School etc

Our Lady's RC Sports College

Our Lady's RC Sports College
Alworth Road
Higher Blackley

phone: 0161 7950711

headteacher: Mr James Keulemans

school holidays: via Manchester council

669 pupils aged 11—16y mixed gender
754 pupils capacity: 89% full

365 boys 55%


305 girls 46%


Last updated: June 18, 2014

Secondary — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 385609, Northing: 404471
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.537, Longitude: -2.2186
Accepting pupils
11—16 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
April 30, 2013
Diocese of Salford
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › Blackley and Broughton › Higher Blackley
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Admissions policy
Main specialism
Sports (Operational)
Free school meals %
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Manchester

Schools nearby

  1. North Ridge High School M90RP (120 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles St Clare's RC Primary School (Infant Department) M93RQ
  3. 0.3 miles Victoria Avenue Community Primary School M90RD
  4. 0.3 miles St Clare's RC Primary School M90RR (459 pupils)
  5. 0.3 miles St Clare's RC Junior School M93RR
  6. 0.3 miles E-ACT Blackley Academy M90RD (383 pupils)
  7. 0.5 miles Plant Hill Arts College M90WQ
  8. 0.5 miles The Co-operative Academy of Manchester M90WQ (597 pupils)
  9. 0.7 miles Crab Lane Primary School M98NB (335 pupils)
  10. 0.7 miles Camberwell Park Specialist Support School M98LT (89 pupils)
  11. 0.7 miles Little Heaton Church of England Primary School M244PU (184 pupils)
  12. 0.7 miles Camberwell Park School M98LT
  13. 0.8 miles The Meadows School M96HE
  14. 0.8 miles Alternative Centre for Education and Training (ACET) M96HE
  15. 0.9 miles Crosby Meadow School M97HA
  16. 1 mile Crosslee Community Primary School M96TG (316 pupils)
  17. 1 mile Pike Fold Primary School M98QP (333 pupils)
  18. 1 mile Sunny Brow Nursery School M244AD (52 pupils)
  19. 1 mile Alkrington Primary School M241JZ (421 pupils)
  20. 1 mile St Michael's Church of England Primary School, Alkrington M241GD (209 pupils)
  21. 1.1 mile Bowker Vale Primary School M84NB (429 pupils)
  22. 1.1 mile St John Bosco RC Primary School M97AT (232 pupils)
  23. 1.1 mile Parkfield Primary School M244AF (227 pupils)
  24. 1.1 mile St Thomas More Roman Catholic Primary School, Middleton, Rochdale M241PY (334 pupils)

List of schools in Manchester

School report

Our Lady’s RC High School

Alworth Road, Higher Blackley, Manchester, M9 0RP

Inspection dates 10–11 February 2015
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Requires improvement 3
Previous inspection: Requires improvement 3
Leadership and management Good 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils Good 2
Quality of teaching Requires improvement 3
Achievement of pupils Requires improvement 3

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a school that requires improvement. It is not good because
The school has the following strengths

Students’ attainment and progress in mathematics
Teaching is not consistently good. In some
Teachers do not always ensure that students use
by the end of Year 11 is below the national
average. Overall, progress has improved,
particularly in English, but in mathematics it
remains too low and requires improvement.
departments it remains too variable. Not all staff
are consistently using the school’s agreed marking
and feedback policy to support students to
good spelling, punctuation and grammar in all
A small proportion of students sometimes arrive late
Gaps between the progress and attainment of
Disruption to staffing in the past has impacted on
to lessons and this results in a loss of learning time.
disadvantaged students and their classmates still
remain in some year groups and subjects.
students’ achievement. Students have not made the
progress of which they were capable.
Leaders and governors have already secured good
There has been a rapid improvement in students’
Students behave well and are happy in school.
The school’s work to keep students safe and
improvements to teaching, learning and
behaviour. Well-informed plans on how to
continue this journey to be consistently good in all
areas are securely in place.
progress and attainment in English. In most
subjects, students are now well taught.
secure is effective and students feel safe.
Leaders and governors ensure good quality support
Students who speak English as an additional
Students who attend alternative provision are
Teaching is improving quickly as a result of good
for students’ well-being and spiritual, moral, social
and cultural development.
language and those with special educational needs
or disabilities all make good progress
supported well and are making good progress
towards their personal goals.
quality staff training and support from all leaders.

