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.’

NAtional Careers Week & Year 7 Parents Evening

Monday 13th March 2017

Tomorrow is the first GCSE Art exam, the PE GCSE moderation day is on Friday, and all students will receive the results from last week’s English, Maths & Science Spring exams as soon as they have been marked. We have been pleased with the progress made by the majority of Year 11, but exam preparation continues with the distribution of personalised revision plans on Friday, to commence on Monday 20th March. If there are any questions or concerns about the revision plans, please contact Mrs Livesey, Assistant Headteacher for Progress. There are only 37 school days left until the start of the GCSE exams, so time should be spent constructively.

Last week was National Careers Week and Form Tutors used form-time to discuss all different aspects of careers and the ‘world of work’ with their pupils. Mrs Grainger, our Careers Co-ordinator, distributed information, presentations and website links for them to use, and we have also introduced a Careers “drop in” every Friday in room 60 for any student in Years 7-10 . If you have any questions about our careers education, or if you feel you are able to contribute to this important area of school, please contact Mrs Grainger at helen.grainger@st-jamescatholic.stockport.sch.uk

Thank you to all those parents and carers who attended Year 7 Parents’ Evening last week.

It was a very busy evening, with more than 95% attendance. I had many very positive conversations with parents about how well their child has settled in at St James’ and I very much appreciated all the supportive comments regarding the incident with the other week. The comments on the the Governors’ questionnaires were very positive, and I received a lovely email from a parent on Friday thanking the teachers have done for her daughter:

‘(She) has come to St James' hardly knowing a soul and certainly did not know anybody in her year group, so it was a very scary prospect sending her on her own, but we cannot believe how well she has settled and how much she already feels a part of St James'.

You can tell from speaking to every single teacher that they personally remember (her) and she is not just a name on a list in front of them and that means so much to us to know. All the staff are genuinely so enthusiastic about their subject areas and that has such a positive impact on (her), making her want to strive to do her best and even enjoying some subjects that she was sure she wouldn't like or be very good at.’

It is really good to receive such positive feedback, and all of the feedback given on the questionnaires will be discussed at the next Governors Curriculum & Pupils Sub-Committee meeting in May.  

Thank you to those parents who have been in touch regarding last week’s newsletter and the importance of sleep. Responses have been very supportive, with some parents thanking us for raising the issue with the students. If you didn’t get chance to see last Monday’s Panorama programme on BBC, please do try and watch it on catch-up. The programme was entitled ‘Sleepless Britain’ and it was giving exactly the same message that we have been trying to give – ‘Our children are exhausted. Britain's kids are going to bed later and sleeping less, and hospital visits triggered by poor sleep have tripled in ten years. This is playing havoc with children's health and education, causing obesity, problems for parents and teachers, and even family breakdowns.’

The next meeting of the PTA is tonight, Monday 13th March, at 6.30pm in the staffroom – all welcome.