June 24, 2008

Good Sports Are Looking Towards a Brighter Future

By Tony Collins

THE future's looking bright, and healthy, for pupils at a Birmingham primary school.

Children at St Joseph's RC Primary in Little Sutton Lane, Sutton Coldfield, have been enjoying unprecedented success in the world of sport with no less than 18 trophies in the past year.

But improvements of a different kind have also been going on inside the school buildings.

Local artist Bruce Jones has been brightening up a corridor and communal changing area with a series of stunning, colourful murals on the theme of nature.

And when this project, entitled What a Wonderful World, ends, Bruce will be off, brush in hand, to weave his magic on another part of school.

Head teacher Gerry O'Hara, who only joined the 241-pupil school in April, also has plans to expand the existing computer room into a much bigger facility, money permitting, and link it to the well- used library.

Mr O'Hara, who moved from a primary school in neighbouring Sandwell, says: "A lot of people look at the Sutton schools and see high academic achievement, which is obviously important, but we want a whole school curriculum.

"We want to develop the whole child."

Which is why the recent success in athletics, swimming and cross country at both Sutton and Birmingham level is matched by the plans to expand the use of ICT, and an additional wish for an outside PE activity area.

The success of St Joseph's has just been recognised by Ofsted inspectors who said it provides a good education for its pupils. Ofsted said pupils make good progress throughout the school, so that by the end of Year 6, standards in English, maths and science are well above the national average. But as well as that, pupils also enjoy school and particularly like taking part in the good range of sporting and physical activities that is available.

And they saved a comment for the head who, they added, had identified the areas for improvement that will build upon the school's good academic tradition.

The last word goes to Mr O'Hara who says: "The main thing to celebrate here is the politeness of the children who are a credit to their families."

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