Information about this inspection

  • Inspectors observed a large number of lessons, covering every department of the school and observed the
    majority of the teaching staff in the school who were present during the inspection. A significant number
    of these observations were completed jointly with senior and middle leaders.
  • Inspectors looked at students’ books, folders and projects across subjects and for each year group. A
    large number of books were also looked at jointly with school leaders.
  • Meetings were held with senior and middle leaders, those responsible for students’ behaviour and
    students with special educational needs and disabilities, representatives of the governing body and local
    authority, and with groups of students. Phone calls were made to the alternative provision used by the
  • The 10 responses to the Ofsted online survey site ‘Parent View’ were included in the evidence collected,
    alongside the school’s own parent questionnaires and staff questionnaire responses.
  • A large amount of documentation was included in the inspection evidence, including the school’s records
    for behaviour, tracking of students’ progress, performance management and monitoring of teaching,
    minutes from meetings, and the school’s plans for improvement.

Inspection team

Rebecca Lawton, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Bernard Robinson Additional Inspector
Kevin Harrison Additional Inspector
Kathleen Harris Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • The school is slightly smaller than an average secondary school, and shares its site with another
    secondary school, North Ridge High School. A public bridleway goes through the school site.
  • The proportion of disadvantaged students and those supported by the pupil premium is higher than the
    national average. The pupil premium is additional funding to support students who are known to be
    eligible for free school meals and those in the care of the local authority.
  • The majority of students are of White British heritage, but there is a minority of students who are from
    other ethnic groups. The proportion of students who have English as an additional language has recently
    increased and is now a significant group.
  • The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum expectations for
    students’ attainment and progress by the end of Year 11.
  • The proportion of students who are disabled or who have special educational needs is broadly the same as
    that found in other secondary schools.
  • A small number of students attend alternative provision off site, some at the Manchester Pupil Referral
    Unit and some at the Harpurhay Centre.
  • The school has significant links with a large number of national leaders of education, other schools and St
    Ambrose Barlow School in particular.
  • There has been a significant number of staff joining the school or new to role this academic year,
    particularly in the mathematics department.
  • The school does not normally enter students early for GCSE examinations.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Reduce the variability in teaching and feedback to students by:
    using feedback time more effectively, particularly in mathematics, to close the gaps for students who
    need extra support, and challenge the most able to achieve even further
    ensuring all teachers are consistently reinforcing students’ literacy skills by supporting correct spelling,
    punctuation and grammar in all subjects.
  • Continue to improve students’ progress and achievement in mathematics so that more reach the levels of
    which they are capable, and so that any gaps between disadvantaged students and their classmates is
  • Improve students’ punctuality to lessons, so that no learning time is lost.

