Section 48 Inspection Report
The inspection involves looking at key areas of the school: outcomes for pupils, effectiveness of governors and leaders, provision for pupils within Catholic life and Mission, Collective Worship and Religious Education. In 7 our of the 9 areas, we received a ‘good’ grading.
Summary of key findings
What the school does well
• The pastoral care the school provides is clearly a strength, meeting the needs of the community and responding to changing situations. All leaders and staff are committed to supporting the most vulnerable.
• There is a strong team who are all fully committed to further developing the school.
• After a lengthy period of turbulence and disruption the school now has strong leadership which has led to stabilisation and a clear direction for the school within the community, supported by the Cardinal Newman Catholic Educational Trust which they have recently joined.
• Catholic life and mission is strong and clearly drives this inclusive and welcoming school.
Further findings from the report
Catholic Life and Mission
- Pupils appreciate being part of St Nicholas’s school.
- Pupils feel valued and cared for, leading to them developing a strong sense of worth. They enjoy coming to school.
- The mission statement is rooted in gospel values and clearly drives the school.
- The school has worked hard to build relationships with their families and as a result there is strong sense of community.
- The pupils are clear that all are welcome at the school no matter from which culture, language, faith or none.
- The pupils are caring and supportive to those with additional needs.
- Staff support each other well and are good role models for pupils, leading to strong relationships.
- The pastoral care for all is a strength of the school, with staff and pupils appreciating and valuing the diverse ways individuals are supported.
- There are growing parish links and the principal and parish priest work hard to ensure that this remains a priority.
- Communication with parents is good.
- Staff feel cared for and valued and appreciate the commitment to their wellbeing by the principal.
- Parents say that ‘the staff are friendly and easy to talk to.’
- The physical environment is bright and provides an exciting learning environment for pupils.
- Behaviour across the school is good.
- Some pupils are developing appropriate knowledge, skills and understanding of the religious education curriculum.
- There are opportunities for pupils to reflect each week leading to some pupils’ awareness of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.
- Religious vocabulary is highlighted in most lessons and some pupils are able to use this to articulate their learning
- Opportunities for recall enable pupils to show their knowledge and understanding.
- Some teachers show effective questioning skills to extend pupil understanding and knowledge.
- Pupils are aware of how well they are doing and how to improve their learning through feedback during lessons and marking in books.
- Teachers across the school show confidence in their subject knowledge.
- Teachers and teaching assistants are swift to praise pupil effort and encourage pupils to extend their learning
- Teaching assistants are highly respected and work well with individual pupils, they are particularly effective in recording pupil comments during class discussions
- Most pupils respond well to prayer and liturgy in whole school and class worship.
- Many pupils sing enthusiastically and respond to prayer.
- All behave with reverence and respect in all forms of worship.
- Pupils appreciate the framework that they have been introduced to which guides their worship and this has given them increased confidence.
- Some pupils are able to articulate how prayer is influenced by the wider life of the school and the chaplaincy team can explain how this leads to action, for example how the mission section of the framework leads to action.
- Weekly whole school worship, weekly class reflections and regular chaplaincy team led prayer as well as prayer at the start of staff gatherings ensure that it is a meaningful part of school life.
- There is a dedicated communal prayer space where pupils and staff can sit quietly and reflect. This is a beautiful area that is well kept and appreciated by all.
- The chaplaincy team are proud to lead prayer and worship and train others.
- There are regular opportunities to attend Mass in the church over the year including holy days of obligation.