St Bede's Roman Catholic High School, Blackburn
phone: 01254 202519
headteacher: Mr Des Callaghan
975 pupils capacity: 100% full
490 boys 50%
485 girls 50%
Last updated: Oct. 2, 2014
Secondary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 365992, Northing: 425756
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.727, Longitude: -2.5169
- Accepting pupils
- 11—16 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Sept. 17, 2014
- Diocese of Salford
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Blackburn › Meadowhead
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Sports (Operational)
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.4 miles Meadowhead Junior School BB24QG (273 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Livesey Saint Francis' Church of England School BB25NX (198 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Meadowhead Infant School BB24TT (266 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Andrew's Church of England Primary School BB24NU
- 0.7 miles Bank Hey School BB24NW
- 0.7 miles The Heights Free School BB24NW (49 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Eden BESD Free School BB24NW
- 0.8 miles St Aidan's Church of England Primary School BB24EW (219 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Peter's Roman Catholic Primary School, Blackburn BB22RY (451 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Peter's Roman Catholic Infant School, Blackburn BB22RY
- 0.8 miles St Paul's Roman Catholic Primary School, Feniscowles, Blackburn BB25EP (199 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Fernhurst Secondary SEBD School BB24NW
- 0.8 miles St Aidan's Church of England Primary School BB24EW
- 0.9 miles Feniscowles Primary School BB25EG (399 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Griffin Park Primary School BB22PN (232 pupils)
- 1.1 mile St Bartholomew's CofE Primary School BB24JQ
- 1.1 mile Blackburn the Redeemer CofE Primary BB24JJ (413 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Witton Park High School BB26TD
- 1.2 mile Witton Park High School BB26TD (959 pupils)
- 1.3 mile St Luke and St Philips Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School BB22LZ (237 pupils)
- 1.3 mile St Luke and St Philips Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School BB22LZ
- 1.4 mile Longshaw Nursery School BB23NF (97 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Longshaw Infant School BB23NF (244 pupils)
- 1.4 mile St Wilfrid's CofE High School and Technology College BB22JR
St Bede’s Roman Catholic High
Green Lane, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 4SR
|Inspection dates||17–18 September 2014|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
Information about this inspection
| Senior leaders and governors base their work on |
The spiritual, moral, social and cultural
Action is taken to improve any weaker areas of
Governors know the school well and provide good
clear principles which commit the school to value
all people and provide the best possible standard
development of students is outstanding. It reflects
the school’s positive Catholics ethos.
the school including where achievement in
particular subjects is not good enough.
Improvement in attendance, English and art has
recently been secured.
support and challenge to senior leaders. The
governing body is committed to making
governance even more effective.
| Students show high levels of respect for adults and |
Students are and feel very safe in school.
The school has managed the transfer to its new
The quality of teaching, which is already good, is
The curriculum provides excellent opportunities for
other students. This contributes to their outstanding
buildings very well.
improving. This is leading to higher levels of
achievement over time. The disadvantaged
students and other have similar levels of
the most able. Provision for students with
disabilities or special educational needs is highly
| Teaching does not secure the highest possible |
Learning sometimes slows when students have to
achievement for all students particularly the most
able. The proportion of students gaining A* and A
grades at GCSE is too low when compared to their
wait between tasks in lessons.
| The developing approaches to marking and |
The school’s website does not meet statutory
students’ literacy in all subjects are not consistently
used by all teachers.
- Inspectors observed 35 lessons taught by 35 teachers, an assembly and a house period. They examined a
sample of students’ work and students’ exercise books in lessons.
- The conduct of students was observed throughout the school day including at break and lunchtime.
- Inspectors met with senior leaders, middle leaders and teachers, they met formally with groups of
students and talked informally with others in lessons and around the school.
- Documents were examined including the schools self-evaluation information, safeguarding records,
information about the work of the governing body and data relating to students’ achievement, attendance
- Meetings were held with the chair of governors and a representative of the local authority
- Inspectors reviewed 78 responses to Ofsted’s online questionnaire (Parent View). Questionnaire returns
from 103 members of staff were examined.
- This inspection was conducted with no notice to the school because of a concern about the breadth and
balance of the curriculum (including where the statutory requirement to publish information to parents is
|David Selby, Lead inspector||Her Majesty’s Inspector|
|Catherine Davies||Additional Inspector|
|Bimla Kumari||Additional Inspector|
|Jane Holmes||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This school is an average-sized secondary school. It is voluntary aided by the Roman Catholic Church.
- The proportion of disadvantaged pupils, who are supported by additional pupil premium funding, is below
the national average.
- The proportion of students that the school has identified as disabled or having special educational needs
and requiring support through school action is above average. The proportion supported through school
action plus or a statement of special educational needs is average.
- The proportion of students from minority ethnic backgrounds is well-below average.
