The Sunday Times School Guide 2019 ranked St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Willesden as the second best state primary school in the country, and the best state Catholic primary school nationally.
The whole school community has continued to aspire to excellence despite being located in an area of high deprivation and serious crime, and in the face of challenging circumstances that have resulted from a fire that caused substantial damage to the school in September 2015. More than 500 nursery and primary pupils aged 3 to 11 years old and 65 staff were evacuated into the playground of St Joseph’s as flames began to tear through the roof and upper floors on the afternoon of 22nd September.
Following the fire, the children and staff relocated for eight weeks to Newman Catholic College before returning to temporary classrooms on the school site. They moved back into the school building in September 2018.
The three years in temporary classrooms were challenging with restrictions on space for storage and meetings as priority was given to the learning areas for the children. The support of the parents and the wider community brought strength and determination to ensure the children’s education would not be affected.
Reacting to the award, Headteacher Dawn Titus said: ‘It is the children that we are most proud of; their resilience and love for learning is an example to us all at St Joseph's and to their peers nationally. We will continue to ensure that the children's aspirations are not formed by the circumstances around them, but that they will form their future through high expectations and a desire to fulfil their potential, whatever their circumstances.’