St Mary's R.C. Primary School praised by Estyn for being warm, caring and inclusive


St Mary's R.C. Primary School has received praise from Estyn for its warm, caring, and inclusive environment.

During a recent visit by Estyn the Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, inspectors shone light on the positive work taking place at the school, with highlights including:


A Vision of Excellence: Love, Grow, Believe, Achieve; St Mary's R.C. Primary School is commended for its warm, caring, and welcoming atmosphere, where the vision of 'Love, Grow, Believe, Achieve' permeates every aspect of school life. The report emphasises the strong relationships between staff and students, contributing to well-behaved students who are quick to settle and engage in their work.

Academic Progress and Support for all; The inspection acknowledges that most students, including those with English as an additional language (EAL) or additional learning needs (ALN), make strong progress in their learning during their time at the school. The development of basic skills by teachers is highlighted as a strength, with learning support staff playing a crucial role in aiding all students to access learning effectively.

Broad and Balanced Curriculum; The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum, providing diverse learning experiences for students. The report praises the purposeful planning of opportunities to develop oracy, reading, writing, and mathematics skills. However, recommendations are made to improve provision for numeracy and digital skills, and to offer more opportunities for students to make choices in their learning.

Leadership and Community Engagement; The school's leadership, led by the headteacher and supported by senior staff, ensures that teacher expectations are appropriate for all students, including vulnerable groups. The school is recognised for its integral role in the community, fostering successful partnerships between home, school, and parish.

Overall a positive report, the school will now address three recommendations from Estyn through the school's action plan;

  • Ensure that teaching challenges all pupils, including the more able, to develop their independent learning skills.
  • Improve provision for pupils to develop and apply their numeracy and digital skills.
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to make choices in their learning to develop a more engaging curriculum.

Reflecting on the report, Headteacher Claire Russell said: "We are very pleased with our report from Estyn which reflects the hard work of everyone in our school community. We are particularly pleased that Estyn have acknowledged that our school vision of ‘Love, Grow, Believe, Achieve' permeates everything we do at our school and that our pupils make strong progress in their learning.

"We are also delighted that they recognised that we provide highly effective levels of care, support and guidance to our children and their families."

The school's Chair of Governors, Robert Free added: "I am delighted that the care and hard work of our headteacher and all her staff, have been reflected in the report, that was recently completed by Estyn. We are very proud that the vision of excellence that we have for the school and our children, has been recognised by the inspectors."

Deputy Leader for Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "Estyn have recognised some of the great work taking place at St Mary's R.C Primary School, a richly diverse school which has a strong focus on its ethos and values of welcome, love and respect.

"It was pleasing to hear that a high-level care is provided to pupils and their families, helping to ensure that the school is a community where everyone is valued. This is recognised by parents who feel listened to and speak warmly of the relationships they have with the school.

"Staff, pupils and parents should feel proud of this achievement and will be supported to address the recommendations from Estyn to further enhance provision at the school. Well done."

At the time of inspection, St Mary's RC Primary School had 235 pupils on roll with 31.1% of pupils eligible for free school meals. 8.6% of pupils identified as having additional learning needs and 43.8% of pupils use English as an additional language.

Estyn has adopted a new approach to inspection in schools and Pupil Referral Units across Wales. Inspection reports will no longer include summative gradings (e.g. ‘Excellent', ‘Good' or ‘Adequate') and now focus on how well providers are helping a child to learn.

The new approach aligns with the personalisation of the new curriculum for Wales with inspections involving more in-person discussions, placing less emphasis on achievement data.

Estyn believe that the new inspection approach will make it easier for providers to gain meaningful insights that help them to improve without the spotlight on a judgement.