John F Kennedy Catholic School
phone: 01442 266150
headteacher: Mr Paul Neves
1243 pupils capacity: 89% full
530 boys 48%
580 girls 52%
Last updated: June 19, 2014
Secondary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 503602, Northing: 207804
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.759, Longitude: -0.50032
- Accepting pupils
- 11—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Oct. 18, 2012
- Archdiocese of Westminster
- Region › Const. › Ward
- East of England › Hemel Hempstead › Chaulden and Warners End
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Technology (Operational)
- Language second specialism
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.1 miles Martindale Primary and Nursery School HP12QS
- 0.3 miles Micklem Primary School HP12QH (178 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Rossgate Primary School HP13JY
- 0.5 miles Galley Hill Primary School and Nursery HP13JY (334 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Chaulden Junior School HP12JU
- 0.6 miles Chaulden Infants' and Nursery HP12JU (151 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Chaulden Junior School HP12JU (137 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Pixies Hill Primary School HP12BY (205 pupils)
- 0.7 miles The Cavendish School HP13DW (1050 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Gade Valley Junior Mixed Infant and Nursery School HP13DT (228 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Cuthbert Mayne Catholic Junior School HP13EA (234 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Boxmoor Primary School HP11PF (236 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Rose's Catholic Infants School HP11QW (212 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Lockers Park School HP11TL (146 pupils)
- 0.9 miles The Collett School HP11TQ (116 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Heath Lane Nursery School HP11TT (78 pupils)
- 1.1 mile South Hill Primary School HP11TT (240 pupils)
- 1.2 mile The Hemel Hempstead School HP11TX (1139 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Boxmoor House School HP30DF
- 1.3 mile Roman Fields HP30DF (33 pupils)
- 1.4 mile George Street Primary School HP25HJ (234 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Potten End CofE Primary School HP42QY (165 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Westbrook Hay Prep School HP12RF (291 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Bellgate Primary School HP25QR
John F Kennedy Catholic School
Hollybush Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 2PH
|Inspection dates||18–19 October 2012|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| Students achieve well and gain good results, |
Teaching is typically good and some is
The sixth form is good. It offers a good range
particularly in mathematics and religious
outstanding. Most teachers use their skills
and subject knowledge very well, ask
perceptive questions to check students’
understanding and adapt lessons as
appropriate to enable them to progress
of academic and other subjects that meet
students’ needs. Students remain for the
duration of their courses and gain good
| Teachers and students enjoy good |
Behaviour and safety are good. Students say
The newly appointed headteacher has
The governing body works effectively with the
relationships which create a very positive
climate for learning.
bullying is rare, that they get on well together
and that they feel safe at school.
reorganised the leadership team and
concentrated its work effectively on improving
teaching and learning.
school and parent communities and offers
leaders appropriate levels of challenge and
| Occasionally teaching is not strong enough to |
ensure the learning and achievement of more
able students is consistently outstanding.
| Data is not always used systematically enough |
to identify the scope to challenge students
appropriately and ensure they make the best
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 43 lessons, of which nine were joint observations with senior leaders. In
addition, the inspection team made a number of short visits around the school.
- Meetings were held with three groups of students, the Chair of the Governing Body and another
governor, school staff, including middle and senior leaders and inspectors held telephone
conversations with a representative of the local authority and representatives from the
partnership of schools and the local colleges, of which the school is a member.
- Inspectors analysed the 134 responses to the online questionnaire (Parent View), a letter from a
parent and the 73 responses to the staff questionnaire.
- They observed the work of the school and looked at a number of documents, including those
relating to the monitoring of teaching, the management of teachers’ performance, minutes of
governors’ meetings, case studies relating to support for vulnerable students, policies and
records relating to attendance, behaviour, safety, bullying, and safeguarding.
|James Coyle, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Rosemary Barnfield||Additional Inspector|
|Mehar Brar||Additional Inspector|
|Jennifer Bax||Additional Inspector|
|Paul Bartlett||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This is a larger than average voluntary aided comprehensive school which serves the Catholic
communities of the surrounding suburbs of Hemel Hempstead and neighbouring counties to
- The great majority of students are of White British, Irish or other White heritage, with very few
speaking English as an additional language.
