New head at Bury school aims to restore top Ofsted rating

New head Kate Pereira with students Alan Kurian and Thomas Tallant, Caelainn Fitgerald and Zia Harris
New head Kate Pereira with students Alan Kurian and Thomas Tallant, Caelainn Fitgerald and Zia Harris

The new headteacher of a Bury St Edmunds secondary school aims to restore its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

Kate Pereira has taken the lead role at St Benedict’s Catholic School, following the retirement of Hugh O’Neill.

The school was judged to ‘require improvement’ by Ofsted in a controversial inspection in 2014. It was previously rated ‘good’ and in 2008 was deemed ‘outstanding’.

Following strong GCSE and A-level results this year, Mrs Pereira says she wants to see the school at the top of the class with Ofsted once again.

“I want to bring the whole school community forward in realising the shared vision of returning the school to the outstanding judgement it deserves but also to do that by fostering a culture of teamwork and unity which is rooted in the idea of excellence for all,” she said. “The school has come a long way since 2014 - this is shown through its outstanding outcomes this year.”

In their GCSE results, 75 per cent of pupils scored A* to C including English and maths, which is a 10 per cent improvement on 2015. The A-level results were 85 per cent A* to C - regarded as ‘excellent’ in performance measures.

“I’m passionate about the fact that every student deserves the best education regardless of their ability, beliefs or financial circumstances and everything is driven by the idea that every child has always mattered. The school has been focusing on that philosophy since 2014.”

They will also look at building the school community with ‘strong productive relationships’, creating sustainable systems and insisting on high standards and expectations while providing support.

St Benedict’s is part of the Bury Schools Partnership which is dedicated to a ‘high quality’ two tier education system following the closure of four of the town’s middle schools. With about 900 pupils, St Benedict’s operates two sites with a lower school centre at the former St Louis Middle School site, in St Andrew’s Street South, for Years 7 and 8. Its upper school for Years 9 to 13 is in Beeton’s Way.

Mrs Pereira, who was deputy head at St Thomas More Catholic Teaching School in Bedford, said: “The most important thing for me is the students. They for me are the reason that I get up every day because I passionately believe that every single student should get the best possible start in life. Not all students have a good home life and sometimes school is the only refuge that they have and it’s really important they experience that care.”

Kate’s wealth of experience

Kate Pereira has been teaching for about 22 years.

The mother of two has taught at six schools with eight years in senior leadership at two schools. She has worked with St Benedict’s in the past through the Diocese of East Anglia and ‘always felt a great sense of warmth and community’ in Bury.

She teaches RE and is a Section 48 inspector for the Diocese looking at a school’s RE and ethos.