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.’

Western Front Battlfields Trip Day Three

Tuesday 4th November 2014

image.jpgWe have visited several different cemeteries over the last few days, all holding different nationalities of soldiers. On Monday we visited the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the biggest British war cemetery in the world, holding around 12,000 graves. All the graves were white, symbolising peace, and had rounded tops to make the cemetery seem less harsh on the eye. The amount of graves was really astonishing and was very hard to take in. After Tyne Cot we visited Langemark Cemetery, which is a German war cemetery. There was a huge contrast between the two different cemeteries, showing how differently Germany was affected by the war. We didn't realise when we entered the cemetery that we were standing by a mass grave holding more than 25,000 German soldiers. None of the soldiers were buried individually. We found this very hard to believe, but it just showed us the reality of war. All the German graves were black, which made the atmosphere far more somber. We all found visiting the British century a much more welcoming and hopeful experience.

Today we visited the Thiepval Memorial, the largest War Memorial in the world. We laid a wreath to the many thousand fallen soldiers. Patrick laid the wreath, as unfortunately we were unable to visit his Great, Great Uncle's grave. He felt extremely proud and honoured to be able to pay his respects to all of the soldiers, and to reflect on just how his Great, Great uncle, Private William Oakey died, on 4 November 1916 – exactly 98 years ago to this day. This made the moment even more special for Patrick.

On our walk to Sheffield Cemetery we saw some shells that had not been activated during the war and had recently been dug up by a farmer. We also saw many small craters which had been caused by exploding shells, yet again making the war seem relevant to us as the damage is still here today. When we got into the cemetery Alan, our tour guide, told us all about its history and surrounding. He focused particularly on the grave of Alf Goodlad, who was from the Lancaster Regiment. We read the words inscribed at the bottom of his gravestone, where his parents had chosen the words from the last letter that he had sent to them. This was emotionally impacting because so many soldiers have been killed, and it helps us to imagine what it must of been like from the soldiers' and the parents' point of view. Overall we thought the cemetery had a very somber and real atmosphere.

We also visited the Newfoundland Memorial park. This is a Canadian War Memorial Centre. When we arrived we were met and told the rules of the park. As we walked in through the entrance we really got the feeling of a weight on you, due to the fact of how many people had died for Queen and country. The moving story behind Newfoundland Memorial park was how both armies used different coloured flares to communicate to their reserve trenches. The Germans fired a white flare into the air and the British thought that it was one of their flares, telling them that all was well and that more soldiers should be sent to the front earlier than planned. The initial wave of Irish soldiers had been all but wiped out, and 800 Canadians were then sent over the top, most of whom were injured or killed immediately, as the Germans were covering the only hole in the barbed wire with their machine guns. Where the gap once was, a tree stump is still visible, known as the 'danger tree.' The whole experience was very thought provoking, as we reflected on how easily soldiers were killed in great numbers.

We also visited the Lochnagar Crater, the largest of the British craters. This crater also helps us to understand the effect that war had on the countryside. It helped us understand the tactics used by British forces. We found this crater to be very interesting, even more so we found out that British soldiers had to be silent while digging the tunnel towards the German frontline. The only way to do this was to use a spoon, and this would have made the process very, very long. The Germans lost 200 men in this explosion, although it did not have the intended impact.

Our last visit of the day was to the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge, honouring all those who died in that battle. The monument had very impressive large pillars and statues, representing the different qualities of the soldiers. It also displays sculptures including Mother Canada, mourning her fallen sons. It was a truly moving experience to witness the emotions which many mothers back home in Canada would've been feeling almost 100 years ago.