Inspection judgements

The leadership and management are good
  • The effective and rigorous actions of the headteacher, leaders and governors have secured improvements
    to many departments, and are improving rates of progress since the last inspection. They have worked
    hard to manage the staffing difficulties in some departments and these are now almost completely
    resolved. As a result, teaching is more stable and the pace of improvement is increasing.
  • The leadership of teaching is good. Teaching and students’ achievement in most subjects has improved,
    and is now good in many departments across the school. However, improvements to teaching and
    learning in mathematics have not fully impacted on all students. A legacy of weaker progress in
    mathematics means that students have the most improvements to make to reach national expectations.
  • The structures in place to monitor the quality of teaching are rigorous. Staff have regular checks on the
    amount of feedback they give to students. Leaders are now moving to a more supportive approach and
    are focusing on checking the amount of progress students make as a result of this feedback.
  • Plans for further improvement are focussing on the correct areas, and these are clear and well resourced.
    Training for staff and the use of external consultants to support teachers have both been used effectively.
  • The local authority have an accurate view of the school’s work, and have provided good quality links and
    support routes for training, particularly in regard to staffing and staff development.
  • Middle leaders are particularly strong. They have improved their skills in all areas, and particularly use
    data on student’s performance well. They are having a significant positive impact on the pace of
    improvements in their departments. Many have expertise that is being used to support the school and its
    partner schools.
  • The pupil premium funding is used increasingly effectively to improve the skills of those students in most
    need. Students’ skills in reading for example, are particularly well supported. The school monitors the use
    of the pupil premium robustly. Gaps in achievement are closing through well-targeted support, particularly
    in the learning support unit. Equality of opportunity is a key priority for the school, and there have been
    some improvements towards ensuring equitable outcomes for all groups. The school fosters good
    relationships and tackles discrimination effectively.
  • The school curriculum is well matched to students’ needs and helpful advice and guidance is given when
    choosing options for GCSE. The proportion of students who are not in education, employment or training
    when they leave school is low.
  • The school’s provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is particularly strong.
    The school’s ethos is supported equally well in all departments, and gives students a strong sense of
    community. They are well prepared to be successful in modern Britain. The wide range of curricular and
    extra-curricular activities enriches their experiences and ensure they have a good knowledge of other
    cultures and viewpoints.
  • The school works hard to engage parents, and uses a wide range of projects and approaches. This is
    particularly strong when students join the school in Year 7, and when students are working towards their
    final examinations. Pastoral staff work effectively with a wide range of external agencies to ensure every
    student receives the good quality support they need.
  • The arrangements for safeguarding students meets statutory requirements and are effective. Staff are
    well-trained and up-to-date with all aspects of safeguarding. Those students who attend off-site provision
    are checked regularly to ensure they are safe, behaving well and making good progress.
  • Staff at the school have worked hard to secure the safety of the site, which has a public bridleway through
    the grounds. This is well-managed and all staff make sure students are safe at all times.
  • The governance of the school:
    Governors have an accurate and well-informed view of the school’s current performance and areas for
    improvement. They challenge the school to improve, and are increasingly successful in raising
    achievement and progress, and in improving teaching and learning. They have a robust programme in
    place to ensure that they review all aspects of the school’s work and have a positive input into all
    aspects of school life. Governors are well-trained, use data effectively and have an appropriately high
    focus on safeguarding and student welfare. Governors are making sure the pupil premium is spent
    effectively, and have ensured that good teaching is rewarded by linking performance to pay. Governors
    are ambitious and have high expectations of the school and its staff and students, and are dedicated to
    the school community.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • The behaviour of students is good. They are kind, work well together and are ambassadors for the school
    community. They value learning and good teaching, and work hard when challenged.
  • Attendance has improved in all year groups, and the small number of exclusions and internal removal from
    lessons have both reduced.
  • Although a small proportion of students are sometimes slow to get to lessons, when they arrive they work
    hard. Teachers provide interesting starts to lessons that are good ways to remember the themes and key
    aspects of the previous lesson which students miss when they are late. Students are keen to improve,
    polite to staff, and respectful to visitors.
  • Routines within lessons are well established, and are ensuring a consistently high expectation of good
    behaviour and good attitudes to learning in all departments. Students do not always take good care of
    their books or present their work well. This sometimes limits the speed of their progress.
  • Students take part in a wide range of charitable and social events, and are well informed about spiritual
    and moral issues. They care about their community, and the wider world. They have informed discussions
    about world events, equality and discrimination.
  • Students are confident and articulate, and although a few students are sometimes boisterous outside of
    lessons, the number of incidents of poor behaviour has significantly reduced in the last year.
  • The school’s work to keep students safe and secure is good. Students say they feel safe in all lessons and
    around school. Students know how to keep themselves safe online and have a good knowledge of how to
    report any incidents they might encounter.
  • Curriculum coverage of all aspects of safety is broad and balanced, and students say they are confident in
    all aspects, including drug awareness and road safety. Good-quality sessions delivered by experts in safety
    supports students’ development well.
  • Students who attend off-site alternative provision are monitored closely to ensure their safety is equally
  • The school monitors break and lunchtimes very well, ensuring that the public bridleway on the school site
    is always well managed, and that students are safe at all times.
  • Students say there are few incidents of bullying, and that staff deal with any incidents quickly. This was
    seen during the inspection, where staff on duty quickly intervened and ensured any minor falling out was
    resolved amicably before it escalated. Relationships between staff and students are very good, and this
    enables staff to work with students effectively. Records show the number of bullying incidents is very low.
The quality of teaching requires improvement
  • Although teaching overall has improved since the last inspection, and is now ensuring students are making
    good progress in a significant number of subjects, students’ progress in mathematics is still not yet good.
    The quality of teaching and feedback to students, particularly in mathematics is variable. The teaching of
    spelling, punctuation and grammar skills require further improvement.
  • In mathematics, teachers are not consistently using the school’s marking policy to ensure that all students
