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.’

Approaching the End of Term

Monday 27th March 2017

It has been a short, but very busy half-term, and this week is no exception. School closes for pupils at the end of the day on Thursday 30th March. All year groups will have a special ‘Holy Week’ Service on that day.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Year 11 Mass of Celebration last Thursday. Many people commented on what a lovely evening it was, striking just the right balance between giving thanks for the past and praying for the future. I did comment at the end of Mass about the fantastic support that we receive from yourselves, as parents, and I know that this strong home-school partnership will be of particular help to our Year 11 students over the coming months, as they continue to prepare for their GCSEs.  

Thursday also saw the conclusion of our Ofsted Inspection. Whilst I cannot comment on any specific areas or refer to any potential judgements until the report is published, I can share with you that the Inspection Team were very pleased with what they saw, and they were particularly impressed by our pupils, who are most certainly the real strength of our school. Thank you to all those parents and carers who responded to Parent View, which was overwhelmingly positive. Thank you as well to everyone who emailed me with best wishes and messages of support – it was very much appreciated.

As you know, on Friday we held a non-uniform day in aid of CAFOD’s East Africa Crisis Appeal. We also held a collection after the Year 11 Mass of Celebration, and the staff had a ‘non-cake sale’ day on Friday, donating any money that they would normally have spent on buying either ingredients or cakes. So far we have raised over £1000, and there is still a chance for anyone to contribute further, before we send the money off later in the week.   

We wish all students and staff who are going on the Ski Trip the very best, and we will see them, along with everyone else, back in school on Tuesday 18th April at the usual time. We also say thank you and farewell to Mr Tony Thompson and Mr Paul Kirrane at the end of this term, as we will be welcoming a new teacher to our RE faculty after Easter, Mrs Ciara Duggan. In the meantime I wish you all a very happy and joyful Easter