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  • St Vincent de Paul RC Primary School
    Morpeth Terrace
    London
    SW1P 1EP
  • Head: Mr Nathaniel Scott-Cree
  • T 020 7641 5990
  • F 020 7641 5901
  • E [email protected]
  • W www.svpcatholicprimary.org
  • A state school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 11.
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Westminster
  • Pupils: 250
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Good 1
      • Early years provision Good 1
      • Outcomes for children and learners Good 1
      • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Good 1
      • Personal development, behaviour and welfare Outstanding 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Good 1
    • 1 Full inspection 11th March 2016
  • Previous Ofsted grade: Requires improvement on 3rd April 2014
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

Well-stocked music room with an impressive selection of instruments - from glockenspiels to bongo drums. All have singing and music lessons, provided by a dedicated music teacher. Pupils talk excitedly about how they are encouraged to create their own music. Sixth formers from neighbouring Westminster School work as volunteers, acting as classroom assistants and helping to run school clubs. ICT room doubles up as a cinema for film club. Not a place for those who wish to sit on their laurels. Energetic PTA meets regularly...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since 2015, Nathaniel Scott-Cree BA (early 40s). Teaching degree from Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, followed by a masters in Catholic school leadership from St Mary’s Twickenham. Originally from the Surrey/Sussex borders, his first job was at St Osmund's School in Barnes, followed by a complete contrast in locality – Brixton - where he taught for six years at Corpus Christi School. He says: ‘It was a very well run school. Parents moved to put children in there.’ He left to become deputy head at St Vincent’s Primary School in Marylebone, where he stayed for the next six years before being offered this headship. He has always taught in Catholic schools, which he says is his ‘personal preference', and is 'very committed to them.’

Mr Scott-Cree is young in terms of head teachers: ‘not the youngest,’ he says, but he clearly has a wise head on his youthful shoulders plus bucket-loads of dry wit. His straightforward, honest and no spin approach instantly endears him to us. It was his dad who initially suggested teaching to him as being a ‘good option’ and he also felt committed to doing a job which makes a difference: ‘I wanted to help improve children’s chances in life and I believe that to be through education.’

His commitment to the job is evident in the changes he’s brought to the school: the new house system; tighter security (more about those later); changes to the syllabus; better communication between the school and parents – and he’s even teaching himself Latin in order to teach it to his students. He says: ‘When I started here I decided to continue with Latin and run with it. I now teach two lessons a week in Latin for years 4 and 5.’ He is liked and respected by both pupils and parents, who tell us ‘he’s really blended in well with the school.’

Married to a deputy headteacher at another school, Mr-Scott-Cree has three children of his own, and although he wouldn’t dissuade any of them from a path of education (‘if they believe it to be their true vocation etc etc’), he would point out the difficulty of teaching nowadays and all the bureaucracy around it: ‘I probably wouldn’t cut the mustard if I was entering the profession now,' he says drily. We beg to differ. Any spare time he has he mostly enjoys ‘doing nothing’, he says jokingly, but other than that he enjoys reading, listening to music and watching a good film.

Entrance

Always oversubscribed. Nursery children are not guaranteed entry into the main school at 4+. Priority given to practising Roman Catholics, with distance from the school used as a tiebreaker. First priority goes to looked after Catholic children, then baptised, practising siblings, then baptised Catholics. A waiting list is kept for occasional places.

Exit

Most pupils get their first choice secondary school. For most girls it is Grey Coat Hospital (if it’s good enough for the former Prime Minister’s daughter....); other popular choices for boys and girls include Sacred Heart, London Oratory, Cardinal Vaughan and St Thomas More as well as independents including Westminster Cathedral Choir School.

Our view

School was founded in 1859 by the Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul to enable them to work with the poor of Westminster. Moved to current premises in the shadows of Westminster Cathedral, conveniently next door to St Paul's bookshop, in 1974. For a young and impressionable soul eager to soak up all London has to offer, fewer locations could beat this school in the heart of London.

It is hardly surprising that pupils come from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds. Around three-quarters speak English as an additional language. Indeed most of the parents we spoke to, although fluent in English, spoke it as a second language. Many parents choose the school for its diversity, but mainly for its strong Catholic ethos. One parent told us: ‘As Roman Catholics ourselves, this school has a great reputation locally for its strong ethos of upholding values, discipline and academia, but also being a loving and caring environment.'

This is a Catholic school foremost and whilst pupils are taught to understand other faiths and cultures (Judaism and Islam weeks etc) there is a strong Christian ethos to adhere to. The head says: ‘The behaviour at SVP is outstanding, but it is naive to say that incidents don’t happen from time to time. However we do instil in pupils to love one another as I love you.’ Chaplain Father Brian leads assembly ever Wednesday, and there is a collective worship every morning. One parent told us: ‘I have sat in assembly for one hour and nobody moves. They are so engrossed and well behaved.’ Good behaviour, thinking of others and cooperation goes without saying.

Pupils are monitored regularly to assess their progress and there are plenty of parents' evenings, giving everyone the opportunity to discuss their children. Parents comment on how approachable the head is and that you can pop by his office without an appointment. Mr Scott-Cree has also introduced a small letterbox outside his office, where pupils can write down any concerns they may have either anonymously or as something they wish to share (and confessionals with Father Brian are also offered).

