Sun, 17 Mar 2019
A WEST Berkshire primary school has been ranked in the top one per cent of all primaries in the country.
Education secretary Damian Hinds has sent a letter of congratulations to Nuala Oster, the headteacher at St Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Tilehurst, to praise her for the exceptional Key Stage 2 achievements.
In the letter, Mr Hinds commended the school’s SATS results, in which 100 per cent of children reached or surpassed the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2.
St Paul’s was also crowned the best primary school in Berkshire in a new guide.
The Real Schools Guide 2019, compiled by publisher Reach, aims to provide a comprehensive picture of how schools are rated locally, which analyses Key Stage 2 results, progress, pupil-teacher ratios and absence rates.
St Paul’s topped both the West Berkshire table of schools and the county table overall.
Mrs Oster joined the school’s teaching staff in a part-time role nearly two decades ago.
She became acting headteacher in January 2014 and was officially appointed headteacher in July the same year, taking over from long-standing head Julia Feeney.
Speaking about the success of her school, Mrs Oster said: “When we received the letter from the Secretary of State, we sent a personal letter of congratulations to all those children in last year’s Year 6 to say well done for all their hard work.
“It’s the senior leadership team that have really grown and blossomed, but everybody works together.
“It seems like an awful cliché, but we really are just one big happy family – I’m so proud and delighted for the staff and the pupils.”
Mrs Oster also pointed to several pupil-led initiatives which she said played a big part in the school’s successful learning environment.
This included the school’s ‘Mini Vinnie’ volunteers – Year 5 pupils who regularly fundraise for the Churches in Reading Drop in Centre (CIRDIC) and Reading homelessness charity Launchpad, as well as organising regular liturgies.
Another of the school’s outreach ventures involves Year 2 children who spend time with older residents at regular ‘Knit and Natter’ sessions at Pegasus Court care home near the City Road school.
St Paul’s is also a designated ‘teaching school’ – which means it works with others to provide high-quality training, development and support to new and experienced school staff.
Elsewhere in The Real School’s Guide, Theale Primary School was ranked in second place while Enborne Primary School was rated third-best in the district.
Of the top 10, seven are Church of England schools, and St Paul’s, Tilehurst, and St Finian’s, Cold Ash, are Roman Catholic.
Robert Sandilands Primary School in Speen was the only non-denominational school to feature in the top 10, coming fifth in the rankings.