By Sarah Jarman, Deputy Head and Year 5 Teacher
AT Micklehurst All Saints CE Primary, we continually endeavour to empower our pupils with a voice and actively engage them in any plans for school improvement.
This term, four members of our pupil-led ethos council have done just that by planning and leading their very own pupil inspection with a focus on religious education and collective worship.
As a church school, our Christian values are at the core of everything we do and members of our ethos council play an important role in evaluating our learning in RE and contributing to the planning and delivery of collective worship assemblies to our whole school.
Taking on the distinguished role of school inspector for the day were four Year 5 members of the ethos council: Amelia, Zac, Hayden and Eden.
In preparation for their big day, our enthusiastic inspection team took part in a training afternoon designed to equip them with the skills they would need to inspect both professionally and accurately.
The children made key decisions about what they expected to see in an excellent collective worship assembly or a successful RE lesson as well as planning opportunities to observe members of our school community throughout the day to assess whether the values at the heart of our Christian ethos were evident.
On the day of the inspection, the team made their way to a designated room complete with all the necessary equipment and even a selection of refreshments – inspecting is thirsty work!
Armed with an official lanyard and a clipboard to record their observations on, any initial nerves were soon swept away, and the children went about their duties with a professionalism that would give any Ofsted inspector a run for their money.
They spent the day observing several RE lessons from a safe social distance, taking part in a Collective Worship delivered by the headteacher via Zoom and interviewing key members of the school community, including the headteacher, the RE subject leader, Father David and their peers.
After a packed day of observing, interviewing and keeping detailed notes, there was one final task for our inspectors: prepare and deliver a presentation to school leaders and governors detailing their findings and the all-important verdict.
Amelia, Zac, Hayden and Eden spoke passionately and eloquently about the things they had witnessed throughout the day.
They felt the Bible story shared during collective worship was enjoyable and involved a moral that could help children in real-life to deal with their feelings. They also loved the song, which made them feel both ‘joyous and happy’.
In RE lessons, they found children of all ages listened carefully and showed a great deal of interest in their learning as well as a desire to ask lots of questions.
It was clear to our pupil inspection team that the children at Micklehurst really enjoy their RE lessons, they know a lot about Christianity and the other world faiths and they learn in creative and interesting ways.
With a final verdict of ‘good’ for collective worship and ‘excellent’ for religious education, much to the delight of the panel of school leaders and governors, all that remained was for the inspectors to offer their suggestions for next steps and share what they felt would make RE and collective worship even better at Micklehurst.
They felt that once Covid restrictions are fully lifted and singing can be a more integral part of each assembly again, collective worship will be worthy of an excellent rating.
They also requested we increase the opportunities for creative activities in RE lessons as many children had reported how much they enjoyed learning about religion through things like art and drama.
Throughout the day, our pupil inspectors demonstrated a real commitment to their role; they acted maturely and professionally and spoke with real passion about their findings.
The ethos council have lots of plans for the coming months as a result of the inspection and are looking forward to a time when they can all meet together and get to work.