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.’

Substance Abuse Policy

Monday 6th March 2017

Following on from my letter last week, regarding the incident on Tuesday morning, I would like to thank all those parents and friends of the school who have come forward with words of support and encouragement. Several parents have thanked me for the way in which we shared information, ensuring that as far as possible none of our pupils were overly anxious or concerned.  Other parents have commented on how the incident has further facilitated conversations at home about the dangers of recreational drugs and the need to equip our children with the information and knowledge to make safe and healthy choices. As I said in my letter, we are committed to enabling all students to study in a school environment entirely free of recreational drugs and the misuse of alcohol. Whilst it would be wrong of me to share specific information about any individual students involved, I would like to reiterate that we are dealing with the matter appropriately and within the full extent of the following section of the St James’ Catholic High School substance abuse policy:


  • Distribution, sharing or selling of inappropriate substances in a school context will lead to an immediate fixed term exclusion and could lead to permanent exclusion.
  • Use of inappropriate substances in a school context could lead to a fixed term exclusion and could lead to permanent exclusion.


Last week also happened to be our Year 11 Parents’ evening, and I would like to thank all the parents and carers who attended. It was a very busy evening, with much to discuss with regards to the remaining weeks of school, before the GCSE exams start. As one of our parents tweeted afterwardsit was a great parents evening. Lots of positives about getting focussed on the next few months. #focusonthepositives.

It is our Year 7 Parents’ Evening this Thursday, and I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Year 11 Spring exams take place this week – Year 11 Maths & Science on Monday, Year 11 English Literature & Maths on Tuesday, Year 11 English Language & Science on Wednesday and Year 10 English Literature & Year 11 Maths on Friday. I spoke with Year 11 in assembly on Friday morning, about the incident on Tuesday morning, but also about our very real concerns that too many of them are spending far too much time on their phones and social media, and they are not getting enough sleep. Could I ask parents once again to monitor your child’s social media and limit the amount of time they are spending on their phones or tablets. Ideally they should be leaving their phones downstairs when they go to bed, and turning them off at least an hour before going to sleep.