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.’

Make Some Noise!

Monday 25th September 2017

As you are aware, it is our Open Evening next Thursday, 5th October. To enable us to prepare the school for prospective parents and pupils we shall be closing early at 1.15pm. 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 new 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 mentioned in last week’s newsletter the Careers Convention for Year 11 students and their parents is taking place in the school Hall this Thursday, between 5.30pm and 7.00pm. Letters have also been sent out, and I look forward to seeing as many parents and students (in full school uniform) there as possible.


This Thursday our Year 10 students are also having study lessons, where we will be giving them more support and advice about the best ways to study and revise over the next two years. Perhaps the best piece of advice is that revision should be something that they are doing continuously, revisiting work that they have done that day or that week. Please do talk to your son or daughter about the Study Day, to reinforce the messages that they have been given.


On Friday 13th October  we are holding our annual rewards trip to Alton Towers, recognising the excellent ‘Attitude to Learning’ and ‘Readiness to Learn’  that so many of our students demonstrated in the last academic year. Congratulations to them all. For more information about our Rewards and Behaviour Policies please see the school website http://www.stjamescatholichighschool.org.uk/. If you have any questions then do contact us. Your support in the implementation of these policies is much appreciated.


On Saturday Mrs Bennett and Mrs Livesey took seven pupils by minibus to Thornleigh Salesian College, Bolton, for games, outdoor activities and prayer. The event was entitled "Make Some Noise" after a quotation from Pope Francis, and was organised by the Salesian Youth Ministry team and volunteers. Events included a fairground attraction, a bungee run and a zip wire. Many other groups of young people from other schools and establishments joined together for a final Mass. Well done to those youngsters who attended, and who were a credit to our school – Nathan Azarius, Kieran Man, Katie O’Callaghan, Noah Sutherland, Joanne Beesley, Sophie Egerton & Donna Neale Fairey.


One of the reasons achievement is so high at St James’ is because attendance is excellent. Our final attendance figure for 2016-17 was 95.6%, which was 0.5% higher than the previous year, and I would like to thank parents for being so supportive. The main legitimate reason for absence is illness.  Please be aware that Headteachers are no longer able to authorise holidays in term time, and may grant leave of absence ONLY if they are satisfied exceptional circumstances exist. Our attendance policy can also be viewed on our school website at. If you are in any doubt about holiday dates, please check on the school website before you book, or simply ring school. The holiday pattern does change from year to year, so it is always worth checking.


Finally, today we welcome four trainee teachers from MMU, who will be completing their Block A placements with us - Rachel Myers (PE), Matthew Flynn (History), Jessica Knowles (Science) & Bradley Poulton (RE). We wish them the very best, and I am sure they will enjoy their time at St James’.