Saint Gregory's Catholic College
phone: 01225 832873
headteacher: Mr Raymond Friel Ma (Hons) Npqh
990 pupils capacity: 87% full
390 boys 45%
465 girls 54%
Last updated: Oct. 2, 2014
Secondary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 373516, Northing: 161719
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.354, Longitude: -2.3817
- Accepting pupils
- 11—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Sept. 25, 2014
- Diocese of Clifton
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South West › Bath › Odd Down
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Arts (Operational)
- Language second specialism
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.4 miles Fosseway Junior School BA22UN
- 0.4 miles Fosseway Infant School BA22UN
- 0.4 miles St Martin's Garden Primary School BA22UN (212 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Philip's CofE Primary School BA22BN (278 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Wansdyke School BA25RF
- 0.5 miles The Link School BA25RF (22 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Three Ways School BA25RF
- 0.5 miles Three Ways School BA25RF (175 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Aspire Academy BA25RF
- 0.5 miles The Bath Studio School BA25RF
- 0.8 miles Culverhay School BA22QL
- 0.8 miles Bath Community Academy BA22QL (283 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Moorlands Junior School BA22DE (186 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Moorlands Infant School BA22DQ (186 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Southdown Junior School BA21LG (130 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Southdown Community Infant School BA21LG (167 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Victory School BA22EF
- 1.4 mile Oldfield Park Junior School BA22JL (236 pupils)
- 1.4 mile St John's Catholic Primary School BA23NR (316 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Combe Down CofE Primary School BA25JQ (376 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Hayesfield Girls School BA23LA
- 1.6 mile Beechen Cliff School BA24RE
- 1.6 mile The Paragon School, Junior School of Prior Park College BA24LT (270 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Combe Down Junior School BA25JQ
St Gregory’s Catholic
Combe Hay Lane, Bath, BA2 8PA
|Inspection dates||16−17 July, 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Outstanding||1|
|Achievement of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Quality of teaching||Outstanding||1|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Leadership and management||Outstanding||1|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is an outstanding school
| Students’ achievement is outstanding. All |
The quality of teaching is outstanding. Many
Students’ behaviour is excellent both in and
groups, including higher ability students,
those who speak English as an additional
language and those who have special
educational needs, make rapid progress in
relation to their starting points and abilities.
lessons feature stimulating pace and high
expectations. Questions are probing and
tasks are creative, imaginative and
out of lessons. Students feel safe, attitudes to
learning are positive and the quality of
relationships is marked by respect and good
| Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural |
Leadership and management are outstanding,
The governing body is highly effective. It is
development is exceptional. It is a strong
feature in many lessons and in all aspects of
driven by a visionary, enthusiastic and highly
approachable executive headteacher. He is
supported by skilled and innovative school
leaders who, together, drive improvement
rigorously and have the students’ best interests
fully aware of its leadership and management
role. Governors have been closely involved in
the college and have a very good
understanding of its priorities.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16−17 July 2013||2 of 10|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 38 part lessons, involving 35 teachers, 10 of whom were jointly observed
with the headteacher and senior leaders. In addition, other sessions were visited to determine
how well the needs of individual students are taken into account and to look at the quality of
- Meetings were held with the executive headteacher, head of school, five groups of students, the
Vice-Chair of the Governing Body and two other governors, a variety of other leaders, and
groups of staff. The lead inspector also had a telephone conversation with a representative from
the local authority.
- Inspectors took account of 72 responses to Parent View, plus one letter from a parent.
- There were 45 staff questionnaires returned and considered by the inspection team.
- Inspectors scrutinised a range of documentation including examples of students’ work, the
college’s own information on students’ attainment and progress, records of attendance and
behaviour, and information about governor meetings, safeguarding, college planning and
|Sheila Crew, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|David Hogg||Additional Inspector|
|David Howe||Additional Inspector|
|Lesley Leak||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16−17 July 2013||3 of 10|
Information about this school
- St Gregory’s Catholic College is smaller than the average-sized secondary school and is a
specialist college for the performing arts and modern foreign languages.
- Most students are of White British heritage. The proportion of students who are from minority
ethnic backgrounds and the proportion who speak English as an additional language are both
- The proportion of students for whom the college receives Year 7 catch-up premium and pupil
premium is below average. This is additional funding provided for looked after children, students
known to be eligible for free school meals and children of service families.
- The proportions of disabled students and those with special educational needs supported at
school action or who are supported at school action plus and those who have a statement of
special educational needs are below the national average.
- Since the last inspection the college was designated as a National Support School and the
executive headteacher as a National Leader of Education (NLE).
