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.’

Year 8 & 9 Study Skills

Thursday 7th January 2016

Over the last two days all Year 8 & 9 students have spent time looking at strategies to help them learn better at school and at home. The sessions have been delivered by Mr Bulfin, Dr Guscott & Mrs Livesey, and the feedback from students & staff  has ben really positive. The main aim of the sessions has been to improve organisational skills and learn practical techniques to boost learning. Students identified potential barriers to learning before looking at techniques like mind mapping and the Pomodoro method of 'chunking' learning into 25 minute slots (http://pomodorotechnique.com). They also reflected on the importance of responding to feedback (green pen), reviewing work every day, revising over time (not just the night before), and being resilient and determined to learn and succeed.

One common issue that arose from the sessions was the relative lack of sleep that some of our students are getting, either because they are going to bed too late or they are spending too much time on thier smart phones, tablets or games consoles. This is a real cause for concern from an educational perspective, as a good night's sleep is such an important factor in a young person's ability to concentrate and learn. We will be doing more work with our students on the importance of sleep, but I would really encourage all parents to ensure that their son or daughter is going to bed and to sleep at a reasonable time, and to limit 'screen time' at night. There is some very good advice for parents on the NHS website - Sleep Tips for Teenagers - http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenssleep/Pages/Teensleeptips.aspx


The presentations used during the Study Skills sessions are below, and you might find them useful to help start discussions at home about how best your child might learn: