EMPATHETIC pupils who won global recognition for ‘walking in the shoes of others’ have gained further praise as Government inspectors confirm their school is officially good.
Reid Street Primary School, Darlington, has retained its ‘good’ status just as it hands on the baton as holder of the international Empathy Week accolade it secured last year.
Staff and pupils took part in a virtual event with judges of Empathy Week, a global schools programme which enables students from all over the world to discover and build empathy through in-class lessons and social action projects.
Headteacher Paula Ayto said: “The Empathy Award event went really well. A group of children and staff stayed behind after school to be on a global virtual event with the judges and schools and students from across the world including from Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and the UK. All pupils were praised for helping to change the world and make it a better place. Judges, including Ger Graus, talked about how empathy was a process that develops over time and grows when you make space for it.”
Pupils have been involved in a range of projects including providing a bench for people to sit on in the Denes, sponsoring three guide dogs for the blind, competing in a sponsored Jubilee jog, donating toys to the hospital and singing at a number of events. Next year they will focus on sustainability issues.
“We work so children feel empowered, so that they can do things that can make a difference,” said Mrs Ayto. “It is about building in our children the skills they need to be respectful and to understand equality, diversity and the perspective of others.”
Vice principal and pastoral lead Joanne Davison added: “At Reid Street, we work hard to develop our children for future life. We spend time focussing on aspirations and enterprise alongside making academic progress. The children learn about The Global Goals explorers and how their skills of communication, problem solving, empathy, being curious and creative encourage them to learn skills for life. In our last Careers and Aspirations Week, we had over 50 visitors in school and lots of opportunities to view different career paths and local businesses as well as trips to local places of work.”
Ofsted inspectors agreed highlighting a host of positive aspects of the school including:
- The school’s values of respect, equality, independence and diversity thread through pupils’ daily experiences. Pupils understand why these values are vital to helping everyone. They enjoy choosing charities to raise money to help others. Pupils understand and value ‘walking in the shoes of others’. This is a happy and safe school, where pupils develop independence and respect.
- Staff know pupils well and have high ambitions for all. Leaders ensure staff receive high-quality training. As a result, all pupils show positive attitudes to learning. They behave well in lessons and around the school. The school day is calm and orderly.
- Pupils benefit from a curriculum that provides for all. Teachers adapt lessons well to match the needs of each pupil. As a result, gaps in pupils’ learning caused by COVID-19 are addressed quickly.
- Leaders’ vision to create a culture that enables pupils and staff to excel is a motivating force for improvement. COVID-19 has not prevented leaders from making necessary changes to the curriculum.
- Governors have made key changes to the leadership structure. This is helping to ensure that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is being addressed.
- Leaders promote reading well. Pupils read regularly and enjoy the wide range of books available to them. They understand the importance of reading.
- The teaching of reading and mathematics is strong.
- Leaders have invested in specialist sports coaches to ensure the revised curriculum for physical education is taught well.
- Pupils are confident and resilient.
- Staff are proud to work at the school.
Chair of Governors Trevor Alley: “I am so proud to be Chair of Governors at this great school. The school leadership team work tirelessly and are relentless in their pursuit of providing an excellent rounded education for all children. There is an incredible ethos of empathy in the school, acknowledged by the award received last year as the global empathy winners.
“We were delighted with the outcomes, which we felt really captured the spirit of the school. This was a hard-earned and thoroughly deserved judgement and governors are delighted with the outcomes.”