St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School recognised in Sunday Times School Guide three years after fire

Joene (head boy), Dawn Titus (headteacher, Harriette, Kacper, Jennifer (head girl) and Ms Kirby (dep

Joene (head boy), Dawn Titus (headteacher, Harriette, Kacper, Jennifer (head girl) and Ms Kirby (deputy head). Photo by St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School - Credit: Archant

A headteacher of a school which was ravaged by a fire three years ago has championed the resilience of her students in transforming its fortunes.

St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School has been named as the second best state primary school in the Sunday Times School Guide 2019, a cause for celebration among staff.

The recognition is a far cry from September 22, 2015 when more than 500 nursery and primary pupils aged 3 to 11 years old were evacuated into the playground of St Joseph’s alongside 65 staff as flames began to tear through the roof and upper floors.

Following the fire, the children and staff relocated for 8 weeks at Newman Catholic College before moving into temporary classrooms on our school site for the next three years; we moved back into our school building in September 2018.

In that period, the children continued to access a full curriculum and excelled year on year as demonstrated in the guide’s data.

Headteacher Dawn Titus said: “The three years in temporary classrooms was challenging with restrictions on space for storage and meetings as we wanted to ensure priority was given to the learning areas for the children.

“The support of the parents, the children, and the wider community brought strength and determination for continuous focus on the learning so the children’s education would not be affected. We are of course delighted to be back ‘home’ in the school building now.”

Most Read

The Goodson Road school, which is in an area which has often struggled with high levels of deprivation and crime, is also the highest ranked state primary school nationally.

“It is the children that we are most proud of; their resilience and love for learning is an example to us all at St Joseph’s and to their peers nationally,” Dawn added.

“We will continue to ensure that the children’s aspirations are not formed by the circumstances around them, but that they will form their future through high expectations and a desire to fulfil their potential, whatever their circumstances.”