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.’

Legacy 110 Battlefields Visit

Friday 16th October 2015

On Monday 12th October the World War One Centenary tour set off to Belgium. Our first stop was Lijessenthoek cemetery. There were nearly 10,000 graves in this particular cemetery, but we visited the only female grave in there. This was the grave of Nellie Spindler. She had been killed by German shelling that had reached behind the lines. Our second stop in Belgium was the 'In Flanders Field' museum at the Cloth Hall in Ypres. During the war Ypres had been destroyed. Using money from the reparations Germany was expected to pay after the war Ypres was reconstructed to how it was before 1914. In the museum pupils could follow individual stories of soldiers who fought. To my surprise I came across (by coincidence) a soldier who came from where I grew up in Buxton, Derbyshire. His name was Private Edward Yates and he had only just turned 16 when he was killed. He is buried in Potijze burial ground in Ypres. He had enlisted in Derby at the young age of 14. The same age of the pupils who were visiting. After the Cloth Hall pupils were able to watch the Menin Gate ceremony. This takes place every evening at 8pm. As part of the centenary commemorations the memorial service highlights an individual who was part of the war effort. This evening the focus was on Edith Cavell. Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was subsequently court-martialled, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.


Edith Cavell

On Tuesday 13th October the focus moved away from Belgium and instead looked at the Somme battlefields in which pupils were asked to consider whether the Battle of the Somme was really a disaster for the British army. Our first visit was to Newfoundland Park. In this memorial park pupils were told about events on the 1st July 1916 focusing on the Newfoundland regiment. After Newfoundland Park pupils moved onto the Sunken Road. Many pupils will be familiar with images from the Sunken Road in their classes as the East Lancashire Regiment were photographed there just before the attack on the 1st July 1916.


Men from the Lancashire Fusiliers on the 1st July 1916 before the attack.

This particular location was significant as one of our pupils Harvey Conduit had a connection with it. His father has been researching this particular regiment and found a great deal of information on Private Frank Halliwell. It is just possible that one of the men photographed that morning is Frank. Harvey was able to visit his grave at Beaumont Hamel cemetery to pay his respects.
After the Sunken road our next visit was to the Thiepval memorial. This memorial commemorates the 72,000 names of the missing on the Somme. We were also able to explore Thiepval wood. Only last week a burial took place at Connaught cemetery after the remains of Sgt David Harkness Blakey were discovered when the road was widened in the area.
On the 14th October we made our final visits in Belgium where I was given the opportunity to visit the grave of Private Edward Yates from Buxton. After this visit we went on to the Passchendaele museum which has a particular focus on the battles that took place on the Ypres Salient, especially the 3rd Battle of Ypres, also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. After the visit at Passchendaele we visited the German cemetery at Langemark and pupils were asked for their observations on this cemetery compared with the British war graves. Pupils were able to give very insightful responses as to why the German cemetery differed so much with the British war graves. Our last visit before heading home was to Tyne Cot cemetery. This is the biggest British cemetery in the world. Pupils took part in a very poignant memorial service here. It was only after this that we made the journey that many of the soldiers were unable to make one hundred years ago and that was the journey home back to 'Blighty'.
St James will now be taking part in the World War One project legacy 110. We will be shortly returning to the Battlefields with pupils exclusively from St. James. Please look out for more details and information.
Mrs Louise Birch (Head of History)