‘Outstanding’ rating can be a catalyst for change

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

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It’s hard to overstate the importance of St Edmund’s Catholic School in Portsmouth being rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

Of course, there will be a feeling of great pride among the staff and pupils – and rightly so.

Government inspectors were impressed by ‘outstanding leadership at every level’ and the fact that ‘no pupil is overlooked’.

They also said that teachers are ‘highly knowledgeable about how pupils learn’ and plan meticulously to carve out improvements.

That is great testament to the work done by headteacher Simon Graham and his clearly dedicated team.

But this isn’t just about St Edmund’s. By becoming the first secondary school in the city for seven years to be rated as outstanding in all areas by Ofsted, it sends out a powerful and positive message.

As city council leader Donna Jones says: ‘This will act as a catalyst in helping other schools reach outstanding status, boosting the local economy, and it means more employers and the very best teachers will want to come here.’

She talks about education in Portsmouth being ‘below par’ for a number of years and, like all of us, wants to see change for the better.

With council plans to spend £4.7m on improving city schools, providing more places and an improved learning environment, the future is looking good.

Of course, we’re realistic enough to understand that there is still a long way to go. But other heads can now see what can be achieved.

And with both Bridgemary School and St Vincent College in Gosport making huge improvements to be rated ‘good’, there is certainly a lot to be encouraged about in education across the area.