A primary school where only 20 per cent of pupils speak English as their first language has been named the best in the country at a national teaching awards.
The native tongues of children at St Mary’s C of E Primary in Moss Side, Manchester, include Arabic, Kurdish, Urdu and Somali.
Other languages spoken at the inner-city school are Dutch, French, Polish, Lithuanian and Wolof – a regional language spoken in Senegal and The Gambia.
And around 80 per cent of the children come from very low-income families, qualifying them for free school meals.
Achievers: Despite the fact that only one in five pupils speak English as their first language, St Mary’s C of E Primary in Moss Side, Manchester, has been named Primary of the Year
Headteacher Jenny McGarry said she was ‘absolutely over the moon’ to have won the award
But despite the fact that only one in five pupils speak English as their first language, the school in the notorious estate has been named Primary of the Year at at the Times Education Supplement (TES) School Awards.
St Mary’s was commended for its ‘amazing’ attempt to raise pupils’ aspirations.
The primary, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is in the top 2 per cent in the country for improving pupils’ reading and the top 7 per cent for improvements in maths. And this is not the first time it has been recognised for its achievements.
Last year St Mary’s won the TES community and enterprise award for helping unemployed parents find job placements.
The primary, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, is in the top 2 per cent in the country for improving pupils’ reading and the top 7 per cent for improvements in maths
It also runs a scheme to help provide chaperones for children as they walk to school in the morning, to ensure that parents can get in to work on time.
Headteacher Jenny McGarry said she was ‘absolutely over the moon’ to have won the award, adding: ‘It is really, really nice to have that recognition for everybody who works here day in, day out helping the children make this progress.
‘It shows that Moss Side is a great place to live and a great place to go to school. It also challenges the idea that children from this area are less likely to achieve.’
A file picture of Moss Side in Manchester, the deprived area the school is located in
The headteacher said the award ‘challenges the idea that children from this area are less likely to achieve’
Staff at the 427-pupil school were presented with the award at a ceremony in London. They said that the secret to their success was encouraging pupils to have a ‘will do’ rather than a ‘can do’ attitude.
And Mrs McGarry went on to reveal her top five tips for boosting pupils’ progress. She said: ‘Have high expectations, make sure these are delivered by outstanding staff, encourage really positive behaviour, engage with parents and the community to develop the whole child and seize every opportunity to enhance pupils’ learning.’
Judges at the TES awards ceremony said: ‘This is an amazing school which has an amazing record of achievement in incredibly difficult circumstances.
‘Their can-do approach to achievement is an inspiration.’