Historical Information OF ST GEORGE & ST TERESA SCHOOL
THE CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL OF ST GEORGE AND ST TERESA – 1968-2018
Monsignor Manion had wanted to establish a Catholic School either in Balsall Common or in Dorridge but had not been able to do so. However, by 1963 there were sufficient children in the Parish to merit the School so Father Taylor and Father Emery turned their attention to building one. A small school with only four classrooms was opened on 8 January 1968 with space for 160 pupils. There was a library and a lush golden carpet on the floor. Initially there were only 47 pupils with only 4 in the nine to ten years range but by 4 September 1968, the school had 99 children on roll and was using all four classrooms.
The school was formally blessed and opened by His Grace Archbishop Dwyer on 1 October 1968 in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress, the Director of Education and other distinguished visitors. Afterwards about 200 people attended an informal social evening to celebrate the occasion.
In a few years the number of children grew and two new classrooms were provided. Even more were needed in the late eighties, although two of these were temporary Terrapin structures.
Father Manion, the Parish Priest, gave the children in the school a birthday party to celebrate his fortieth anniversary in the priesthood. It was a beautiful afternoon and tables were taken into the playground. There were mountains of food and drink. The children presented him with a book about the Vatican.
The first Head Teacher, Mr J B Lakeland, was at the school from 1968 to 1971, when he moved on to open a new Catholic School in Tettenhall. He was replaced by Mr J Cawley who was there from 1971 to 1991. Mr D J Foxon arrived in 1991 and is the current Head Teacher.
Today the school comprises of seven classes and a Nursery. It operates a breakfast club, wrap around Nursery service and after school care. There are 243 children on roll, most of whom come from the Parishes of St George and St Teresa of the Child Jesus in Dorridge and the church of Blessed Robert Grissold in Balsall Common. It is in an attractive setting, with many beautiful trees and a lovely playing field for the children’s sports and games. There are interesting environmental projects happening in the school.
In 1993, the Rt Reverend Bishop Brain celebrated Mass on the occasion of the Schools’ 25th Anniversary.
Monsignor Daniel McHugh became Parish Priest in 2001.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated Mass in Church for the Parish 100th Anniversary on Sunday 19 June 2005. Many children attended in school uniform and played a key role in the Mass. To mark the occasion of the Centenary at School, we held a Children’s Day on Friday 1 July 2005. All children and staff were invited to wear clothes and associated accessories based around the theme of red and white and that of St George. The highlight of the day was around lunchtime when parents, family and friends joined us for a lunchtime picnic and a brief talk from Monsignor about the centenary. The school kitchen staff provided a specially prepared picnic box. We organised a number of special treats including two bouncy castles, games and a freshly whipped ice cream from the local ice cream vendor. Each child was presented with a Centenary Book Mark as a gift from the Parish.
The school can also boast some significant achievements. It hit the headlines in The Birmingham Post for its 1997 National SATS results, “A Solihull Primary School with a near-perfect score in tests emerges as the best in West Midlands today in a new Government Performance table. The 207 pupil school is out on its own after 100 per cent of its eleven year olds reached at least Level Four – the National standard expected for their age – in English and Mathematics last year. Just fifteen other primary schools out of 14,500 nationally beat the Solihull Whiz-kids, each achieving 100 per cent in all three tests.”
It has been necessary to develop the school buildings over recent years to provide for growing numbers and to improve the facilities for the children. In December 2000 a new block of three classrooms, a computer suite, and a purpose built special needs room, a school extension and new toilet block were opened with a service by His Grace, Archbishop Vincent Nichols. The Mayor, Councillor Honor Cox attended and congratulated the school on its extension.
In November 2003 there was the formal opening of a new Nursery and Library. Don MacLean, Radio Two presenter, was on hand to cut the ribbon and Kevin Crompton, the Corporate Director of Education and Children’s Services was also present. The school combines high achievement with high standards of behaviour and commitment so passing on the Faith. It is a wonderful asset to the Parish Community.
We were delighted that OFSTED (July 2004) reported, “This is a very effective school. The Head Teacher provides excellent leadership and has successfully developed a staff team committed to rigorous self-evaluation and the pursuit of excellence. Standards are high and pupils’ achievements are very good. Very close attention is paid to developing pupils’ personal qualities. The school gives very good value for money.”
