Catholic Schools Inspection
In November 2022 we were inspected under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005. This inspection evaluates the quality of Religious Education and the Catholic nature of our school. We were extremely pleased to have been graded as GOOD overall, with two of the three main judgements graded as OUTSTANDING.
KEY STRENGTHS OF THE SCHOOL INCLUDE:
- The pastoral provision is exceptional
- The school is extremely welcoming, and the sense of community is palpable
- ... (Gospel) values are lived out, permeate the school and are exemplified by strong positive relationships resulting in a united and joyful community
- Chaplaincy provision is outstanding, creative and multi-faceted
- Staff have excellent relationships with students
- There is exceptional readiness to take on roles of leadership, responsibility and service resulting in a strong community that reflects the diversity of St Mary's
- Students are extremely respectful
- Student leadership opportunities are varied and extensive
- Formation of the children is strong, and faith is lived and breathed. This epitomises the culture of the school
- Student participation and conduct in liturgical celebration is exemplary
- Enrichment opportunities are extensive
“Students clearly understand they are part of a Catholic family whose core values come from Jesus. They embrace this, value it highly and actively contribute... In essence, students find the school's ethos inspiring.”
Summary of key findings
Overall effectiveness (The overall quality of Catholic education provided by the school): 2 (GOOD)
- Catholic life and mission (How faithfully the school responds to the call to live as a Catholic community at the service of the Church's educational mission: 1 (OUTSTANDING)
- Religious education (The quality of curriculum religious education): 2 (GOOD)
- Collective worship (The quality and range of liturgy and prayer provided by the school): 1 (OUTSTANDING)
What the school does well:
- The pastoral provision is exceptional and is founded on the school's mission that is lived and permeates the whole school
- There are extensive and varied opportunities for students to give witness to their faith through acts of collective worship and service to the most vulnerable in society
- Chaplaincy provision is embedded and is at the heart of developing students' and staff personal and spiritual growth
What the school needs to improve:
- To close the gap between the performance of Religious Studies and other core subjects in the school
- To take the opportunity to adapt and improve schemes of work and resources in Religious Studies as the new 'Religious Education Directory' is finalised by the Bishops' Conference.
- To further develop the explicit signposting of Catholic Social Teaching, already embedded in religious education and SMSC provision within the wider curriculum of the school
Our recent visit from Ofsted confirmed our school continues to be a GOOD school.
Their report clearly validates what we already know about our outstanding school family. Extracts from the report include:
- “This is a school where pupils are confident, full of life, and considerate of others. Pupils are known well and cared about. Pupils behave well and work hard in class.”
- “Pupils said that they feel safe and can be themselves in this school community. Bullying almost never happens.”
- “Pupils said the wider curriculum is a strength of the school. It provides them many new experiences. Staff go out of their way to provide pupils with extra activities and school trips. Pupils use these opportunities to find out about the wider world and what they enjoy and are good at.”
- Staff help all pupils to access the curriculum equally. Most parents and carers of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are full of praise for the school. They say their children receive excellent support from staff. They achieve well.”
- “Pupils develop as good and successful citizens. They learn how to contribute and make a difference to the world in which we live.”
- “Pupils pay attention, try hard and behave well in lessons. This good behaviour extends beyond lessons. Pupils are happy and orderly between lessons, and at break and lunchtime.”
- “Most pupils achieve well in their examinations, across almost all subjects. This includes pupils with SEND, who move on to well-chosen courses after Year 11. Disadvantaged pupils’ examination results are improving year on year.”
An overwhelming number of parents endorsed the school through the Ofsted online survey saying how safe and well taught their children are at the school. Good teaching, challenging problems and diligent marking ensure that students are eager to learn, achieve well and are proud of their school. High quality care and support, and a family atmosphere promote a high level of attendance and a good standard of behaviour.
We are so pleased that Ofsted has seen the fantastic achievements of our pupils, their determination to work hard and succeed, and the dedication of their teachers. The inspectors confirmed just how good our school really is – we are thrilled!
Headteacher, Nicola Oddie