Love at the Heart of Excellent Outcome


April 2022

8th April 2022

Staff, pupils and the wider Hanbury C of E School Family are proudly celebrating the “excellent” outcome of their latest inspection, which puts them in the dizzy heights of just 8% of Church Schools in England.

In addition to Ofsted, a Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) takes place every 5 years. Its aim is to find out the impact of schools’ Christian visions and how they help children and adults to flourish.

A whole range of areas were inspected in March, concluding that; “The school is a haven of Christian love and the school’s vision is a life-changing reality.”

“Consequently, everyone is nurtured to be the best unique individual that they can be.”

“Individuals reflect deeply and lives are transformed,” the report goes on to say. “The pupils’ understanding of world faiths and beliefs is significantly strengthened through highly effective teaching within an embedded culture of curiosity and questioning.”

The new grade of “excellent” was introduced after an update to the SIAMS framework, with “good” now the old “outstanding” grade.

“We were very excited to share our vision and values with our visitor from the Church of England,” said Headteacher, Aaron McDonagh.

“To hear she thought our school met the criteria to be graded ‘excellent’ was a culmination of years of effort and a wonderful confirmation of all we strive to achieve, every single day.”

“Our vision is ‘Flourishing Through Love and Nurture’. It is interwoven into all that we do; in the decisions that are made, in the way we interact and in the way we support children to ensure they develop academically, personally and spirituality.”

The Inspector recognised this, commenting: “The school establishes in pupils an internal ‘moral compass’ alongside personal resilience.

“There is an openness and honesty in relationships throughout the school which is liberating. Everyone is free to be themselves whilst respecting the worth of others. Consequently, an atmosphere of harmonious calm pervades.”

Over the past 3 years, RE and Collective Worship Co-ordinator, Lynn Ball has worked closely with Mr McDonagh and his predecessor, Andrew Payne to build and develop the robust vision which feeds into clear and distinct Christian values.

“Mr Payne helped build the foundations of our vision, along with the late Becky Kershaw who previously held the RE Co-ordinator role,” she said. “I’m so glad that the Inspector acknowledged our terrific team of staff along with those we miss very much but who are still very important to us and the way we work.”

“This is a school that is about life in all its fullness, that laughs, sings, learns and cries together,” says the report.

“Love builds perseverance which results in deep learning. Love and high-quality teaching go hand in hand. A wonderful climate exists which results in uniquely creative and inspirational teaching and learning.”

“We relaunched our vision when the inspection framework changed, then along with the support of Mr McDonagh when he took over as Head, our wonderful staff, families and of course our super pupils, we aim to live out the Christian values that we promote,” added Mrs Ball. “This has benefits to us as individuals but also to the wider world and when we move on to our next challenge.”

Friendship, Forgiveness, Kindness and Compassion, Respect, Trust and Endurance make up the school’s list of Christian values, which Mr McDonagh believes gives it a unique atmosphere:

“From the first time you step through the front door you can tell that there is something very special about it,” he said.

Since his appointment in September 2021, Mr McDonagh has ensured that there has been no let-up in ensuring that love remains firmly positioned at the centre of everything the school does:

“It supports us to celebrate with pride, commiserate with empathy, disagree with tolerance and understanding and drives us with enthusiasm for making a positive impact on our world,” he said. “I’m certain that it has helped us all to provide support and to get through the difficulties over recent years.”

The Inspector agreed: “During the pandemic they went the ‘second mile’ to respond to the specific needs of pupils and families,” it continues. “The school delights to include and welcome everyone into the Hanbury family.”

‘Celebrating every forward step’ is just one of the ways Hanbury pupils are nurtured.

“We are as likely to give someone a big cheer for learning how to tie their shoelaces as we are to congratulate them for producing a fantastic piece of writing,” added Mr McDonagh. “Progress is a word used a lot in education, but we appreciate that it can look very different from one child to another.

“This ‘excellent’ outcome is something the whole Hanbury Family can celebrate together and be very, very proud of!”