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.’

Masses and Liturgy

We are lucky to have the support of the priests from our six local parishes who come into school regularly throughout the year.  They celebrate Mass with us, and give students the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. There are opportunities for prayer and worship throughout the school year, with special services to mark key times in the Christian year.

Whole School Masses

We have a whole school Mass to celebrate Christmas and the end of the school year, and to celebrate Holy Days that fall in term time. The RE faculty work closely with Mrs Bennett and other staff to plan these Masses, and there is a lot of student involvement. Students deliver readings, lead us in our musical worship, and write bidding prayers.

Year Group Masses

To mark the beginning and end of students’ time at St. James, we have a Year 7 Welcome Mass for students and families, and a Year 11 Leavers Mass. For these Masses, forms and form tutors work with Mrs Bennett and the RE faculty, with each form planning and delivering a different section of the Mass; leading to a joyful celebration of Mass.

Voluntary Masses

Every half term a voluntary Mass is celebrated at 8.30 in the Chapel. This is open to all students and staff and is well attended.

Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer is offered every Wednesday morning, at 8.35 in the Chapel. Staff and students are timetabled to plan and lead this time of prayer on a voluntary basis. All staff and students are warmly invited to join us for this time of prayer, and all forms attend morning prayer once during the school year.

Advent and Lent

During these times of preparation, all students attend a service in the Chapel led by Mrs Bennett. These services offer students the opportunity to reflect more deeply on Christmas and Easter. During Lent, all students in Year 8 and 9 have a reconciliation service, with the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation from one of the priests.

Easter Liturgies

At the end of the Easter term, students from across the school deliver an Easter liturgy to each year group. This draws together the musical and dramatic talents of our students, and gives the school community the opportunity to prepare more deeply for Easter and to reflect on what Easter means to us as a community and to them personally.

Remembrance Day

Students work with Mrs Bennett to plan and deliver a Remembrance Service. Residents from Abbeyfield Residential Home are invited to attend this service, and two representatives from each form attend the service in the Chapel.