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 7

This is a vitally important year in the life of a St James’ pupil, as it is during this year that pupils make lasting friendships and first impressions.  The main priority for the pastoral team in Year 7 is to make sure that pupils settle in smoothly and quickly. We understand that the process can be daunting and that some individuals are more confident and comfortable with the change than others. We try to make sure that pupils are as organised and informed as possible, through clear instructions, discussing the use of planners and having prefects to check that pupils are meeting our high expectations. Form tutors always check that pupils have correct equipment, are ready to learn and using their planner properly so that any early issues with organisation can be addressed.

Pupils are carefully placed into form groups based on lots of different information, including parental requests and important information from the Primary School staff. It is hoped that with the help of the form tutor they will grow as a family throughout their 5 years with us.

In the second week of the school year, pupils have an opportunity to bond with their form on retreat. This is a day packed full of activities and is always a great opportunity to break the ice and understand the culture and spirituality of St James'. By the time the Welcome Mass takes place later on, pupils should already feel like an integral part of the school community. As the year progresses we expect pupils to feel more familiar with the structure of the school and there are plenty of opportunities for pupils to participate in a range of extra-curricular activities. Pupils are also invited to the year 7 disco, which is run by our year 11 prefects. Again, this is an opportunity for pupils to socialise and get to know each other, outside of the normal working school day.

To enable even greater academic progress to be achieved, a homework club and a reading club are available weekly. Additional help, such as the Shine maths club, can also help pupils achieve. Overall, the Year 7 pastoral team want every member of their year to feel safe, happy and comfortable with the transition from primary to secondary school.