- The proportion of students supported by school action is above average, whilst the proportion of
those supported by school action plus or who are disabled or with a statement of special
educational needs are well below average.
- The proportion of students known to be eligible for the pupil premium is below the national
- The school has specialisms in technology and languages and has the Healthy Schools and Sports
- The school is a member of the West Dacorum Schools Consortium, working in partnership with
Oaklands and West Hertfordshire Colleges.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
for students’ attainment and progress.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- By July 2013 improve the quality of teaching so that it:
offers greater challenge to the most able students
consistently matches the outstanding practice already evident in the school
increases the numbers of students making three and four levels of progress throughout all key
- Ensure leaders and managers make effective and systematic use of data in order to improve the
level of challenge to students and ensure they all make the best possible progress.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students join the school with higher starting points and attainment levels than those found
nationally. The majority go on to make progress that compares favourably with national figures.
At the end of their time at the school they are well prepared for the next stage of their
education, training and employment. However, achievement is not outstanding because students
whose starting points are high do not consistently make the rapid and sustained progress that
would enable them to attain exceptionally high results.
- The percentage of students achieving five A* to C passes at GCSE including English and
mathematics was above the national average in 2012.
- Those students who require extra help or who have a statement of special educational needs
make good progress due to the impact of specific interventions such as reading workshops and
daily English and mathematics clubs. Students with learning or other difficulties are identified as
soon as they enter the school. The school ensures they go on to achieve well because it carefully
monitors their subsequent progress, ensures they take an appropriate blend of subjects and
provides them with high quality teaching and other support.
- The very small number of students eligible for free school meals and in receipt of the pupil
premium make satisfactory progress. However, for some of them progress is not yet rapid and
- Reading standards generally exceed the expected levels. The school’s reading club and ‘Reading
Challenge’ initiative are helping encourage more students to read widely and for pleasure and to
develop their literacy skills. However, support for reading is not embedded systematically in all
- Students’ skills in writing, communication and mathematics are good and were also evident
across the many subjects observed during the inspection. In a Year 12 art class, for example,
students took part in a high level discussion on art history reflecting on a recent gallery visit.
Their observations revealed how much they had gained in terms of developed imagination and
- Students work well with each other, communicating effectively when working in pairs and when
reporting back to the class.
- Learning and progress in the sixth form are good, both in the school itself and when students
are taught on other sites. The range of academic courses and enrichment activities attract and
maintain good numbers. Attainment on entry is above national averages and is sustained, with
the majority of students going on to obtain good results in public examinations.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching in most subjects is mainly good and in some cases outstanding. A good climate for
learning has been established in all classes. However not all teaching is at the level of the very
best and does not consistently ensure all students make rapid and sustained progress.
- The best teaching was exemplified by teachers’ high order questioning, good subject knowledge
and regular checks for students involvement and understanding during the lesson.
- In an outstanding Year 7 mathematics lesson, for example, where students were engaged in
exercises to calculate the surface area of different objects, the teacher moved around the class
very effectively to check on how well students understood the problems. She refined her
explanation of the task for those in difficulty, checked for understanding and encouraged
students to use their whiteboards to show their answers.
- In other lessons, planning by teachers and teaching assistants whilst generally good enough to
ensure students progress, does not always offer enough challenge to the more able.
- Most students know how to improve their work. For example, in a Year 8 drama class, where
students were preparing to undertake a short performance, they carried out a self assessment
exercise using criteria that listed required skills and techniques to judge their own performance,
consider each others efforts and offer each other feedback for improvement.
- Parent surveys indicate that they consider teaching to be good.
- The school has provided literacy training to help teaching assistants improve the literacy skills
and self confidence of students who are in receipt of free school meals and the pupil premium.
This initiative is at an early stage, however, and it is too soon for its impact to be assessed.
