A Ponteland school is among the cream of the crop when it comes to meeting church standards.
In March, a Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) took place to evaluate the distinctiveness and effectiveness of Richard Coates as a Church of England Middle School.
It was graded outstanding in each category, including how well it meets the needs of all learners through its distinctive Christian character. The other areas were: What is the impact of collective worship on the school community? How effective is the religious education? How effective are the leadership and management of the school?
The inspection report says: ‘Since the last inspection, the inspirational leadership of the new headteacher (Heather Cape) has further developed the school’s vibrant Christian community.
‘Staff and students are proud of their school and parents speak highly of the Christian vision and values, which they state are the reason for sending their children to Richard Coates.
‘All members of the school community contribute to a wide variety of displays that celebrate diversity and demonstrate Christian values of tolerance and understanding.
‘The RE curriculum encourages learners to examine their own beliefs and those of other faiths, and impressive strides have been made to enable access to other faiths with trips and visits as well as visiting speakers coming to the school.’ It also praises the high quality of teaching for the subject.
Mrs Cape said: “I am delighted that the SIAMS inspection has recognised the many outstanding features of Richard Coates Church of England Middle School.
“The report reflects our distinctive ethos built upon Christian values and places the achievement of each child as a unique individual at the centre of all we do.
“Our school motto – ‘let your light shine’ – summarises our commitment to ensuring each and every child’s gifts and talents are nurtured and that they become the best they can be.
“The report recognises the school as a place where pupils, parents and staff are rightly proud of the outstanding behaviour, achievement and attendance which is established through an infrastructure of care and support for all.”
RE Subject Leader Jo Baker added that the school’s outside classroom learning has included a visit from a Holocaust survivor, a week-long excursion to Amsterdam and trips to various local places of worship.