- The executive headteacher is seconded on a part-time basis to St Mark’s Church of England
School in Bath, where he has led an improvement programme for the past two years. The head
of school leads St Gregory’s in his absence.
- At the time of the inspection, construction work was being carried out on a building which is due
to open to a newly-created sixth form in September 2013. This is a part of the federation
between St Gregory’s and St Mark’s, with a joint sixth form under the executive headteacher’s
- The college uses alternative provision at The Link special school for three students.
- A small number of students in Key Stage 4 attend off-site courses at St Mark’s School. These
students are studying level 2 qualifications in product design, textiles, computing and business.
- The college exceeds the current government floor standards, which set the minimum
expectations for students’ attainment and progress.
- The college has close international links with the Suzhou Foreign Language Schools in China and
20 Chinese students attend the college for two terms in Year 7. They have also developed strong
cultural international links with Cordoba in Spain and the Comenius project which includes links
with schools in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Belgium and Germany, enabling
students to travel to week-long conferences in these partner countries.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Raise the progress and achievement of all groups of students still further, by ensuring that their
different needs are fully met in lessons and through consistently high quality marking.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16−17 July 2013||4 of 10|
|The achievement of pupils||is outstanding|
- Students enter the college with attainment that is above average. Over time, students make
sustained progress at a very high level through year groups, across many subjects, and do
particularly well in English and increasingly so in mathematics.
- Overall achievement is excellent and has been sustained rigorously this year following a slight
dip in some subjects for the 2012 GCSE results. This has been recovered very quickly through
highly effective leadership, a relentless focus on the highest quality teaching and precisely
targeted support for some students. The college’s information shows that results which students
have already achieved in monitored assessments in 2013 for mathematics and English have
surpassed the 2012 A* to C pass rate, and are on track to achieve much higher than national
average results in 2013.
- All groups of students produce excellent quality work. Higher ability students and those from
minority ethnic groups, many of whom speak English as an additional language, make very good
progress overall, and particularly in English, as a result of careful attention to their individual
- The school is very effective in ensuring equality of opportunity for learning for all groups of
students, including those who are disabled or have special educational needs. The students
make excellent progress and achieve well as a result of teachers’ high expectations for them.
- This year, governors have approved the use of the Year 7 catch-up premium and pupil premium
funding to buy in extra staffing to support students who need more help in lessons. As a result,
all these students have maintained very rapid progress, particularly in humanities, science and
modern foreign languages.
- There is evidence to suggest that the gap in achievement between the small group of students
known to be eligible for support from the pupil premium and the main student group is closing
quickly and the college is engaged in careful monitoring and tracking of these students’
progress. While their results at Key Stage 4 in 2012 were one grade below other students in
English and mathematics, the gap is expected to be reversed in 2013; these students are
predicted to make much faster progress than previously, with 66% on track to achieve five GCSE
A* to C grades including English and mathematics, compared with 77% for the whole year
- The college areas of specialism promote particularly high attainment in performing arts and
modern foreign languages. Some students are entered early for GCSE dance, music and drama
in the summer term of Year 10. Those who gain A* and A grades go on to study AS-level theatre
studies in Year 11. A small number of students also take GCSE Polish and Italian at the end of
Year 9. The college started to enter students early for GCSE mathematics and English in 2013,
with successful results.
- Some students who attend one-day courses at St Marks achieve very good GCSE grades, and
other level 2 qualifications, and many go on to study A- and AS-level courses.
- Progress for the three students who attend The Link special school is monitored every term by
the deputy head of school. They each have an individually-planned curriculum and progress
reports are sent to parents regularly.
- Students read widely and write extensively across all subjects and apply a wide range of skills
very effectively to ensure they are well prepared for the next steps in their education. No
students leave the college without clear pathways that have been carefully planned for their
- The overwhelming majority of parents and carers who responded to Parent View agree that their
children are making very good progress. One parent commented that his Year 8 child is
‘constantly challenged and has been given many great opportunities within and beyond the
curriculum. Particularly in maths, he has been given the opportunity to attend a university
course as well as receiving work well beyond his years’. Also, discussions with students and
evidence from the inspection confirm that students achieve excellent results.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16–17 July 2013||5 of 10|
|The quality of teaching||is outstanding|
- In many lessons teaching is outstanding and teachers have very high expectations. Teachers
routinely use information on students’ progress well to plan lessons that challenge students and
build on their prior learning. In these lessons, activities are well sequenced, imaginative and
stimulate students’ curiosity. Pair and group work is a strong feature in some subjects, such as
art, where students are encouraged to learn from each other and work happily together.