The Archdiocese Inspection reported in 2004; “The school is an excellent Catholic school with an outstanding ethos. Standards in religious education are well above diocesan expectations. Very good relationships exist between the school and the parents, the parish and the community. There is a very well planned curriculum. The direction for the Catholic life of the school is excellent.”
In May 2006, our School achieved the best Key Stage Two SAT results in Solihull and our track record is the envy of many.
Monsignor McHugh celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his Ordination into the priesthood on Monday 24 September 2007 and school children sang at an evening Mass in Church. Monsignor also joined the children at school for his special celebrations when everyone partied in style.
In 2007, the Department for Children, Schools and Families awarded us “Activemark.” We had a letter of congratulations from Terry Monnington, Chair CSW Sport (Coventry Solihull and Warwickshire Sport) Executive Board.
“On behalf of Coventry Solihull & Warwickshire Sport, I would like to express our great satisfaction on hearing the recent announcement, that your school has been recognised for its commitment and contribution to physical education and school sport by achieving the Activemark Award.”
In January 2008, we embarked on a major 40th anniversary extension to our building costing in excess of £700,000.00. The purpose of the work was to enhance the accommodation in the school, including new secure lobby, administration areas, teaching spaces, visitor toilets, a meeting room, new car park, installation of security cameras, additional security fencing, work and rest areas.
During June 2008 the Archdiocese inspection of our school reported:
“St George and St Teresa is an outstanding Catholic school with an excellent Catholic ethos, characterised by the very good supportive relationships within the school and the parish. All staff contributes to the character and mission of the school. It is understood by everyone and is at the heart of school policy and practice. Pupils are nurtured in an environment that creates a religious and moral climate, which enables the child’s love of the Catholic faith to grow and mature and thus enhance the development of the whole child.”
Our OFSTED inspection in June 2008 concluded that under the heading of overall effectiveness of the school, the school received the top grade, a Grade 1.
“St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School is an outstanding school. The happy and exceptionally caring atmosphere reflects its strong Catholic ethos, which guides staff and pupils alike. Pupils’ personal development, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, is outstanding. Pupils love coming to school and enjoy their learning and each other’s company; one boy cheerfully described his school life as ‘exhilaratingly good.’ Pupils join in the wealth of activities the school provides with great enthusiasm, are kind and respectful to each other and their attendance is consistently excellent.”
In 2012, we celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, by taking the entire school and Monsignor McHugh on a wonderful trip to Shugborough Hall.
In 2013 the school was awarded Primary Science Quality Mark Gold Award for its teaching of science.
Ofsted inspected the school on the 17th and 18th of September 2014 and classified the school as good.
“The Headteacher and deputy Headteacher provide strong leadership and set a clear vision for improvement which is shared by everyone in the school (…) The school’s ethos, values and curriculum make a strong contribution to pupils’ spiritual, social, moral and cultural development (…) Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the school and value the care that the school has for each individual pupil…The behaviour of pupils is outstanding (…) The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding (…) Work in pupils’ books and displays around the school show that teachers encourage pupils to read widely and think critically to develop their own views.”
Our ‘Faith in the Future’ building project in 2015 culminated in the building of a new classroom, modernised and completely refurbished toilets and cloakroom areas. The new classroom was blessed by the Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, on the 5th October 2015.
A statue of Our Lady and Child, has been placed in a niche in the school; another symbol of the school’s commitment to Faith development of our children and working alongside the Parish for the future.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb’s visit, accompanied by Dame Caroline Spelman on 16th November 2017 was a wonderful occasion. Minister Gibb, MP, and Dame Spelman, MP, were most complimentary about their visit to our school; in particular, the main focus of the visit was about our standards.
Mr Gibb said: “It was a pleasure to see first-hand how the teachers and pupils at St George and St Teresa Catholic Primary School achieve such high academic standards, particularly in reading and in maths, with nearly every child reaching or exceeding the expected standard.
“The behaviour was immaculate and the ethos of the school was of happy engagement and hard work. My congratulations to the head teacher, Des Foxon, and his staff.”
