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 Two

Monday 3rd November 2014

On Monday morning we visited Essex Farm. This was the site where John McCrae wrote his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields'. We learnt that he was a Canadian doctor on the Western Front, and wrote the poem on May 3, 1915. We also saw the grave is Joe Strudwick, a 15-year-old who died in the Great War. This allowed us to consider the reasons why young men went to war. Some of the suggested reasons included peer pressure, the opportunity for a better life, and the chance to fight for your country. Essex Farm really helped us to put our knowledge and understanding of war into context, when it comes to real lives.

We then went to Tyne Cot cemetery and Josh found his Great, Great Uncle's name on the wall of missing soldiers. He felt honoured to put a photograph by his name, but Josh did feel sad because his Great, Great Uncle, William Toner, was only five years older than Josh when he died.
Our next stop was Sanctuary Wood, where we visited the British trenches and had an opportunity to experience the condition that soldiers had to cope with on a daily basis. The trenches were extremely wet and muddy, causing many soldiers to get trench foot. We were given the opportunity to walk through a trench system and under a communication tunnel, which was very scary for some of us, being so dark and gloomy. Overall I think that if I was a British soldier in the First World War I would not have liked it as not only were the conditions in the trenches so horrific, but they also had huge rats which spread infections and diseases.
We then visited the Passchendaele Museum which we all found to be very interesting as we were able to handle original artefacts and wear parts of soldiers' uniforms. We were also able to experience the museum's dugouts and trenches to get an even clearer understanding of what life was like for a World War I soldier. The dugouts included sleeping chambers, workshops, and offices. The dugouts were mainly for the use of high ranking officers. 
On Monday morning we visited Essex Farm. Although we had to imagine how dirty and muddy the dugouts would have been, the outdoor trench system gave us a much better insight of life for World War I soldier.
The final event of the day was a visit to the Menin Gate, where we were all very proud to see James Breckell, Tom Newsome, Jayne Jewsbury and Rebecca Chantler, wearing full school uniform and laying wreaths during the daily Last Post ceremony. The wreaths were dedicated to Joshua's great great uncle and a distant relative of Jenny's, Joseph Gibbons, whose grave we had also visited earlier that day. The wreaths were also dedicated to all those soldiers who died during the great war, particularly those whose names were written at the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot cemetery, as missing soldiers. This experience was really emotional and made us think about how many British soldiers didn't return home. The messages written were heartfelt and warming, and gave the evening a very poignant feeling. The number of names written on the Menin Gate memorial was overwhelming for all of us.