- Teaching in the sixth form is good and promotes good progress. The range of largely academic
subjects offered meets the needs of the students and is enhanced by a wide range of additional
activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Young Enterprise scheme. Notable features
are teachers’ good subject knowledge and excellent relationships which allow for informed
debate to take place in class. The strong pastoral system offers good guidance and support and
prepares the majority of students well for higher education.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- Students enjoy school and attendance is high. Students arrive promptly to school and to their
lessons and have very positive attitudes to their learning. Participation in lessons is good and
students treat each other and staff with respect.
- Permanent and fixed term exclusions are very rare occurrences at the school.
- Parents and carers and staff surveys and inspectors’ discussions with students confirm that
behaviour is good and the school is a safe place for learning.
- Students are made aware of how to stay safe through the ‘Student Voice’ scheme and through
the school’s effective personal, social and health education programme.
- Students report there are virtually no instances of bullying, either in the form of physical,
homophobic or e-bullying and are well informed through Student Voice and an effective
personal, social and health education programme; when and if they occur the school deals with
such incidents effectively.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The newly appointed headteacher is given good support by the newly formed senior team and
governing body, who share his ambition for students’ achievement and continued improvement.
- Since the last inspection the leadership team has introduced many improvements. These include
improving the consistency of written feedback students receive so they know how they can
- The introduction of new arrangements for staff training and professional development and the
sharing of good teaching practice already established in the school have lead to better outcomes
for many students, most notably in the Sixth Form.
- Variations in results for different groups of students in different subjects, particularly in English
and mathematics or by students whose circumstances make them vulnerable, have been
addressed and measures taken to close the gaps.
- Leaders monitor pupil achievement regularly and undertake frequent analyses of the school’s
strengths and areas for improvement. However, these analyses are not systematic enough to
ensure self-evaluation is as well informed as it needs to be or to identify the scope to improve
students’ progress and achievement, particularly in the case of the more able.
- The school strongly supports students’ spiritual moral, social, and cultural development through
its positive ethos, cohesive community and thoughtful teaching, which help students develop
strong social skills. They are encouraged to be reflective about their responsibilities and to take
part in a number of charity schemes. They regularly discuss ‘social justice’ themes and take part
in debates which extends their thinking beyond their own lives and confronts issues affecting
mankind. They are given opportunities to develop leadership skills, such as when acting as
‘volunteers’ or when accompanying pilgrimages, which in turn exposes them to different
countries and cultures.
- Teaching programmes meet the needs of the majority of students effectively and reflect the
school’s determination to support all its students equally and ensure they have an opportunity to
succeed. Alternative provision for Key Stage 4 through the ‘West Dacorum Consortium of
Schools’ includes courses in vehicle technology, construction, hairdressing and barbering. This is
intended to broaden the range of courses available so that they better suit students’ learning
styles and abilities.
- The dual specialisms of technology and languages has upgraded information communication
systems allowing students, parents and teachers to have constant access to student information
and online learning through the Learning Platform. The school is also developing links with other
schools so that it can offer additional language programmes and qualifications as necessary.
- The developing sixth form provides students with good quality information, advice and guidance
on careers and further education as well as opportunities to lead as prefects. New systems to
track and monitor students progress have provided a more personalised approach to supporting
students, which they value.
- Parent View returns and the school’s own parent and carer surveys are overwhelmingly positive
about the school.
- Statutory safeguarding requirements are met, including off site checks on attendance at
- The local authority gives effective support, for example by advising the governors on the recent
headteacher appointment, staff development and the evaluation of teachers’ performance.
- The governance of the school:
has been reorganised to improve governors’ ability to challenge the school’s performance, to
undertake effective oversight of the headteacher’s own performance and to improve their skills
in observing teaching and learning in the classroom.
has ensured the school has adopted the Teachers Standards and that its systems for
managing teachers’ performance relate pay to performance appropriately, resulting in
improved teaching and students’ achievement.
ensures the efficient management of financial resources, including well targeted pupil
premium funding, which was used to train teaching assistants in literacy and provide life
coaching for Year 7 students.
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes |
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well |
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it |
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school is |
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
|Unique reference number||117557|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Comprehensive|
|School category||Voluntary aided|
|Age range of pupils||11–19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1115|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||222|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||21 January 2009|
|Telephone number||01442 266150|
|Fax number||01442 250014|