A school in one of the most deprived parts of the country has managed to beat the odds to become Primary School of the Year.
Delph Side Community Primary in Skelmersdale , was chosen out of thousands of schools across the country this week, at the Pearson National Teaching Awards, to win the outstanding award.
Once rated as requires improvement by Ofsted back in 2014, the challenges the school has faced include high crime rates in the area and pupils who have faced trauma and mental health issues.
But head teacher Liz Ormerod said, it is thanks to an amazing team of staff and a network of support services – from domestic abuse charities to family support – that the school has managed to achieve such a success.
The primary school were presented with the award at the Roundhouse in Camden on October 20.
Head teacher Liz Ormerod said: “Skelmersdale is often a forgotten town.
“Socially there are huge issues in the area such as high crime and unemployment and it’s these issues that cause anxiety and fear among families in the local area.
“But it’s about focusing on the positives rather than all the negatives.
“We want our pupils to be proud to be from Skelmersdale and we work in collaboration with others in the community to make it a better place.
“We try really hard to do what we can to not only help a child but also to help the whole family by offering them support from our professional partners.
“Mental health is one of the biggest issues that we face and high anxiety because of the crime in the area.
“But we work with family support, mental health services, domestic abuse charities and local nurses to help our pupils overcome their problems.”
The head teacher said another battle the school have faced over the last five years is getting children to come into school and enjoy their time there.
However, thanks to a brilliant team of staff who go ‘above and beyond’, the school have managed to significantly improve their attendance and achieve a 100% pass rate in Maths this year – putting them in the top 1% of the country.
She added: “We’ve got staff that the children can trust.
“The team are just incredible, they go above and beyond for the pupils who know they can confine and open up to them if they are worried about anything and so can their parents.
“If our pupils want to be in school then they learn and they can trust us to help them overcome their problems.”
The work the primary school does to help its pupils include using the school’s budget to support enrichment in the curriculum including trips to France and the Isle of Wight.
The school also host a community week each year where care homes and others from the local area come in to watch the pupils perform in shows and take part in tea dances.
Mrs Ormerod, added: “We think the biggest part of the curriculum is giving the children experiences to evolve their imagination so that they can strive for things later on in life that inspire them.”
The Pearson National Teaching Awards ceremony comes as new research, published by the Teaching Awards Trust, shows the impact that teachers can have in promoting teaching as a career to the next generation.
The research finds that 53% of teachers in the North West coming into the profession were inspired to do so by a teacher.