Whether it is skipping or sewing, cello playing or coding, pupils at St Aloysius Primary Federation tell staff what activities they’d like to try and the school “does its utmost” to accommodate.
There are activities for parents, too, such as sessions on family budgeting, mental health, and drug and alcohol dependency – all of which strengthen the link between home and school.
The school, in Newcastle, believes in parents and children learning together to improve home lives, which it says can lead to “greater achievements both academically and socially”. Parents and carers are invited to attend sessions where the curriculum is “unpacked”, giving a deeper understanding of teaching and learning.
Last year, the infant and junior schools were rated “outstanding” by Ofsted. It achieved Teaching School Status in 2015 and, last year, it was awarded The World Class Schools Quality Mark.
The school also works with local businesses, who deliver careers workshops. The school’s Aspirations campaign embeds the belief that “the sky is the limit when it comes to what they can achieve in life”.
Children have been crucial to the creation and maintenance of the school’s “secret garden”, which is used for lessons and play as well as being a resource for the wider community. Pupils also work with volunteers to grow fruit and vegetables for the school kitchen.
Judge Dame Alison Peacock said: “I am impressed by the joyful warmth of St Aloysius Primary. It is clear that this is a school where anything feels possible and where the highest standards across an incredibly broad curriculum offer are achieved. Great care goes into ensuring that the wider community is involved with the school in a wide variety of ways. Uplifting, purposeful and meaningful, it’s a great place to learn and play.”