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.’

East Africa Appeal & School Funding

Monday 20th March 2017

You will have seen or read the news about the devastating famine in East Africa. Millions of families are facing starvation because of drought, lack of food, and civil war, and the UN has warned that the world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. As a Catholic community we very much see it as part of our mission to respond to situations such as this, in whatever way we can. On Friday 24th March, therefore, we will be holding a non-uniform day, with a minimum donation of £1 per pupil. The donations will go directly to CAFOD’s East Africa Crisis Appeal. We will also be holding a collection after the Year 11 Mass of Celebration on Thursday, and I am sure that you will also continue to keep all those affected by this famine in your prayers.


The Year 11 personalised revision plans were handed out last Friday, and copies have also been posted home to parents. As the exam preparation starts to really intensify, we are holding our Year 11 Mass of Celebration on Thursday evening, to ask God to be with our young people during this important time and to thank Him for all of the gifts and opportunities that He has provided them with. I look forward to seeing families and friends there, to help us celebrate this fantastic group of young men and women.


As I have previously reported to you, the Government is consulting on the second stage of a national fairer-funding formula for schools. For many years now, Stockport has been a part of the f40 group of local authorities, lobbying for a better deal for its schools. In 2015 the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) calculated that the 10 best-funded areas on average received grants of £6,297 per pupil, compared with an average of just £4,208 per pupil in the 10 most poorly funded areas, including Stockport. The Government has now accepted that there is a need to address this inequality, and is consulting on a proposed formula that still does not address the inequalities in the system. The consultation finishes on Wednesday 22nd March, but you can still write to or email your MP to ask why Stockport has been, and still will be, so poorly funded, and to ask them to lobby the Government to put more money in the system. You can find a copy of the letter sent out before half-term, as well as an idea for a letter or email to your MP, on the school website: http://www.stjamescatholichighschool.org.uk/key-information/letters/. Do please personalise your letter in some way, though, otherwise it may be discarded. 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, or the response from the f40 group of local authorities: http://www.f40.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/f40-Fair-Funding-Briefing-15-Feb-2017.pdf.  As reported on the BBC at the end of last week (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39292344), education is facing a real funding crisis. Thank you to those parents who have already contacted their MP.


If you would like to complete the consultation you can find it at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/ A summary of the school’s responses can be seen below, for a guide. Again, each response should be personalised in some way, so Question 14 is the best place to do this.