School etc

Saint Gregory's Catholic College

Saint Gregory's Catholic College
Combe Hay Lane
Odd Down

phone: 01225 832873

headteacher: Mr Raymond Friel Ma (Hons) Npqh

school holidays: via Bath and North East Somerset council

858 pupils aged 11—17y mixed gender
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 #

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Schools nearby

  1. 0.4 miles Fosseway Junior School BA22UN
  2. 0.4 miles Fosseway Infant School BA22UN
  3. 0.4 miles St Martin's Garden Primary School BA22UN (212 pupils)
  4. 0.5 miles St Philip's CofE Primary School BA22BN (278 pupils)
  5. 0.5 miles Wansdyke School BA25RF
  6. 0.5 miles The Link School BA25RF (22 pupils)
  7. 0.5 miles Three Ways School BA25RF
  8. 0.5 miles Three Ways School BA25RF (175 pupils)
  9. 0.5 miles Aspire Academy BA25RF
  10. 0.5 miles The Bath Studio School BA25RF
  11. 0.8 miles Culverhay School BA22QL
  12. 0.8 miles Bath Community Academy BA22QL (283 pupils)
  13. 1.1 mile Moorlands Junior School BA22DE (186 pupils)
  14. 1.1 mile Moorlands Infant School BA22DQ (186 pupils)
  15. 1.1 mile Southdown Junior School BA21LG (130 pupils)
  16. 1.1 mile Southdown Community Infant School BA21LG (167 pupils)
  17. 1.1 mile Victory School BA22EF
  18. 1.4 mile Oldfield Park Junior School BA22JL (236 pupils)
  19. 1.4 mile St John's Catholic Primary School BA23NR (316 pupils)
  20. 1.6 mile Combe Down CofE Primary School BA25JQ (376 pupils)
  21. 1.6 mile Hayesfield Girls School BA23LA
  22. 1.6 mile Beechen Cliff School BA24RE
  23. 1.6 mile The Paragon School, Junior School of Prior Park College BA24LT (270 pupils)
  24. 1.6 mile Combe Down Junior School BA25JQ

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School report

St Gregory’s Catholic


Combe Hay Lane, Bath, BA2 8PA

Inspection dates 16−17 July, 2013
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Outstanding 1
Previous 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
the curriculum.
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
in mind.
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
    performance management.

Inspection team

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

Full report

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
    below average.
  • 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

Inspection judgements

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
    future lives.
  • 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
    service families.
  • 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
    sixth form.
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 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 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

School details

Unique reference number 109329
Local authority Bath and North East Somerset
Inspection number 412072

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
Chair Maggie Goodbody
Headteacher Raymond Friel
Date of previous school inspection 24−25 September 2008
Telephone number 01225 832873
Fax number 01225 8358480
Email address Raymond_ reveal email: Fri…


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