Horton St Michael’s is a small rural village First School set in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands, close to Leek. It currently has 82 pupils on roll, from a varied catchment of mixed socio-economic groups, largely consisting of a farming community, drawing on the two villages of Horton and Rudyard. Increasingly, pupils are attracted from further afield from the towns of Leek, Biddulph and Congleton. The school was founded in 1895 in what is now the village hall at Horton Lea; it has always benefited from its diocesan links with Lichfield and is now a voluntary controlled Church of England school. It moved to its present site in 1962 and thus has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The present head teacher, Lesley Montgomery, took up her post in Spring 2015. Currently the school employs 16 (mainly part-time) staff members recently increasing its roll by over 20%. It was awarded its second ‘Outstanding’ grade from Ofsted in 2012-13. The proportion of pupils supported by the Pupil Premium is slightly below the national average. The family service home-cooked food is one of the strengths of the school with the highest take-up of school dinners in Staffordshire.
One of the successes of Horton has been the availability of outdoor education. With three trained Forest School practitioners and an impressive woodland, it is not unusual to see children being taught the art of den making, weaving willow, using sharp tools and heating their hot chocolate over fires which they have laid. Our three classrooms also have outdoor creative areas; the woodland contains an amphitheatre, a bird-hide, wild spaces and reflective areas. Other successes have included three ‘Green Flag’ ECO awards, the use of the International Primary Curriculum, Dyslexia Friendly Full status, strong collaboration with all local schools, an International School Award, a Healthy School Award, the Staffordshire Inclusion Partnership Award and daily after-school clubs.