The Catholic Schools Inspectorate

Under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005 the Bishop has the right to inspect any Catholic school or college within his Diocese to evaluate the quality of Religious Education and the Catholic nature of the school. In conducting inspections, each diocese is exercising a pastoral function on behalf of their Bishop. Inspection is one of the ways a Bishop acts as a shepherd of his schools, protecting, supporting and encouraging  them. For this reason, dioceses also have  a canonical and legal responsibility to  ensure that the inspection of their schools  witnesses to Catholic values and are compatible with both the teachings of the  Church and the law of the land. Dioceses will exercise this responsibility by  appointing accredited inspectors who are  able to carry out this pastoral and legal  function effectively.  

In November 2019, the Bishops’ Conference  unanimously agreed to a National  Framework for the Inspection of Catholic  Schools, Colleges and Academies. This  provided, inter alia, for all inspectors  to be accredited, on behalf of every  diocesan bishop, in accordance with a  nationally agreed protocol approved by the  Department of Education and Formation,  to inspect in any diocese. 

When an inspector carries out an inspection,  they are acting on behalf of the Bishop in  whose diocese the school is situated. For this reason, they must be able to act with integrity as his representative and must therefore be practising Catholics in full communion with the Catholic Church 

The Framework enables us to celebrate our heritage and tradition of excellence in Catholic education at the service of the Church’s mission to the world. To read our most recent Catholic Schools Inspection report, please click on the link below.


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.


  • 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.”

Diocesan Report

Updated: 07/12/2022 541 KB

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