Failing Catholic school turns around its fortunes in Sheffield

Pupils and headteacher Frank Barratt and deputy headteacher Delia Evans of St John Fisher Primary Catholic Acadmey are celebrating a good Ofsted report. Picture: Andrew Roe
Pupils and headteacher Frank Barratt and deputy headteacher Delia Evans of St John Fisher Primary Catholic Acadmey are celebrating a good Ofsted report. Picture: Andrew Roe
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The headteacher of a former failing school has praised the strong relationships which have turned around its fortunes.

St John Fisher Primary in Hackenthorpe, Sheffield, had been in special measures following a visit by inspectors in 2013.

But since becoming a voluntary Catholic-sponsored academy, it has steadily improved and was rated good after a visit by inspectors from Government watchdog Ofsted.

Headteacher Frank Barratt said: “Inspectors not only recognised where we are now, but also the incredible journey we have been on.

“I am pleased the report is positive about our wonderful children and recognises the contributions of everyone involved in earning us these fantastic judgements.”

Inspectors found teaching throughout the school is good and in Years 5 and 6 is outstanding.

Attainment by the end of Year 6 in reading, writing and maths is above average and disabled pupils and those will special educational needs make good progress,

Leadership and management are much improved and leaders have a clear and accurate view of where further improvements are needed.

Pupils are well behaved and concentrate, cooperate and work hard in lessons and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strongly promoted.

To improve further, inspectors advised more work must be done around writing, including introducing a systematic way of ensuring pupils develop their writing skills in other subjects.

Mr Barratt said: “For me, the part that I am most proud of is the line that says ‘relationships are very good in this happy school’.

“I believe that this has been core to our success because strong relationships make an ethos visible. Our Catholic ethos has underpinned each and every improvement.

“There has been nothing superficial about the strides we have made as a community. It has never been about ticking boxes. Each positive step forward has had depth and integrity.

“As a community, relationships are very good and together we have held on to an unshakeable belief in our will and capacity to bounce back strongly.”

He thanked Sheffield Council for and the Diocese of Hallam for their support.