- Students’ progress in lessons is carefully monitored and the students are enabled to learn at
their own pace through a range of different activities that meet their individual needs. For
example, higher-ability students in a Year 9 history lesson looked at an overview of
The War on
in the context of understanding international connections from 1979 to the present day
and the challenges facing policy makers. Students were then offered a choice on examining, in
small groups, morally controversial statements on conflict, for example ‘one man’s freedom
fighter is another man’s terrorist’, resulting in some exceptionally high order thinking and
associated discussions, teasing out insightful and deeply thoughtful comparisons. Students led
the sessions, taking ownership of their learning and were engaged, mature and respectful of one
another, resulting in outstanding behaviour for learning.
- Key factors in the outstanding practice are the high expectations and challenging targets set by
teachers. In a Year 10 biology lesson on the structure and action of enzymes, the teacher
enabled students to achieve outstanding learning through a ‘speed-dating/snowballing task’ that
required them to track information provided by the teacher. The teacher’s challenging questions
probed students to extend their learning to the highest standards. Students then organised their
own practical experiments and displayed excellent understanding in their interpretation of the
results and explanation of why certain reactions had occurred.
- Teaching at its best is evident in the positive relationships between teachers and students which
enable students to contribute effectively to the lessons. For example, in a Year 8 physical
education lesson, the teacher provided a good learning atmosphere which engaged students and
created interest and enthusiasm. Using her excellent subject knowledge, the teacher encouraged
students to alternate between playing and observing, noting positives and areas for
improvement in developing skills/tactics in football. The lesson had rapid pace, built well on
previous learning and students fed back to one another to improve their performance. Students
showed exemplary relationships for learning, resulting in outstanding learning and progress.
- There is strong evidence to show that some students who struggled with literacy in Key Stage 3
have been rapidly moved on through good and outstanding teaching. For example, in a Year 10
geography lesson, students were given support in practising how to write examination answers
following a field trip to Swanage to examine sea defences. The teacher encouraged students to
share their opinions in small groups and made good use of key words and appropriate language,
particularly in supporting students who speak English as an additional language. Students were
encouraged to substantiate their views, whilst also having good opportunities for reflection on
environmental issues to take into account others’ opinions. They were confident in writing
detailed answers and their work was carefully checked by the teacher.
- A minority of lessons were not good or outstanding because teachers did not allow students to
take ownership of their learning and had a tendency to talk for too long, and this impeded
students’ progress. In many lessons, teachers provide helpful comments in their marking,
particularly in modern foreign languages. However, college leaders recognise that high quality
marking and assessment should provide precise guidance on how to make even better progress.
They are ensuring that, in all cases, marking is as good as the best and provides clear guidance
to students on how to improve.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16–17 July 2013||6 of 10|
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||is outstanding|
- Students’ attitudes to learning are excellent, both in and out of lessons. There is a very positive
atmosphere in the college and the quality of relationships is marked by respect and good
humour. Interviews with students, teaching and support staff showed that this aspect of the
college’s life is highly valued.
- There is a cohesive pastoral team who know the students extremely well. Vulnerable students
are closely monitored and their social and emotional development is carefully nurtured.
Exclusions are very low and reducing rapidly over time. Attendance is broadly average and
governors have approved the pupil premium funding for extra staff to promote higher levels of
attendance for looked after children, students eligible for free school meals and children of
- Students take great pride in the school and demonstrate that they have a very clear and moral
sense of right and wrong. The ethos of the school was powerfully represented in assembly
presentations by students as they reflected on their enrichment week experiences. These
included trips abroad, working with a range of local groups, such as Year 9 students with a local
special school for disabled children, and drama and dance workshops with the National Theatre
and the English Touring Opera.
- Bullying is almost non-existent; students know how to keep safe whilst using the internet and
confirm that staff help them to develop a clear understanding of the different kinds of bullying.
School records confirm these views are accurate
- The college is strongly committed to international partnerships and considers it vital that
students understand what it means to be part of a global village and to further develop their
respect for other cultures. One member of support staff returned from retirement, stating, ‘I
wanted to continue my work with our arts community and international links, which I believe are
a significant part of what makes St Gregory’s such an inclusive, vibrant school.’
- The vast majority of parents and carers agree that their children are safe and that behaviour is
very well managed.
|The leadership and management||is outstanding|
- The executive headteacher provides outstanding leadership and his vision and energy are shared
with the wider leadership team. He and his colleagues ensure that students have exceptional
opportunities for high levels of personal as well as academic achievement. As a result, students
are thriving, have a real commitment to their community and are achieving at the highest levels.
