dr Lydon called for more recruitment and retention of Catholic RE teachers and for the development of teaching strategies to increase student engagement.
Mr Ferry said: “I am so proud of the children and the staff and so privileged to be headteacher at St Wilfrid’s.”