When we entered the school at the start of our tour, we were immediately stuck by the double-door entry and security systems put in place. Sadly quite pertinent in light of the recent Westminster attack, which happened a week after our visit and only a few minutes away. The head says: ‘At the end of the day, I’m responsible for these pupils if something goes wrong. Where we are located there are a few unsavoury characters around, and whilst I don’t want the school to be a prison, I want it to be as safe as possible.’ And one parent added: ‘Before Mr Scott-Cree was head, you could just walk in, which is incredible really if you think about it. I feel so much happier now that it’s more secure and I feel my child is safer.’

Fairly compact site - outdoor space has been redeveloped to create three separate play areas for nursery children, infants and juniors. Cleverly designed, with lots of greenery and modern play equipment. Plus who could tire of seeing the majestic gothic structure of the neighbouring Westminster Cathedral, which almost borders the playground? Pupils also use the playgrounds and local facilities for team sports and have a dedicated sports coach for all PE lessons. Inside, school is light, modern and well designed but has the very nostalgic feel of a primary school from yesteryear. Peaceful chapel is very much at the heart of this friendly and well-disciplined school.

Large, multi-purpose hall where children practise for termly concerts and plays and musical performances. School is part of the Westminster Cathedral Choir School outreach programme and the choir performs at Westminster Cathedral as well as singing regularly at family masses. Well-stocked music room with an impressive selection of instruments - from glockenspiels to bongo drums. All have singing and music lessons, provided by a dedicated music teacher. Pupils talk excitedly about how they are encouraged to create their own music. Small charge is made for individual lessons on a wide range of instruments. (No formal library, but that is up for discussion: ‘it’s a space issue.’)

Alongside the national curriculum, pupils benefit from being taught Spanish from the age of 7 (a good chunk of Spanish speakers already at the school). Latin is introduced in year 4. Academic results are exceptional. Staff have high expectations and have created a good learning ethos. The SENCo coordinates additional needs and runs a Units of Sound online literacy development programme for dyslexics.

Polite, engaging and kind pupils were what we witnessed during our time at the school (lots of opening doors for us). It struck us how unspoilt many of these children were: ‘I went to Wagamama for the first time,’ said one excited 9 year old (as part of a food workshop which included a trip to the restaurant). Other trips have included London Zoo, Legoland and various museum outings. Years 5 and 6 do trips to forest schools and Sayers Croft outdoor centre.

Sports quite big on the agenda and the school has fared admirably (given its size and on-site facilities) at football, swimming and athletics, ‘and we have even been to the Olympic Copper Box Arena’, one proud pupil told us. Sports now all the more competitive since Mr Scott-Cree introduced the new house system named after saints: St Theresa, St Joseph, St Francis and St Bernadette. One parent said: ‘The introduction of the house system has added a healthy competitiveness to the school. My daughter is now desperate to earn house points.’

Yearly nativity plays are performed actually in Westminster Cathedral, with full costumes and music. (We’d be hard pushed to imagine anything more spiritual.) There are two other occasions in the year when they join the parish of Westminster Cathedral for mass. We are told that some parents choose this school for this reason. Sixth formers from neighbouring Westminster School work as volunteers, acting as classroom assistants and helping to run school clubs. ICT room doubles up as a cinema for film club.

Not a place for those who wish to sit on their laurels. Energetic PTA meets regularly to discuss the organisation of numerous fundraising events for the school. Each family is asked to make a small annual contribution towards the maintenance and building fund - for the benefit of the present community and to ensure continuation for future generations. Pupils are active fundraisers and run regular charity events. The school also works with Mission Together, a charity that encourages children to care about mission through prayer, learning and fundraising.

School was downgraded by Ofsted in 2015 to 'requires improvement', but was upgraded again in 2016 to ‘good’. The head says, ‘The issues that had affected the school have been addressed and lots of support has been put in place to get it back on track.’ However, he adds that the report was limited in its judgment to one particular area, which can have a big impact. However, parents praise the school to the rafters and pupils say they look forward to going to school. One parent added that ‘SVP starts with the assumption that there’s something great about you and let’s work on that.’

Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary school is a fully inclusive school. We educate children with a range of abilities, special educational needs and disabilities. Each child is treated as an individual and we ensure that we support them to meet their full potential accessing all the opportunities we provide. We welcome and support pupils with medical conditions and understand that pupils can suffer from long term, short term, chronic and acute illnesses. We provide for all pupils without exception or discrimination; this includes both physical and mental health conditions. St Vincent de Paul Catholic school provides all pupils with a special need or medical condition the same opportunities as others at school, enabling them to play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential. When children are identified with a special educational need, we make every effort to give extra help in the usual classroom setting. We monitor children’s progress carefully and differentiate the learning to support all ability levels. A comprehensive package of extra interventions is delivered by teaching assistants. Individual teaching assistants have specialisms and are trained in speech and language support, dyslexia support and with emotional literacy. Interventions are available for children identified for additional support. Information regarding our provision for SEND is contained in the SEND School offer on our home page and is in line with the SEND Code of Practice (2015) .

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia Y
Dysgraphia Y
Dyslexia Y
Dyspraxia Y
English as an additional language (EAL) Y
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health Y
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability Y
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication Y
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty Y
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty Y
VI - Visual Impairment Y

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Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

regularly
most years
quite often
infrequently
sometimes, but not in this year


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