The school again had achieved 1st place in Solihull and was ranked in the top 1% of schools in the Country.
In attendance was also the director of the Birmingham Diocesan Education Service Rev. Jonathan Veasey. Following the visit, he included in a letter:
“It was a wonderful visit and a great moment for you to show the great work of the school; strongly founded on its Catholic mission. The children were a delight and such strong and great ambassadors for the school and the many opportunities it provides them.’
This would not be possible without the marvellous support from Parents and Grandparents of this community, which is so much valued and appreciated. We strive to work in close partnership with our families to make St. George and St. Teresa School a true community we can all be proud of.
Following our latest Ofsted Short Inspection on the 17th July 2018, the inspection;
We are delighted to be able to announce that we remain rated as a ‘Good’ school and we have been officially informed that our next inspection will be a full section 5 inspection. This is a fantastic achievement for the school. The inspector noted significant improvement which enabled pupils to have the best possible start in life.
Everyone has good reason to be very proud of our school. The letter acknowledges so much about the school’s ethos and values that we all know underpins our success.
We are very proud of the feedback from the inspection, in particular in confirming that:
“The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection.”
“I am of the opinion that the school has demonstrated strong practice and marked improvement in specific areas. This may indicate that the school has improved significantly overall.”
“St. George and St. Teresa Catholic Primary School is a caring and vibrant learning community, where pupils are happy and keen to learn.”
“You have ensured that the school provides pupils with the best possible start in life.”
“The ethos of the school is underpinned by core values such as respect and resilience. These values are recognised by pupils, who talk confidently about how they are rewarded when they demonstrate them.”
“Leaders have high expectations and set challenging targets for staff and pupils. This applies to every aspect of school life, from the Catholic ethos, which is at the heart of the school, to the quality of teaching and learning. Leaders are clear that they expect all pupils to achieve to the very best of their ability. In turn, teachers expect the best of pupils and pupils expect the best of themselves.”
“From early years upwards, pupils achieve very well. As they progress through the school, they are well-supported to become more independent as learners.”
“Parents value the care that staff show towards their children. They say there is a real sense of community at the school. Parents say they feel fully involved in the life of the school.”
“Governors are very supportive of leaders, while providing effective challenge.”
“Pupils, including different groups of pupils, make strong progress across the school and attainment is consistently well above national averages.”
“You and the leadership team have ensured that all safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose.”
“Parents say their children are safe and happy at school.”
“The standard of teaching across the school is consistently high as a result of a culture of continuous improvement and professional development.”
In our 50th anniversary year we have much to celebrate and this report is further recognition of the hard work and dedication from all the staff and governors in school, who strive to provide the best education for each and every pupil. We are sure you will join us in thanking them for all that they do in school and beyond the school day.
The Archdiocese of Birmingham- Diocesan Education Service, wrote to congratulate the school:
“I am very pleased to be able to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the ‘good’ judgement that you have recently received from Ofsted in your inspection at St. George and St. Teresa Catholic Primary School.
It is a credit to you, your staff, governors, pupils and directors; it reflects your hard work and commitment to Catholic Education. Thank you for all you have done personally as the Head Teacher and leader of St. George and St. Teresa Catholic Primary School, in securing this outcome.
I was delighted on reading the report, that the inspector recognised that ‘the school has demonstrated strong practice and marked improvement in specific areas. This may indicate that the school has improved significantly overall. Leaders have ensured that the school continues to improve, and are ambitious for pupils academic development and personal growth. Your Governors fulfil their role well, and both challenge and support your team.
Expectations at your school are high and your pupils are expected to achieve to the very best of their ability. Your pupils demonstrate excellent attitudes to learning. You have clearly worked exceptionally hard to achieve this outcome and I am so pleased for you and your team.’
The high level of support we receive from so many of you on a day-to-day basis is also very much appreciated. We look forward to a continuation of this strong partnership so that we are able to build on our impressive achievements and secure further improvement for St. George and St. Teresa Catholic School.
As our school begins a new chapter in its history, we extend our gratitude to everyone who has supported this school and to those who will continue to do so.
For further information take a regular look at our school website http://www.stgandt.solihull.sch.uk
Birmingham Mail 2016-17