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.’

Ash Wednesday

Monday 27th February 2017

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and as we embark on our Lenten journey we remember the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, in preparation for his public ministry. There will be a voluntary Mass for students and staff at 8.35 on Wednesday morning. During Lent we also make our preparations for the good news of Easter, through prayer, fasting and charity, and each RE class will be given the opportunity over the next half-term to reflect on the significance of this season, during their Lenten service. 

Congratulations to all staff and pupils involved in the excellent production of ‘Dracula Spectacula’ before half-term. The children were fantastic and they really enjoyed the whole experience. Thank you also to the family and friends who came along to support the show, and thank you to the PTA who provided refreshments throughout the week, raising nearly £300 for the school. As mentioned in one of the newsletters last half-term, the work of the PTA is highly valued by the school, but unfortunately, because of a lack of volunteers they are struggling to complete some of their traditional services, like providing tea and coffee at parents’ evenings. There was no tea and coffee served at the Year 10 parents’ evening but they did, thankfully, manage to have a parent volunteer for the Year 9 evening.  However, if they don’t get any volunteers for this Thursday, there may be no refreshments at the Year 11 parents’ evening, or the Year 7 evening the week after. If you would like to volunteer, please do contact the school reception and your name and details will be passed on to the PTA. In the meantime I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Yr 11 Parents’ Evening on Thursday 2nd March and the Year 7 Parents’ Evening on Thursday 9th March.

I sent a letter home on the last day of the half-term, on behalf of all Primary and Secondary Headteachers in Stockport, regarding the proposed National Schools’ Funding Formula and asking that you PLEASE lobby your MP for more money to provided to schools in the forthcoming budget. As explained in the letter, Stockport LA is one of the most poorly funded authorities in the country, and the proposed formula does not address the inequalities in the system, mainly because there isn’t enough money to go around. You can find a copy of the letter, as well as a suggested template for a letter or email to your MP, on the school website: http://www.stjamescatholichighschool.org.uk/key-information/letters/. You may also be interested in reading an excellent Blog about this issue, written by Mr Joe Barker, Headteacher at Marple Hall: http://www.marplehall.stockport.sch.uk/school-funding-part-one/12930.html. Thank you to those parents who have already contacted their MP.

Next week is a busy one for Spring exams – Year 11 Maths & Science on Monday, Year 11 English Literature & Maths on Tuesday, Year 11 English Language & Science on Wednesday and Year 10 English Literature & Year 11 Maths on Friday.

Finally, we welcome back the Year 11 students and staff who visited Poland and Auschwitz over half-term. Whilst I am sure that it was a very difficult and moving experience for all involved, I know that they learned a lot from it and that those memories will stay with them for a very long time. I would like to finish, therefore, by sharing a prayer from Holocaust Memorial Day earlier this year.


I believe in the sun,

even when it is not shining.

I believe in love,
even when I cannot feel it.

I believe in God,
even when he is silent.


A prayer scratched on the wall of a prison cell in Cologne by a Jewish prisoner during the Second World War