- A few students in Year 11 have programmes for their learning which include off-site provision, part-time,
at the Heights Free School.
- The school works with the Tauheedul Teaching School – Futures Alliance to provide support for other local
schools and within the Blackburn with Darwen Education Improvement Partnership. The Education
Improvement Partnership is developing school improvement strategies within the area.
- The school moved into new and refurbished buildings in 2013.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standard, which is the minimum expectation for
attainment and progress in English and mathematics.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Continue the improvement in the quality of teaching by ensuring that teachers:
organise lessons so that the learning of all students, including the most able, does not slow when they
finish one activity before moving to the next
fully embed the rapidly improving approaches to marking and literacy so that these are consistently
- Further increase achievement by ensuring that students, and particularly the most able, make even faster
progress so that the proportion of A* and A grades at GCSE increases.
- Ensure that the website development plan is quickly and fully implemented so that parents can easily
access the required information.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- Principles such as valuing individual people and humility underpin the leadership of the school. These
characteristics are exemplified by the headteacher and other senior leaders. Senior leaders and governors
share the vision that the school should provide the best possible education for all its students and are
prepared to take the steps needed to ensure this happens.
- The school’s concise and detailed self-evaluation identifies its strengths and development areas. Action is
taken to improve weaker areas. For example, the disappointing GCSE results in English in 2013 have been
turned around following a re-focusing of leadership roles, and the previously less-effective teaching in art
has been rapidly improved.
- Roles are being reorganised as the experience grows of relatively new members of the senior leadership
team. The responsibilities of middle leaders have been adjusted to ensure priorities can be met, for
example, in the joint leadership of mathematics and science so that the weaker performance in science
can be tackled.
- The management of teachers’ performance systematically identifies appropriate priorities for individuals
and the school, and links between their performance and their pay. Professional development
opportunities, support and challenge are provided when there is weaker practice. Further action is taken if
improvement does not follow.
- The curriculum is well planned to meet students’ needs. It is extended by the ‘Honours Programme’, which
offers individualised learning experiences and enhanced guidance to the most able. For example, one
student talked with evident pride about the chance she has to learn Latin in a small group. This
programme makes a very valuable additional contribution to students’ learning. A wide range of extra-
curricular experiences are offered, these range from informal learning opportunities to lunchtime clubs,
such as chess club, homework club and the chaplaincy team, and visits overseas.
- Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. It is fostered in the way staff
model relationships, through assemblies and in the many opportunities provided in lessons and other
school activities. It reflects the very positive ethos of the school and leads the school to be a supportive,
highly cohesive learning community.
- Senior leaders have secured improvement in a numbers of areas. These include, for example, the marked
improvement in attendance and to subject leadership. The building project and move to the new building
had minimal effects on students’ learning.
- The local authority provides a low-level of support to the school. However, leaders work actively with
other schools in shared development of effective practice. The school also offers support to less effective
schools. It is a provider of nationally accredited training for middle leaders.
- The responses to Parent View indicate that parents are overwhelmingly happy with the education and care
provided by the school. Many members of staff share the same pride expressed by students.
- The school’s arrangements for safeguarding students meet statutory requirements.
- The school’s website does not meet statutory requirements. Senior leaders have prepared a development
plan to ensure the necessary changes are made.
- The governance of the school:
Governance is effective. Governors provide challenge and support to senior leaders. They have a good
understanding of the school’s performance including the quality of teaching in different subjects and
take action to ensure that weaker areas improve. They are prepared to take difficult staffing decisions if
Governors are systematic in requesting and using information on the school’s work. For example, their
monitoring of the impact of the additional funding provided to support the learning of disadvantaged
students is based on information at the level of detail they have requested.
While governors are clear of their strategic role, they are prepared to ask for specific actions to be
taken. This has included ensuring that information on the school’s work to support students with special
educational needs becomes available to parents.
The governing body ensures that the school is financially secure. This includes checking that members
of staff are properly aware of their financial responsibilities and that performance management is
Governors are committed to improving the school’s governance. The governing body has been
restructured, governors participate in training and new governors with specialist skills and experience
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- The behaviour of students is outstanding. They work hard and conduct themselves very well in lessons.
They understand the school’s high expectations and are proud to achieve them.
- Students show great respect towards each other and their teachers. This also reflects the respect shown
and modelled by staff towards students. Leaders and students explain how this core principle of the school
links directly to the commitment to value people equally.
- Students are welcoming, open and extremely courteous to visitors. They are pleased to talk about their
school. They look after the building and the site well. There is almost no litter.
- The very high standard of behaviour means that the learning of all is supported. Students are keen to take
every opportunity to learn in and out of lessons. Students are willing to use part of their lunchtimes to
take part in formal and informal extra learning. This requires little supervision as students work together
very well. The school is very calm.
