No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

IIP Champions Case Study: St Mary Magdalene School


St Mary Magdalene is a primary school with a roll of around 200 pupils plus further places at an on-site nursery. Pupils come from a wide area and a cross-section of backgrounds, some from disadvantaged homes and communities. The school has 34 teaching and support staff. The school was recognised as an Investor in People in 2002 and achieved high ratings in its Investors in People “Profile” review in 2003. The children want to do well, and the results now prove it.

The Challenge
Six years ago, the school had a very uncertain future and was under threat of closure. Buildings were dilapidated, results were below average and relationships with staff, parents and contractors were in a critical state. The new headteacher was appointed with the formidable task of turning the school round in order to keep it open and to revolutionise results and relationships. The school’s motto – developed from the experience of recent years – is “Love to Learn – Learn to Love”.

Investors in People was chosen as the framework on which to base the rebuilding of relationships with staff, governors, parents, pupils and the local community. People needed to be led, empowered, trusted and given self-belief. Needs and plans had to be identified, communicated and put into practice. A funding deficit meant that creative ways of meeting basic and pressing needs involving the commitment of staff and volunteers had to be found. The Standard helped to identify what needed to be done, how it should be done and how the results should be measured. Importantly, this work involved everyone – teaching, admin and support staff as well as parents, governors and local organisations.

St Mary Magdalene is now rated as one of the most improved schools in its area. The school is viable, is adding value, and standards and results are improving continuously. It has innovated to provide a range of new services which benefit parents and children alike. Before and after-school clubs operate each day: parents benefit from the mix of childcare and education, and the children benefit from the social stimulation and learning which this provides.

The school strongly supports “family learning” and parents are introduced to curriculum activities and the school’s passion for learning through, for example, ICT Clubs. This widens horizons and has led to more parental interest in subjects. This, in turn, has led to further education and enhanced job prospects for parents taking a second bite at education.

The school’s staff now feel valued, they meet regularly, communicate effectively and learn from each other, and derive good practice ideas from “learning walks” at other schools. Everyone benefits from continuous professional development and the school takes pride in mentoring and developing its newly-qualified appointees. Staff losses now tend to be for positive reasons such as promotions and new appointments. Non-teaching staff are empowered and developed as trainers in their own disciplines. The “customers” have their say, too. Year 5 children act as “ambassadors” for the school, Year 4 children take part in pupil conferences and all complete a pupil attitude survey. Past pupils have also added voluntarily to the positive evaluation of the school’s work. The school has achieved Gold Standard in the Healthy Schools Initiative, which embraces personal and social factors for pupils and staff alike, and is now aiming for the Platinum Award.

Champion Status
The school shares its experience and achievements with its peers and through its work with local communities. As advocates for belief in people, effecting positive change and cascading its love of learning it has few equals in its sector. While sharing its experience, the school is also learning from others. The school’s people have a lot to offer from hard-won experience in managing change, developing culture, leadership and management development, motivation and work-life balance.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!