    are making the progress they are capable of. Not all planning is removing the barriers to learning or
    providing sufficient challenge for the most able. This is slowing the pace of improvement.
  • The school checks on the quality of teaching and progress of students regularly. Middle leaders and senior
    leaders both have a clear idea of where the strengths and weaknesses in teaching are and have put
    support in place where needed and shared good practice effectively.
  • Some changes to the monitoring of teaching and learning are now ensuring that leaders are focussing
    more on the outcomes for students rather than the actions of teachers. In some departments, this means
    that the arrangements for feeding back to students in some departments are insufficiently effective
    because too little time is available to support those who need extra help and to further challenge the most
  • Support for disadvantaged students, and for those who need to catch up with their classmates in some
    areas is generally working well to improve their progress. The learning support unit is particularly effective
    in supporting students to close any gaps in their learning. Patient and caring staff support students to
    become more confident learners and improve their skills so as to ensure they reach higher levels of
    achievement. Students particularly value this support.
  • Homework is set regularly and is improving students’ abilities. The use of online programmes and series of
    homework’s spanning several terms are having a particularly strong impact on rates of progress.
  • The provision for improving students’ reading skills is very effective. Students read regularly and enjoy
    reading. In one class seen, students were eager to succeed so that they could help others read in their
    group and hear each other read aloud. The school’s strategies for reading supports students’ development
    of language and analysis skills particularly well.
  • Not all staff are consistently developing students’ literacy in all subjects. For example, in some subjects
    incorrect spellings of key words are not corrected. Poor grammar is used by staff when describing an
    answer. Due to this, some students are not reaching the levels of attainment that they are capable of and
    repeat mistakes.
  • Numeracy is supported well across the curriculum, and students get a good range of opportunities to use
    their mathematical skills in other subjects.
  • A lack of consistency in expectations for the presentation of students work means that some students do
    not, for example, use rulers for lines or diagrams or are writing in colours that are hard to read. This limits
    the helpfulness of their own notes when they are revising for tests.
  • Disabled students and those with special educational needs are generally taught very well. They have
    additional adults in the room to help them where required, and many teachers are making additional
    resources or provision to meet their needs, or adapting the room to ensure all students have the same
    opportunities for learning, such as sitting students nearer to the board. However, this is less effective
    when cover or supply staff are taking lessons.
The achievement of pupils requires improvement
  • Students’ achievement in mathematics has not yet improved enough and still requires improvement. The
    proportion of students making expected progress has not yet reached national levels.
  • The majority of students enter the school with skills that are below the national average in English and
    mathematics. Students in Year 11 in 2014 joined the school in Year 7 with even lower levels of
    attainment. Although the progress they made accelerated by the end of their time in school, their final
    attainment was below that normally reached by students in the school. The proportion of students
    achieving five A* to C grades at GCSE was below national average.
  • Students who are currently in Key Stage 3 are making good progress in the majority of subjects and they
    are on track to achieve well. Students currently in Key Stage 4 are making progress that is below what is
    expected in order to reach the final levels of which they are capable in some subjects. Although their rates
    of progress are improving quickly, they still require further improvement to reach national expectations by
    the end of Year 11.
  • Work in students’ books seen during the inspection confirmed that there is good progress in some Key
    Stage 3 subjects. Work in Key Stage 4 is successfully closing the gaps in attainment for some
    disadvantaged students compared to their classmates. However, weaker support for students’ literacy,
    particularly in their spelling, punctuation and grammar, and in the presentation of drawings such as
    graphs and tables still limits their progress in some subjects.
  • Achievement in English is now much stronger. Improvements to teaching and learning have ensured
    students are now making good progress in the majority of subjects and year groups.
  • Those subjects where students achieve particularly well, such as English, the humanities and science are
    being used to help students make links across the curriculum and to build higher expectations of success
    in other subjects. Students are increasingly able to make links in their learning and this is helping them to
    retain key knowledge in preparation for examinations. For example, in a mathematics lesson, students
    used an example from cooking to describe the need to convert grams to kilograms.
  • The most able students are being challenged well in most subjects, but teachers are not consistently
    stretching these students as far as they could in all curriculum areas. The changes to feedback and
    reflection time are helping to improve the rates of progress for these higher-ability students, as they are
    getting individualised support and challenge.
  • Students are making good progress in their reading skills, and this is having a positive impact on their
    progress and achievement in English. Their ability to scan, evaluate and respond to texts is particularly
  • The gap in attainment between disadvantaged students and non-disadvantaged in the school for 2014
    was roughly half a GCSE grade, but this was because of the lower attainment of non-disadvantaged
    students. In the last Year 11 cohort, in English, disadvantaged students were almost a full grade behind
    other students nationally, and in mathematics, were half a grade behind others in the school and almost
    one and a half grades behind others nationally. Currently within school in some subjects, the gap is almost
    a full GCSE grade, but these gaps overall are closing across subjects and year groups. Some subjects are
    successfully closing this gap by targeting support through the pupil premium funding and the use of the
    learning support unit and additional adults. Overall the use of pupil premium within school does not yet
    fully support all pupils to close the gaps in their attainment.
  • Those students who speak English as an additional language, and disabled students and those with special
    educational needs are all making good progress, and are receiving good quality additional support to
    ensure they achieve the levels of which they are capable.
  • Those students who attend alternative provision achieve outcomes that are suitable for their particular

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
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
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.

School details

Unique reference number 105576
Local authority Manchester
Inspection number 454852

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Secondary
School category Voluntary aided
Age range of pupils 11–16
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 712
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Brian Kiely
Headteacher James Keulemans
Date of previous school inspection 30 April 2013
Telephone number 0161 795 0711
Fax number 0161 220 5929
Email address reveal email:…

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