- Attendance has risen to be above average and is increasing further. Punctuality to lessons and school is
good. Rates of exclusion from school are well below the national average and are decreasing further.
- The students who spoke to inspectors said that bullying was very rare and have confidence that if it
should occur, it would be dealt with effectively. The school records confirm that a very small number of
instances of bullying or similar poor behaviour are recorded. Those spoken with also said that homophobic
or racist language was very rare, again they confirmed that, if heard, it would be challenged by staff.
- The school’s work to keep students safe and secure is outstanding. No incidents that indicate students
may be unsafe were seen in lessons or around the school. Appropriate risk assessments are in place. The
continuing work by contractors on the school site is securely fenced. Students know that the school’s
computer system is protected but have also been taught the skills they need to protect themselves when
using electronic communication equipment. There is close liaison with the Heights Free School to ensure
that students involved in off-site alternative provision there are safe.
- The personal, social and health education programme is used to make students aware of potential risks
they may face. For example, there is direct teaching about the risks of radicalisation and extremism
including presentations from visitors including the police.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Achievement is good as a result of effective teaching over time. Good teaching contributes to the
dedication of students and their positive approach. This reflected the longer term view from the school’s
own observations of good and improving teaching and learning. No inadequate practice was seen by
- Teachers have high expectations of students. Their good subject knowledge enables them to use
challenging questioning techniques to support rapid development of knowledge, understanding and skills.
Rapid progress was seen, for example, in a Year 7 Spanish lesson. Even at this early stage of their course,
students, including those who may have the potential to be cautious, were keen to try out and share their
skills. Their enthusiastic participation exemplified their enjoyment. While learning is rapid in many lessons,
it sometimes slows when students who finish tasks more quickly than others have to wait before the next
- School leaders have identified that the development of students’ wider literacy skills and the quality of
marking would contribute to even more effective teaching. Inspectors saw evidence in lessons and
students’ books of good practice in these aspects and of improvement over time. However, these are not
seen consistently in all teachers’ work.
- Activities to promote reading are in place. Personal reading is expected as part of the activities in house
periods. Reading is set as a homework activity every two weeks with guidance on suitably challenging
texts for the most able. The recent scheme to pair Year 11 students with weaker readers in Year 8 has led
to improvement in reading scores for the younger students involved.
- Students’ oral skills are good, the respect shown by students to each other mean that they are willing to
offer answers to questions and participate in discussions with confidence. Teachers use opportunities in
lessons to allow students to practise their mathematical skills in other subjects including science and
- The ‘Foundation School’ offers a specialist curriculum for small groups of students with special educational
needs. Teaching in this area is effective and builds from the detailed knowledge and care of the students
included. Staffing levels are high allowing for tightly targeted learning programmes which are well taught
by teachers and teaching assistants. In addition, teaching assistants provide good support to the learning
of students with special educational needs across the school.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students enter the school with attainment which is generally in line with or above the national average.
At the end of year 11, they consistently attain results that are well above those of students nationally. In
2014, data held by school, indicate that the proportion of students gaining at least five GCSE passes at
grade C or above, including in English and mathematics, and their attainment in English rose further.
Attainment in mathematics fell slightly although remains well-above national levels.
- The proportion of students attaining A* to C passes at GCSE in a wide range of subjects is often well
above or, at least above that found nationally.
- The proportion of students gaining A* and A grades does not reflect all students’ starting points. The
school has identified this issue and shows determination to ensure that the most able will make the faster
progress needed to reach even higher standards in the future.
- The rate of progress of Year 11 students in English increased in 2014. In mathematics, rates of progress
have generally accelerated over time. Leadership changes have already been made to ensure that the
relatively slower progress in science gets faster. Good and improving progress was reflected in the work
seen in students’ books, the learning observed in lessons and the views of students.
- Gaps between the achievement of disadvantaged students and others are closing. In 2013, on average,
disadvantaged students achieved around one GCSE grade lower than other students in the school in
English and mathematics. School data indicate that this gap reduced to around half a grade in 2014.
When the attainment of disadvantaged students in the school is compared to other students across the
country, this gap is even smaller at about one third of a grade. The effective use of the additional funding
available means that the progress made by disadvantaged students has increased more rapidly than that
- Some students are entered for GCSE before the end of Year 11. This is only done when the teachers are
confident that it is in the best interests of the students concerned. In 2013, all students took mathematics
GCSE early. Their achievement was high with a greater than average proportion achieving A* or A
- The off-site provision used for a small number of students contributes to their good progress overall.
- The highly effective support for students in the ‘Foundation School’ means that the majority of students
included make at least expected progress.
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
|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
|Unique reference number||119793|
|Local authority||Blackburn with Darwen|
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||985|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||1 March 2010|
|Telephone number||01254 202519|
|Fax number||01254 207882|