“OUR children are gemstones that need polishing – our job is to make them shine.”
So says the headteacher of Christ the King Catholic Primary School in Bournemouth and her hopes for the children certainly seem to be paying off.
The Durdells Avenue school is brimming with happy youngsters, engaged in purposeful work and surrounded by opportunities not afforded to all.
With 348 pupils, it is one of the smaller primary schools in Bournemouth but, unlike many others, employs specialist music, PE and French teachers.
It has a nursery unit for three and four-year-olds and offers a fully inclusive education despite being a Roman Catholic school.
Christ the King is one of the schools expanding in Bournemouth to accommodate increasing numbers of primary age children.
Years 4, 5 and 6 have just one class each but there have been two forms of entry in other year groups, a pattern set to continue in the future.
A building project is due to get under way soon to ensure |state-of-the-art facilities are in place for the increasing numbers of children.
Headteacher Clare Tickel has been at the school for just over two years and large numbers of new staff have started since her appointment.
She said: “There is a real buzz and a sense of teamwork in the school.
“We work in a challenging area but the staff are 110 per cent committed to the children, their welfare and their learning.
“Our approach needs to be creative and innovative and the children here are wonderful – they have great personalities.”
The school runs a number of initiatives to help those facing challenges outside of the classroom, including a nurture group called Rainbows and a child bereavement programme.
“It is about supporting children so they are able to engage with their learning,” said Mrs Tickel. “If children feel secure emotionally they engage better.”
Children leave Christ the King with good standards of reading, writing and maths and move on to a variety of schools, mainly in Bournemouth.
Some continue the Roman Catholic education by attending St Peter’s, with others going mainly to the Bourne Academy and the Oak Academy at the LeAF campus. Some go to local grammar schools.
LATEST OFSTED INSPECTION: Overall rating: requires improvement
Inspectors said: “The school’s efforts to improve achievement are having a positive impact. Pupils in Year 1 are on track to do better than in some previous performances in reaching or exceeding the expectations for their age in the annual reading check of their skills in phonics.
"Pupils were able to talk confidently to inspectors about their reading, and read with interest and fluency.”
“Pupils enjoy many lessons, but their learning is not always as good as it could be. Partly, this is because the activities pupils do in class are sometimes too easy, or pupils do not have enough time to complete the more difficult tasks because they begin them too late.
"This is the case in both English and mathematics lessons.
“Inadequate teaching has been eradicated and much teaching is now good. However, there are still inconsistencies, which is why the improving progress in reading, writing and mathematics is more evident in some year groups and classes than in others.
“Teachers do not always manage behaviour well, so that their pupils do not learn new skills and knowledge as effectively in lessons as they should.
“Leaders’ analysis of the school’s strengths and weaknesses is mostly accurate, although occasionally optimistic. They are focusing on the right areas for improvement and the headteacher is working to move the school forwards at a faster pace."