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.’

Alton Towers

Monday 16th October 2017

This Thursday evening we are gathering to welcome our new Year 7 pupils, with a Mass in the Sports Hall. Each Form group has prepared a different part of the liturgy, and I’m sure that it will be a really lovely occasion and a fitting way to celebrate the new additions to our school family. I look forward to seeing as many families there as possible.


At this time of year we would have usually been preparing to celebrate a whole-school Mass for All Saints’ Day, on Wednesday 1st November. Unfortunately, due to recommendations made during our recent fire risk-assessment audit, we are currently unable to hold whole-school Masses in the Sports Hall. We are looking into ways of managing this in both the short and long-term, including more class and year Masses, as well as voluntary Masses. For All Saints’ day, however, we will not be offering Mass in school, but there will be no homework set on that night, to allow families to attend their local parish Mass. Please check with your parish for Mass times.


On Friday we held our annual rewards trip to Alton Towers, recognising the excellent ‘Attitude to Learning’ that so many of our students demonstrated in the last academic year. It was a very successful day, with lots of tired-looking pupils (and staff) returning to school on Friday evening. Congratulations to all of those young people who were invited. Thank you to those parents who responded to our requests to park at the Rugby Club, rather than use local roads. Our arrangement with the Rugby Club is an ongoing one, whereby we can access their parking facilities for any school event that requires additional parking. We continue to receive complaints from neighbours about parents’ parking in the local area, with one complaint coming from picking pupils up after Alton Towers on Friday. Could I please ask parents, yet again, to be careful and considerate, as this could avoid any accidents, as well as showing courtesy for local residents and pedestrians’ right of way.


Another reminder that it is the PTA AGM this evening at 6.30pm – all are invited. School closes for pupils this Friday, 20th October, and reopens as normal on Tuesday 31st October (Monday 30th October is an INSET day).