- The college has an accurate view of its own performance and senior leaders have focused on
raising the quality of teaching with conspicuous success. Senior leaders carry out systematic
lesson observations and hold teachers to account. Rigorous quality assurance, the impact of the
two faculty specialisms and the innovative work of the learning improvement team are being
used to drive teaching to even higher quality. Records show that the proportion of good or
outstanding lessons is extremely high, with improvements across all subject departments and
excellent lesson planning. The quality of teachers’ work and students’ progress is linked to pay
progression and to the Teachers’ Standards (national standards for teachers).
- The vision and drive of the executive headteacher and the head of school have been
instrumental in implementing robust systems to further improve students’ progress. For
example, the college’s tracking information for Key Stage 4 students is very well supported
through the work of faculty reviews which analyse student progress data and set rigorous
targets for high quality teaching and learning.
- Structures for developing staff are highly advanced through focused training programmes.
Designated time is set aside to discuss best practice and to evaluate new ways of working. The
college has funded residential courses as well as a master’s degree course to enable faculty
leaders to develop high quality leadership skills. Collaborative working with colleagues from
other schools is a strong feature of professional development in preparing all staff for the new
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16–17 July 2013||7 of 10|
- College leaders have developed a comprehensive range of academic opportunities. There is a
particularly strong offering of modern foreign language; students have the opportunity to study
at least two languages including Mandarin as an option for all Key Stage 3 students. The range
of lessons has recently been extended to include sports science and travel and tourism and the
school benefits from an excellent link with St Mark’s to provide students with a broad range of
subjects at Key Stage 4. Humanities feature strongly and the college is on track to qualify as a
centre for excellence through the Secondary Chartered Geography Mark.
- Sporting, artistic and dramatic opportunities are outstanding and all students take full advantage
of the range of opportunities to develop clear, personal values and to make an impact on school
life. Among many other programmes, the Duke of Edinburgh Award, the British Council
Connecting Classrooms (link with Kolkata ), debating and student-led assemblies give students
chances to develop leadership skills. As a result, students have highly developed social skills and
are able to work successfully on their own. Students speak very highly of the chances they are
given to explore ideas and take part in activities beyond their lessons.
- There is an exceptional range of additional opportunities for all students to develop spiritual,
moral, social and cultural skills both in lessons and through the wider curriculum. This is evident
in all aspects of the college’s life and features events such as fundraising for many charities and
student conferences which are part of the European Comenius partnership with schools in
Germany, Belgium and Italy. These conferences feature presentations by students which
promote healthy lifestyles. Links with the Wellcome Trust have enabled students to participate in
workshops on sleep disorders with Bristol Royal Infirmary, which they have gone on to share
with other students as part of the Comenius programme
- Safeguarding arrangements are excellent. All strategies are in place and there are very tight
procedures to ensure the safety of all students and staff.
- The overwhelming majority of parents who responded to Parent View said they were very
pleased with the way the college is led and would recommend it to others.
- All staff believe the college to be well led and they take great pride in being part of the college
community. One member of the support staff who responded to the questionnaire stated, ‘The
school’s willingness to support my professional development is outstanding. I have just
completed a psycho-therapy and counselling course which has enabled me to enhance my work
supporting children and their families within the whole school community.’
- The governance of the school:
Governance is outstanding. The governing body has planned meticulously to ensure that this
Catholic college becomes a beacon of excellence in the community and has supported the
executive headteacher and head of school extremely well. Governors hold the headteacher to
account with regard to the accuracy of predictions for students’ achievement, examination
results, the quality of teaching and attendance. Governors have a very good understanding of
data on how well the school is performing when compared to all schools nationally. They take
up opportunities for training and have completed Raiseonline data analysis training. Governors
have a firm grasp of the finances and of systems for pay progression and rewards for good
teaching. They have a sophisticated understanding of performance management and monitor
the targets for senior leaders. They have supported the headteacher in decisions about staff
underperformance and promotions. Governors ensure that the Year 7 catch-up and pupil
premium funding is well managed and they have a very good awareness of how to evaluate its
impact on students’ achievement.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16−17 July 2013||8 of 10|
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.
|Inspection report:||St Gregory’s Catholic College, 16−17 July 2013||9 of 10|
|Unique reference number||109329|
|Local authority||Bath and North East Somerset|
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||11−16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||791|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||24−25 September 2008|
|Telephone number||01225 832873|
|Fax number||01225 8358480|