St Mary’s is a larger-than-average primary school in a deprived area of Stoke-on-Trent. Students have access to a small animal therapy farm, a library bus, a secret garden, an outdoor woodwork area, a large beach area, an outdoor gym, gardening and allotment areas and an outdoor pond. All children receive a free daily breakfast. There are 16 different ethnicity groups, a large number of families with Social Services involvement and SEND levels across the school are high.
Pupils enter the school nursery aged three, but their developmental levels are generally far below this. Some enter around the developmental mark of 8 months. Speech, language and communication skills on entry are generally poor. Despite this, the children make accelerated progress. Children leave the school in Year 6 with SATs results above local and national standards. Every child is taken on four educational experiences each year, including visits to the seaside, to London and to the theatre. They regularly fundraise and gather donations, helping them to learn about the community hardships around them.