Welcome from the Head

Welcome From Mrs Greaves,


It is with great pleasure that I welcome you and your child to our happy and purposeful Catholic Primary School and Nursery, ‘the greenest school in the UK’. We, leaders, staff, governors, pupils and parents, are all proud of our thriving school. I am privileged to be part of the St Mary’s family, and have been since appointed as Headteacher in September 2007.

St. Mary’s school was founded in 1814 near to the city centre and is now situated on a site provided by the Sisters of Mercy in Darley Abbey, on the north side of the city. Having moved from the central location to the outskirts of the city, we are proud to welcome a diverse community which attracts families across the whole of Derby City. Pupils, families and staff enjoy the beautiful purposeful building which allows pupils to grow and develop academically, spiritually, socially and personally.

Our new state of the art building is the first biophilic school in the country, meaning pupils have direct access to nature directly from their classrooms. A central spine connects the different learning blocks allowing pupils to be outside whatever the weather – this will have huge benefits to their health and well-being as they travel through the school.

Our drive for excellence was acknowledged recently in 2020, when the school was awarded the accolade of ‘Best State-funded school in Derbyshire’ by the National Good School Guide. Following this wonderful achievement, disaster struck in October 2020 when our school was devastated in a fire. However, the St Mary’s SPIRIT lives on. Now that we have moved into our new school, the UK’s first Biophilic school, the greenest in the UK, our community grows stronger. This is demonstrated in the strong support from our staff, governors, parents, carers, parishes, as well as the growing numbers of pupils choosing to join our school despite having only moved into our new premises in December 2023.

At St. Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy, our vision is to educate children whilst nurturing the talents and potential of each individual child. We believe that the curriculum is a powerful tool that promotes a love of learning and a willingness to explore. Through the Gospel values (which include the British values), our pupils will have the opportunities to develop their God-given talents. We enrich the curriculum through our strong Catholic ethos, aiming to share God’s love, helping our community to learn, grow and make a difference.

We are committed to helping pupils develop a sense of self-respect and self-worth by focusing on the whole child; supporting all pupils to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and future capacity to live as independent self-motivating adults. We maintain that learning should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone; it should be fun and its evolution should involve all stakeholders wherever possible. Despite pupils’ varying starting points, abilities and economic backgrounds, our teaching will equip pupils with the ‘relevant’ knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to prepare them for the next stage of education, any work place and ultimately prepare them as responsible future citizens, making informed choices about the important things in their lives and giving him or her the ability to function as a contributing member of both co-operative groups and society. We do this through the St Mary’s SPIRIT which encapsulates personal, spiritual and character development woven throughout our rich and relevant curriculum: identifying the key knowledge and concepts required and delivering them in an exciting and experiential way which enables key concepts to be retained. As a result, we as a school make a difference to their lives both now and in the future.

The wonderful work that goes in our school was recognised by Ofsted in January 2023 when inspectors graded St. Mary’s Good with Outstanding features in four out of five areas. Inspectors said: “This school’s mission is to unlock all pupils’ potential by ‘sharing God’s love and making a difference’. Pupils show kindness and respect to each other. They are keen to play a positive role in their community.” Inspectors also added: “Pupils’ behaviour and conduct are exemplary. Pupils describe St Mary’s as a family. Pupils from all faiths, families and cultures are welcomed and celebrated.”

At St Mary’s, we believe that parents are the first and most important educators of their children. The staff and governors therefore foster and encourage a partnership between home, school and parish so that together we can help each child to develop and flourish in a happy, secure, caring and aspirational atmosphere. I look forward to making very strong links with yourselves and also developing a partnership between school, child and parents that will help us all to provide the very best education for your child.

I hope that you will find this website interesting and informative and that you will enjoy learning about our school and our aims. If you like what you see, why not come and visit St Mary’s, we are proud to show visitors around our happy and caring school.

We look forward to welcoming you.

God bless.

Mrs Amanda C Greaves

Executive Headteacher