S.I.A.M.S. Report

Storth Church of England Primary School

Storth Road, Storth, Milnthorpe, Cumbria LA7 7JA

SIAMS report Storth Church of England Primary School 

‘Everything is Possible’

Storth Church of England Primary School is a happy and welcoming community, where everyone is included, valued and supported to reach their potential as we learn and laugh together. Through our trust in God, we believe that everything is possible, doing all that we can to care for, help and love each other.

Jesus said, ‘for God everything is possible’

Matthew 19:26

The school strengths

The Christian vision of ‘with God everything is possible’ is known and understood by all. It drives the work of the school and so pupils and staff strive to be successful and to reach their full potential.
• Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and those who are vulnerable in other ways are exceptionally well cared for and supported. As a result, children flourish here and the school has a deservedly high reputation amongst parents and the wider community.
• The chosen values of perseverance, hope, love, respect, trust and forgiveness underpin the way life is lived here. As a result, this is a happy, welcoming community where everyone is included and valued.
• Through teaching inspired by the vision, pupils and adults are empowered to act as courageous advocates. This is for each other in school and for those in the wider community.
• A wide range of rich curricular and extra-curricular opportunities are designed to meet the needs of pupils and engage them in their learning. Pupils are thus enabled to blossom.

Areas for Improvement

• Ensure delivery of religious education (RE) consistently adheres to the planned curriculum.
This is so all pupils have the opportunity to know more about a range of worldviews and faiths other than Christianity.
• Ensure each daily collective worship is recognised as such by all so everyone benefits further from these spiritually significant occasions.
• Ensure there is a shared understanding and articulation of spiritual development across the curriculum. This is so all pupils are given equally rich opportunities to develop spiritually.

Inspection Findings

This is a small school with a big heart. The Christian vision of ‘for God everything is possible’, from Matthew 19:26, describes the school as it is now and how it sees its future. The vision is lived out in practical and purposeful ways. A loving ethos means all pupils, and their families, are welcomed into the school’s warm embrace. In line with the belief that every child matters, there is a catchphrase of ‘never say no’ and pupils are never turned away. As a result of the Christian vision, pupils with SEND or those who are vulnerable in other ways, are lovingly welcomed, no matter what their difficulties or their needs are. Very dedicated leaders and staff go above and beyond to support all pupils and enable them to thrive. Being a small school, all staff know all the pupils, and their families, well. Staff participate in training, including with the diocese. This has resulted in even more inclusive adaptive teaching. Personalised learning brings out the best in each and every pupil, so they thrive.

As well as noteworthy provision in school, support from external agencies is sought and very effectively utilised. The provision, inspired by the vision, means the reputation of the school has blossomed, and pupil numbers have increased.
An ‘everything is possible’ attitude and values of perseverance and hope are thoroughly embedded.

Examples of this can be seen in the curricular and extra-curricular provision. Whether it be getting better at art or climbing a mountain, pupils demonstrate hope and persevere in all they do. There is always a ‘have a go’ attitude with any new skill to be learned. Driven by this ethos, pupils are empowered to do well and enabled to fulfil their potential. Leaders ensure pupils experience life outside of this rural village. For example, they benefit from meeting other children by attending the South Lakes Pupil Parliament and a choir competition at Carnforth. Pupils’ horizons are broadened through an annual visit to London. Lessons taught by PE and drama teachers from local secondary schools mean that pupils make a smooth and successful transition into Year 7. Pupils develop a sense of responsibility through caring for the school animals. A wide range of curricular and extracurricular experiences incidentally provide spiritual growth. However, staff have yet to develop a shared understanding of spirituality. Daily worship is a time when pupils and staff from all four classes come together. They learn, pray, think spiritually and quietly reflect on their own lives. Pupils enjoy playing an active part in worship, thus developing their confidence and sense of responsibility. They are keen to respond with answers to questions and enthusiastically join in singing songs with actions. Pupils are offered a variety of ways to reflect on worship messages. Staff haven’t recently attended any training on collective worship. As a result, worship usually, but not always starts and ends with the school’s pattern of greeting and sending. Nor is it always as fully invitational as it could be. Indoor and outdoor spaces are available for quiet reflection or prayer. Older pupils benefit from spiritual experiences such as visiting the war memorial on Remembrance Day. There is a very strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Storth Village Church, parishioners and local clergy. As a result, pupils are familiar with both Anglican and Methodist traditions. Local clergy lead weekly worship. A foundation governor leads a special event at Easter charting the last journey of Jesus. These, together with fortnightly visits from the local Open the Book team mean that pupils are familiar with Christian traditions and bible stories. They understand their meanings and how the stories provide messages about ways to live their lives.

All are treated well in this school. The values of love, respect, trust and forgiveness are intentionally and sincerely lived out. Pupils and adults trust each other and forgive freely. Driven by the vision, a culture of acceptance, patience and compassion pervades the school. Pupils are polite, respectful and keen to engage in conversation. They play and work happily together, even if they are different to themselves. Older pupils relish their responsibilities to help the younger ones. Staff listen to and respect the views of pupils as well as looking after and supporting each other. Leaders care about and support the mental health and well-being of all. This is enhanced by a senior mental health © The National Society (Church of England and Church in Wales) for the Promotion of Education 2022 3 worker who has oversight of the support provided to pupils and adults.

The vision to include everyone drives a very strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the local community. School and village involve and support each other fully in a wide variety of collaborative activities. A local hall is used for larger events such as the harvest service so that more people can be accommodated. Local toddlers and their parents enjoy weekly forest school sessions in the school grounds. Despite being a small school in a rural village an outward-looking culture exists. This ensures pupils are empowered to act as courageous advocates. There are many examples of pupils ‘standing up and doing things for what you believe in’. At the start of the war in Ukraine, one pupil wrote to a local company to ask for donations to support refugees. The school councillors take on board ideas from their friends. They make decisions and plan for events such as Children in Need. Pupils know they have a responsibility to help each other, to look after the environment and to respect human rights. They are very thoughtful; they think about others and what they can do to help them.

Just over a year ago, following advice from the diocese, leaders introduced a new RE syllabus. Pupils enjoy this new interactive curriculum. They like the wide variety of fun learning activities. Religious education has a high profile in class timetables and classroom displays support learning. Pupils believe RE is an important subject to study as it helps them understand and respect people and not to discriminate against anyone. Lessons provide a safe space for them to talk about their beliefs. They understand the place of faith in the world today and that not everyone has a faith. Pupils acquire a good knowledge of Christianity.

However, the planning for and delivery of information about non-religious worldviews and faiths other than Christianity is less effective.

As a result of the Christian vision, this is an especially inclusive school where servant leadership is the norm and lives are transformed. As one parent said, ‘This school sets the children up for life’.

The inspection findings indicate that Storth Church of England Primary School is living up to its foundation as a Church school.