Acorn Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP3 8DW | Tel: 01442 264 835 | Email:
St Albert The Great Catholic Primary School
September 30 2016


Governors At St Albert The Great

On Wednesday 2nd November 2016, we had our Diocesan Inspection.  A Diocesan Inspection takes place within a 5 year inspection cycle and the purpose of the inspection is to report to and advise the Archbishop on the quality of classroom religious education and the Catholic life of the school.  Inspection also provides an opportunity to support, challenge, evaluate and promote the work of Catholic schools.  It also enables the Diocese to celebrate with schools their sense of identity and their strengths as Catholic schools.

Diocesan inspection is an inspection of both classroom religious education and the Catholic life of the school. The inspection includes observations of teaching, observations of worship, discussions with pupils, scrutiny of pupils’ work, scrutiny of parents’ questionnaires and meetings with the Headteacher, link governors, the subject leader and the priest.  The lesson observations were carried out by the inspectors with myself and the RE subject leader – Mrs Wickens. Three diocesan inspectors carried out our inspection.

I am delighted to inform you that our inspection found that the quality of classroom religious education is good, and the Catholic life of the school is good. The inspection report has already been published on the Diocesan website and will be posted on our school website today.

The inspection team acknowledged the now stable leadership after several years of interim leaders and budget difficulties.  They recognised our commitment to ensuring we fully meet the requirements of the Religious Education Curriculum Directory (RECD) with 10% of our curriculum time devoted to religious education, and how our new scheme – ‘Come and See’ provides continuity across the whole school.  Our pupils have positive attitudes towards their learning in RE and this impacts on the progress they make.  Pupils’ religious literacy is good and they are confident in their use of religious language.

The inspectors recognised how our school motto ‘The more I learn about the world in which I live, the closer I grow to God’, permeates the building and the creative outdoor areas – providing a rich environment for learning. The Catholic identity and ethos at St Albert the Great can be seen and felt around the school. Prayer is central to the daily life of the school and our pupils participate with reverence and respect during our assemblies and worship.  We have a strong sense of Catholic identity and a good commitment and contribution to the Common Good. We are actively engaged in activities that help others by raising money for those who are less fortunate and the range of charities we proudly support is wide.

The inspectors acknowledged the strong links we have with the parish and other schools in the diocese.  These are strong and fruitful at all levels.  Our school mission statement is at the heart of our community and shared by all stakeholders.

The inspection process also made recommendations about how we can make further improvements or developments. In classroom religious education, they recommend that our developmental feedback marking (which our children know as the ‘tickled pink’ and ‘green for growth’ marking) that we use in our other core subjects of English and Maths, is applied in RE and that differentiation is reflected in outcomes.  These are being immediately addressed.

To develop further the Catholic life of the school, we will ensure that our children have an understanding of the theology that underpins the Common Good. Our children have a secure understanding of  why we support charities such as Children in Need or Cafod in terms of being a human being that looks after others in need, and we can strengthen their knowledge of the underpinning theology.  For example, in John 13:34-36, Jesus gave us a new commandment: ‘love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.’

We will further develop the Catholic life by empowering our pupils to plan, prepare and lead worship. This year, our KS1 pupils will collaborate together to invent their own nativity play to tell you about the birth of Jesus.  We have also already put together a timetable to introduce pupil led worship on a regular basis from January 2017.

Inspectors reported that a small number of parents stated they were unsure of what their children are learning in religious education and as a result, it has been recommended we develop stronger communication links. This was disappointing as the termly content of the religious education for every class, as well as the important dates in the liturgical calendar, are posted on our website under the ‘Catholic Life’ tab.  If you log on to the school website, select the ‘Our School’ tab in the top tool bar, scroll down to the ‘Catholic life’ tab and then across to the ‘RE Autumn Term’, you will find an attachment that outlines the termly curriculum.  I apologise if this was not made explicit during the curriculum meetings that took place at the beginning of term but if you follow this link, you can see the RE termly content.  I hope this will support parents in answering any questions they have about the curriculum content for RE for each term.  I will also ensure this is made explicit in future curriculum meetings and at the beginning of each term in my newsletters. If anyone would like a paper copy, please let the office know and we would be happy to provide one.

It is so rewarding to see how independent observers have acknowledged the ways in which the staff here enrich the educational experiences for our children, particularly through the Catholic life of the school, and how the partnership with parents and the parish ensure pupils receive the best quality of Catholic education we can offer.

I would like to thank all of the staff for their ongoing commitment at all levels to promote the Catholic life and ethos of the school.  I would like to thank the children for demonstrating not just to the inspection team, but to their teachers every day that they have positive attitudes and this has a positive impact on their progress.  I would like to thank the parents and other family members for their ongoing support for our school and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you for many years to come.

Kind regards,

Mrs Kathy Little