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.’

Congratulations to the Class of 2017

Friday 15th September 2017

I hope you have had a relaxing and enjoyable summer holiday. A special welcome to the parents of Year 7 children who are new to St James’. This school has always prided itself on its unique ‘family atmosphere’ and supportive climate. Ofsted quite rightly highlighted this in last March’s inspection report - ‘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.’ All parents can, therefore, be assured that the staff here will do its very best to ensure each and every child feels safe, makes progress and is known as an individual. We want all children to experience the joy of success in and out of the classroom and to enjoy and achieve in equal measure.

As well as 161 new Year 7 students, there are also some new staff starting at St James’ – Mrs McGarr (RE) returns to St James’, Miss Pratt (MFL) was a trainee teacher with us last year and now joins us full-time, and we also welcome Miss Black to St James’, as a new Teaching Assistant.

As you know the grading system for GCSEs in English & Maths has changed this year, from letters to numbers, and we have seen yet another excellent set of examination results:

  • 73% of YEAR 11 students attained the new grades 4-9 in both English & Maths
  • 30% of YEAR 11 students attained the equivalent of 3+ A*-A grades

These results, along with other results by individuals and different faculties are very much the product of the partnership between home and school. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of all our staff, without whom this would not have been possible. My congratulations go to each and every one of our young people. I told them to shine, and shine they did! Our current Year 11 students received their GCSE English Literature results in August, and should also be congratulated

  • 80% attained a the new grades 4-9
  • 23% attained a the new grades 7-9

Members of the Senior Leadership Team will be meeting individually with some of them over the next couple of weeks to discuss progress across their subjects and how they can best prepare for the GCSEs in the summer. I would also like to remind all parents about the importance of students spending quality time on their work at home, every night. Even when there is no homework set, all students should be getting into the habit of reviewing the learning from that day.

Our new Year 7 students have settled in to High School very well so far, and today is the first of the Form Retreat days to Linnet Clough. We wish them all the best as they get to know each other, and for the next five years as members of the St James’ community. Can I take this opportunity to remind parents about parking – if you are dropping off or picking up your children, particularly parents of our new Year 7 pupils, please be considerate, as this could avoid any accidents happening as well as showing courtesy for local residents and pedestrian right of way. As I mentioned in last term’s newsletters, we have made arrangements with Manchester Rugby Club to use their parking facilities for our next Open Evening, and I am pleased to say that we have also got their agreement to make similar arrangements for other busy occasions, such as Lower School Presentation Evening. If you are coming yourself to these events, therefore, or if you know anyone else who is coming, could I please encourage you to use either the school car parking facilities or the rugby club, and so avoid any disruption to the local roads or streets.

Regarding Open Evening, this year it is on Thursday 5th October from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. If you know of anyone who would be interested in attending Open Evening, or would like to make an appointment at any other time to come and visit the school, then please encourage them to do so. One of the main reasons St James’ is so popular with prospective parents is because of ‘word of mouth’. Your endorsement is the best form of publicity for the school and it is very much appreciated.

As well as youngsters becoming engaged in school life, parents are welcome to get involved in school life too. The best way is by taking an interest in what your son or daughter is learning in lessons. Have a look at exercise books and ask questions about topics being covered in class. Look at Show My Homework, and discuss the homework that has been set. We expect all parents to read and sign student planners on a weekly basis. If you ever have outstanding concerns, please e-mail the relevant member of staff (details in this newsletter). Finally, all parents are invited to attend the PTA meetings. The first is on Monday 18th September at 6.30pm in the staffroom - new Year 7 parents are particularly welcome. Even if you cannot make the PTA meetings, you can still help out, particularly with tea & coffee at Parents’ Evenings and whole-school events. If you would like to help, please contact the school office and we will pass your details on.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Thank you to Mrs Finch for highlighting this to the school. The link below was used as the focus for our staff reflection last week and makes some very important points. If you have time please do read this.


Finally, thank you to parents/carers for sending their children to St James' so smartly dressed. The vast majority of young our youngsters arrived appropriately dressed for the start of term, but here is a reminder about some of key uniform points:

  • Shoes must be plain black or brown (no boots or trainers) and leather looking, no trainer laces or trainer soles. There are some images on the school website http://www.stjamescatholichighschool.org.uk/files/7114/5408/0093/Uniform_-_shoes.pdf that may be of help when purchasing new shoes. It is impossible to provide a complete list, but if you are in any doubt do contact the school for advice.
  • Skirts should be of a reasonable length, and worn appropriately in the spirit of the uniform policy and the high standards that we all want for our school. If your daughter’s skirt is too short we will contact you and ask that it be changed, or if a girl is seen to have her skirt rolled-up at the waist she will be asked to un-roll it. Any girls who persistently roll up their skirts will be given an appropriate sanction.
  • Make-up, nail varnish, false nails or jewellery are not permitted in school
  • Hair must be of a 'natural' colour; no extreme hairstyles/colours are permitted. Dip-dye styles are not permitted.
  • The scalp should not be clearly visible, so please be aware that a style that is clipped predominantly at grade 1 or 2 tends to produce a hair-cut close to the scalp and could therefore be seen as an extreme hairstyle.