We are extremely proud of the improvements we have made as a school in the last few years and we are currently graded as good by Ofsted, outstanding by Challenge Partners and outstanding in our Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS).The Ofsted report cites, “Teaching across the school is typically good. Teachers plan interesting, imaginative lessons which pupils enjoy”. The report also states that, “The school provides a wealth of opportunities to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. These values underpin the curriculum and are at the core of the school’s ethos.” This statement is reflected in our recent Statutory Inspection of Anglian Schools (SIAMS) where we were graded as outstanding. The SIAMS report demonstrates the strong Christian ethos, the high standards in the teaching of Religious Education (RE) and the quality of Collective Worship.
More recently in February 2018, St James had its first Challenge Partners Quality Assurance Review which lasted three days. We joined Challenge Partners, a national network of schools, in July 2017 in order to support the monitoring and evaluation of our overall effectiveness. The Review team involved three external professionals one of whom is an experienced Ofsted Inspector. The review focused on the quality of teaching and learning in the school and the progress of pupils. We are absolutely delighted to announce that at the end of the review the school was awarded an “outstanding” grade. Here are some of the comments from the report:
- The school’s motto of ‘raising learners in excellence and godly character’ permeates the caring, aspirational atmosphere generated throughout the school.
- The vibrant environment in classrooms enhances learning.
- Teachers have secure subject knowledge. This enables them to plan and deliver exciting lessons.
- Engagement in all lessons is high because pupils have high aspirations. They want to live up to their teachers’ high expectations.
- Questioning is suitably probing.
- A detailed scrutiny of pupils’ books affirms the quality of teaching. Presentation is extremely neat and the standard and quantity of work demonstrate positive progress in all year groups. Teachers’ comments are meaningful, pointing pupils in the right direction to make greater progress.
- Pupils are motivated learners and, to further their learning away from the classroom, they willingly complete their homework, taking it very seriously. When asked if they ever failed to complete it, they were incredulous at the mere suggestion.
- Pupils love coming to school, describing it as ‘exciting, fun and inspiring’. They benefit from very caring relationships with their teachers, with one pupil suggesting, ‘teachers seem like they’re part of your family’.
We have achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark Centre of Excellence. This demonstrates the excellent achievements our school makes in improving the outcomes of all pupils; “Pupils achieve well and staff work very hard to ensure they are continually improving”. A similar report was reflected in the Basics Skills Quality Mark (BSQM) assessment in February 2016. The school passed the assessment with flying colours and the report states, “This small school is both forward looking and flexible with structures which encourage quick response to the identified needs of different pupils. It is not complacent; proactively seeking to identify ways of further developing pedagogy and practice in the light of ongoing review”.