Dear Parents and Carers

We have now received our OFSTED Inspection Report which will be published later this week.

As you may be aware the inspection was carried out under a new OFSTED Inspection Framework which was introduced in September this year.  This is the first time St Mary’s has been inspected since we became an academy.

As an 11-18 school. there are five areas of OFSTED judgement.

The report very positively identifies the impact of the changes we have made to the systems and structures in our College and the improvements these have brought about

About behaviour in lessons and around college, OFSTED said

“Pupils have told us that behaviour has improved a lot because staff have the same expectations and apply the school’s rules fairly.”

“Pupils behave well during breaks and lunchtimes.  They are typically respectful of each other and their teachers.”

“Pupils who spoke with us said that they feel safe. They told us bullying does not happen very often.  If it does, they say that staff sort it out quickly.”

About the quality of leadership and management, OFSTED said
“Senior leaders have made a real difference to the school since it became an academy.  The large majority of parents and carers are positive about the improvements that have taken place.  Leaders ensure that staff receive high-quality training.”

“Leaders and governors want pupils to do as well as they can.”

“Leaders identify and cater for pupils with special educational needs and/or Disabilities (SEND) increasingly well.”

“Leaders have made changes to the key stage 4 curriculum so that more pupils can study a foreign language.”

About our Sixth Form OFSTED said

“Leaders and staff ensure that pupils and sixth-form students are cared for well.”

“Students in the sixth form behave very well. They benefit from small classes and feel well supported with their learning. They benefit from the opportunity to choose from a wide range of academic and vocational subjects.”

“Leaders have improved schemes of work in the sixth form and provided subject-specific training for teachers. Consequently, students are learning and remembering more.”

About our commitment to the Personal Development of our pupils OFSTED said

“Pupils enjoy taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and a wide-range of after-school activities, including sport and drama.”

“Pupils relish the opportunity to go on trips and visits and raise money for charities.”

“Pupils are taught about safety through the curriculum.  They know how to keep themselves safe, including when they are online.”

Consequently inspectors judged that the three areas of Leadership and Management, Personal Development and our Sixth Form are all Good.


One area of judgement for the inspectors is Behaviour and attitudes.

It may not be evident in the title of this judgement but the attendance of pupils is a significant element of this judgement.  As you will be aware we are unrelenting in our focus on improving attendance in our College.  This was also acknowledged by OFSTED.

“Staff are working tirelessly to improve the attendance of pupils.”

Despite the numerous positive comments regarding our pupils’ behaviour and positive attitudes towards learning, the inspectors said that until our attendance improves further this would have to be judged as requires improvement.

A critical area of judgement in the new framework is the Quality of Education.  Given its importance there are 16 aspects that are identified under the Good criteria with the inspectors allowed to make a best fit judgement overall.

We were judged to meet 14 out of the 16 Good criteria but the inspectors said that their best fit judgement was requires improvement.  They identified that we do not currently teach computing in Key Stage 3 and this needs to be addressed.  We explained the benefits of our Key Stage 3 Aspire curriculum and that we believed that as an academy we had some discretion in what was taught but that we were happy to review this going forward.

Separately, although the inspectors acknowledged how much better the current situation was in school and that our results in public examinations are improving they were not yet good enough.  We agreed with this but explained our understanding that they were here to judge the learning evident in lessons and books now which shows that results will improve further.

Nevertheless, they judged these two areas as limiting the judgement for quality of education to requires improvement.

This judgement limited the overall judgement to requires improvement as the quality of education cannot be judged as less than Good to get Good overall.  So, despite the very positive report overall with more Good areas than those judged requires improvement we were understandably very disappointed.

Our view is that the interpretation of the new framework by the team was not accurate and we have raised our concerns formally with OFSTED and are awaiting their response.

The full report is available via the link:

or by going to our College website and clicking on the OFSTED link.

Please do take the time to read the full report.  I think you will agree that there are so many positive things that this report recognises about our commitment to give your children the very best education.

Yours faithfully

Mr A Boyle