OFSTED April 2017 Key Comments: 

  • ‘Pupils shine at this school because they benefit enormously from being part of the ‘St James family’, a supportive and caring community. They are happy and safe in school.
  • ‘The conduct of pupils in this school, the way they interact with each other and adults, is impeccable – in fact, it is the best I have ever seen(Feedback from HMI to School Governors, Local Authority and Diocesan representatives)
  • Pupils readily respond to leaders’ high expectations evident in the ‘SHINE’ ethos. As a result, they ‘Speak politely, Have respect, follow Instructions, Never say never and Engage positively’ in all that they do
  • ‘Pupils work exceptionally well together’
  • ‘Pupils have excellent attitudes to learning, they are curious and want to achieve their best.’
  • ‘Pupils know what it means to be ‘ready to learn’’
  • ‘Pupils’ conduct is exemplary. They show high levels of respect for each other and for their teachers and teaching assistants.
  • ‘Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a strength of the school’
  • ‘The school's work to promote pupils' personal development and welfare is outstanding. Leaders make sure that pupils are cared for exceptionally well’
  • ‘Staff are proud to be a member of staff at this school’
  • ‘Pupils, including the most able, are challenged by their work’
  • ‘Pupils are taught the skills needed to become thoughtful, self-confident citizens, able to express their views and opinions.’
  • ‘Progress overall is much better than that of similar-ability pupils nationally’
  • ‘Key stage 4 outcomes in GCSE examinations demonstrate consistently strong progress over each of the last three years’
  • ‘Parents have highly-positive views of the school and confirm their children are safe and happy at this school. They greatly appreciate the pastoral care and support provided.’
  • ‘Pupils say they feel safe at school, they say there are no bullies and are confident they would be listened to if they shared a concern with a teacher or pastoral leader.’
  • ‘Governors know the strengths of the school and where there are further improvements still to be made.’
  • ‘Pupils enjoy coming to school.’
  • ‘Pupils, including the most able, are challenged by their work because most teachers have high expectations of pupils and plan work which is hard enough for them.’
  • ‘Pupils learn well and make excellent progress because teaching in English, mathematics and most other subjects is consistently good.’
  • ‘Leaders have successfully introduced a more ambitious culture in the school based upon high expectations.’
  • ‘Pupils typically make good progress because teachers have strong subject knowledge, which they use well to plan interesting and challenging work for pupils.’
  • ‘Teaching assistants support pupils well in lessons, including low-ability pupils and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities, who need extra help.’

32 school days to go before GCSE exams begin

Monday 12th March 2018

Today is PE GCSE moderation day. We have been pleased with the progress made by the majority of Year 11, but exam preparation continues with the distribution of personalised revision plans on Friday, to commence on Saturday 17th March. If there are any questions or concerns about the revision plans, please contact Mrs Livesey, Assistant Headteacher for Progress. There are only 32 school days left until the start of the GCSE exams, so time should be spent constructively.


Thank you to all those parents and carers who attended Year 7 Parents’ Evening last week. It was a very busy evening, with more than 94% attendance. I had many very positive conversations with parents about how well their child has settled in at St James’. The written messages on the Governors’ questionnaires were overwhelmingly positive, with some lovely comments:


  • ‘My child is happy and looked after and has made great progress’
  • ‘It’s one big family’
  • ‘The pastoral and educational aspect of the school are excellent’
  • ‘I feel the teachers have really taken the time to get to know my son’
  • ‘Excellent communication. Wonderful family atmosphere. Excellent teaching. All staff are friendly and professional’
  • ‘Ethos, staff, leadership!’
  • ‘Very welcoming environment. My daughter has blossomed since starting at St James’’
  • ‘Firstly the staff are so good and willing to go the extra mile. Teaching level is excellent. The safety level is excellent. Thanks for the school’
  • ‘Strong Catholic ethos’
  • ‘All the pupils get on well, and the teachers are supportive. Think you are doing a great job’


We do always ask if there is anything that you feel we could be doing better, and all of this feedback is then taken to the next Governors’ Policy & Practice meeting. If you did specifically request feedback, someone will be in touch with you once all of the questionnaires have been analysed. I wrote to parents of Year 9 students last week to inform them that the ‘snow- postponed’ Parents’ Evening has been rearranged for this Thursday, 15th March. I look forward to seeing as many parents and carers there as possible – students must be in full uniform. The information meeting for the forthcoming Madrid trip is taking place, as planned, on Thursday at 6.00pm, in the Sports Hall. Please do remember that to avoid parking on local residential streets, there is over-spill parking available behind the school, in the yard, and over the road at Manchester Rugby Club.


As mentioned in the last newsletter, last week was National Careers Week and Form Tutors used form-time to discuss all different aspects of careers and the ‘world of work’ with their pupils. Mrs Grainger, our Careers Co-ordinator, distributed information, presentations and website links for them to use, and we have also introduced a Careers “drop in” every Thursday lunchtime in room 29b . If you have any questions about our careers education, or if you feel you are able to contribute to this important area of school, please contact Mrs Grainger at helen.grainger@st-jamescatholic.stockport.sch.uk


The next meeting of the PTA was due to be tonight at 7.00pm, but due to the recent low turnout at meetings, it is taking place by email instead, which is a real shame. The work of the PTA is highly valued by the school, but as communicated several times before, because of a lack of volunteers they have been struggling to complete some of their traditional services, and now the meetings have become unviable for the time being. I would hope that we may be able to revisit this at some time in the near future, and that we get some new interest from parents and friends. If you would like to contribute to the PTA, please do contact the school reception and your name and details will be passed on.