The school celebrating inclusivity with inspiring heroes including Tim Peake, Michelle Obama, Dolly Parton and Stormzy

Date published: 19 February 2024

At St Matthew’s Primary School in Chadderton, pupils are surrounded by images of inspiring figureheads.

Classes are named in honour of trailblazers including MOBO, BRIT and Ivor Novello Award-winning grime artist Stormzy, Michelle Obama, former EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis - who in 2021 became the first deaf contestant to appear on Strictly Come Dancing and won the 19th series - and Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to do a spacewalk and the first person to be honoured by the Queen while orbiting earth.

Tim’s message to the children of the UK “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do anything” is among the quotes on display on classroom doors along with “we are all equal to each other”.

This is a message firmly embraced by St Matthew’s, a school which celebrates inclusivity and prides itself on the happiness of its pupils and staff.

And the school has a big reason to smile after receiving a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating.

Ofsted said: “Pupils are proud to belong to this welcoming school community.

“They enjoy coming to school.

"They celebrate each other’s differences and learn the importance of treating everyone equally.”

Headteacher Simon Buxton-Moore said: “We are happy, our learners are happy and it makes for a happy school.”

In 2022 Mr Buxton-Moore started a ‘Dine and Dream Big Club’ - a book club for children to research heroes who have overcome barriers and prejudices to make history including country music icon Dolly Parton, heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali and drag superstar RuPaul.

Key stage two children worked with the Little People Big Dreams books to learn about influential people and celebrate diversity.

“It’s a lunchtime inclusion club to celebrate those who have broken down barriers and are successful in their field,” said Mr Buxton-Moore.

Cllr Mohon Ali, Oldham Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, visited the school to congratulate staff on the report and to see their good work in practise.

He said: “This is really great news.

"The Ofsted report is really positive and shows how well the school is working within the community.”

St Matthew’s also has designated ‘wellbeing champions’ dedicated to looking out for and supporting their peers who may be struggling.

Ofsted added: “Older pupils are encouraged to be leaders and to support others through their actions.

"Those who are prefects and wellbeing champions value their responsibilities.

"They enjoy being role models for their peers.

"Parents and carers are exceptionally happy with the school.

"They value the care and support that their children receive and pupils feel safe at school.

"They know that staff will take their worries seriously."

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