Hart top of class for community relations

All friends together ... from left, Ben Hurst, Rory Cusack, Michael McCallen and Josh Kearney.
All friends together ... from left, Ben Hurst, Rory Cusack, Michael McCallen and Josh Kearney.

Hart Memorial Primary School achieved ‘outstanding’ ratings in four categories in an inspection by the Department of Education.

The one-day inspection looked at the school’s implementation of the Community Relations, Equality and Diversity (CRED) policy, a statutory part of the curriculum.

The Hart works closely with Presentation PS as part of this.

The inspector, Mrs Pamela McCrum, met the senior leadership team, the school council, observed lessons and spoke to pupils and teachers as well as reviewing samples of work.

The school was examined in four areas - achievements and standards; quality of provision; leadership and management; and community connections.

The children were reported to be very confident, highly articulate and fully engaged with others. They had developed deep, genuine and meaningful friendships, and clearly enjoyed their time together. In fact, she said, they were passionate about it.

She concluded that both schools had worked closely to promote a safe and caring environment, which promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and reconciliation in the context of a traditionally divided area.

“Children are able to confidently discuss issues which many adults would struggle to tackle,” she said.

Mrs McCrum said there is a culture of all staff being involved in the holistic planning and delivery of CRED. “There have been excellent staff development days to ensure that priority is given to constantly improve provision,” she said.

In the area of community connections, Mrs McCrum said there are excellent opportunities for parents to engage with the shared classes as well as celebrations and even workshops on occasion.

She noted that nearly all parents are supportive which she felt was a massive achievement.

Mrs McCrum said she had been “blown away” – even though she’s not easily impressed. She added, “When I asked the children how they would feel if they were not permitted to work with Presentation they stated that they would be ‘devastated’.”

Principal Julie Shipley said Hart Memorial will continue to strive to develop a strong sense of equality, diversity, tolerance, reconciliation and respect among its pupils, to equip them with the skills and capabilities to contribute positively to an increasingly diverse and inclusive society.