Primary school’s religious provision graded excellent by inspectors

St Margaret's C of E Primary School pupils and headteacher David Huntingford celebrating their excel

St Margaret's C of E Primary School pupils and headteacher David Huntingford celebrating their excellent Siams rating. Picture: Sophie Cox - Credit: Sophie Cox

A Barking primary school has been praised for the quality of its religious provision and Christian ethos.

St Margaret's Church of England Primary School recieved the top grade of excellent following a statutory inspection of Anglican and Methodist schools (Siams).

In additional to the overall grade, the North Street school was graded excellent for its effectiveness of religious education, and good for the impact of collective worship.

Headteacher David Huntingford described the outcome as "fantastic".

"The school has done a lot of hard work over the last two years," he said.

"We were also graded good in Ofsted in October, which shows how far we have come."

A Siams inspection is required at all church schools every five years, with St Margaret's improving on its previous rating of good.

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Mr Huntingford explained that the rating highlighted how the school incorporated religious teachings into all aspects of life, from prayer rooms that the children can use freely during break times to Bible quotes on displays connected to the topics being studied.

"We've got a big focus on courageous advocacy and standing up for those in need," Mr Huntingford added.

"In areas where children queue we have put up things to get them thinking."

From Year 1, every class in the two-form entry school has a pupil elected to the school's worship council, which provides pupils with a chance to get involved in making decisions.

"I think it's important to have a range of schools in the community," Mr Huntingford said.

"We have Christian schools just like there are Sikh schools, or Islamic schools, or schools for no faiths and all faiths."

He explained that although the school has a Christian focus, there are staff and pupils who belong to different religions or who have no religion, with parents buying into the ethos.

"Siams is just as important for the parents [as Ofsted]," he added.

"They have chosen a faith school for a reason. There is a lot of choice for parents in Barking and Dagenham and they have chosen to send their child to a Christian school."