St James' Catholic High School
phone: 020 83582800
headteacher: Mrs Niamh Arnull Ba Hons
1201 pupils capacity: 93% full
595 boys 53%
525 girls 47%
Last updated: June 18, 2014
Secondary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 521928, Northing: 190571
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.601, Longitude: -0.24093
- Accepting pupils
- 11—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Feb. 27, 2013
- Archdiocese of Westminster
- Region › Const. › Ward
- London › Hendon › Colindale
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Science (Operational)
- and Sports (Operational)
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.2 miles Grahame Park Junior School NW95FN
- 0.2 miles Grahame Park Infant School NW95FN
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- 0.7 miles Goldbeaters Primary School HA80HA (483 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Woodcroft Junior School HA80QF
- 0.7 miles Woodcroft Infant School HA80QF
- 0.7 miles Copthall School NW72EP
- 0.7 miles Woodcroft Primary School HA80QF (471 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Copthall School NW72EP (1146 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Sunnyfields Primary School NW44JH (260 pupils)
- 0.8 miles The Annunciation RC Infant School HA80HQ (226 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Colindale Primary School NW96DT (678 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Dollis Infant School NW72BU (327 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Dollis Junior School NW72BU (342 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Mary's CofE High School NW41AB (325 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Beis Yaakov Primary School NW96NQ
- 0.9 miles St Mary's and St John's CofE School NW44QR (526 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Beis Yaakov Primary School NW96NQ
- 0.9 miles The Pardes House and Beis Yaakov Primary School NW96NQ
- 0.9 miles Beis Yaakov Primary School NW96NQ (525 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School NW74SL (110 pupils)
St James’ Catholic High
Great Strand, London, NW9 5PE
|Inspection dates||27−28 February 2013.|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| This is a thriving and well led school. The |
The school has made significant
This is an extremely welcoming place.
The school has excellent links with its local
drive, passion and commitment of the
headteacher are at the heart of its success.
improvements since the last inspection.
Student achievements have continued to rise
because of the high expectations and shared
ambitions that school leaders and managers
have for the school. Leadership, including
governance, is good and improving.
Students’ behaviour is excellent, as shown in
the high levels of concentration in lessons
and in the way students take responsibility
for their own learning. They are polite,
friendly and helpful. They show respect for
staff, visitors and each other. Their
attendance is high and exclusions are low.
and wider community.
| Teaching is good and improving. Students are |
Teaching continues to improve. Newly qualified
Students eligible for additional (pupil premium)
There are many opportunities for students to
The sixth form is good. Students are well
taught well by dedicated teachers who are
committed to supporting their learning. As a
result, they achieve well and leave with good
and more experienced staff gain from high
quality feedback about their work, valuable
training and development opportunities, and
very clear advice about how to improve their
funding get similar results to other students.
attend clubs and extra classes in addition to
lessons during the day.
taught and are making good progress from
their starting points to achieve well.
| The quality of teaching is not yet outstanding. |
In some lessons, work is not pitched at the
right level for everyone in the class. More
able students in particular are not pushed
hard enough in some lessons.
| All leaders must raise their expectations further |
and strive for greater consistency as they work
to support students secure better than
expected progress. Results in some subjects,
notably science, are not strong enough.
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School., 27−28 February 2013||2 of 9|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed teaching and learning in 41 lessons, of which 20 were joint observations
with senior leaders. In addition, they made a number of shorter visits to year assemblies and
- Inspectors held meetings with the headteacher, members of the school leadership and
management and groups of staff.
- Members of the inspection team held meetings with three groups of students representing all
age groups in the school. Discussions also took place with students informally.
- Meetings were held with the Chair of the Governing Body and other members.
- The inspection team observed the school’s work and scrutinised documents including the
school’s own evaluation of how well it is doing, the school improvement plan and statistical
information about students’ achievement, attendance and exclusions.
- There were 181 responses to the on-line questionnaire (Parent View) and 86 responses to the
staff questionnaires. Additional comments were received from parents and carers.
|Robert Ridout, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Jamie Clarke||Additional Inspector|
|Jo Davey||Additional Inspector|
|Kevin Harrison||Additional Inspector|
|Sandra Teacher||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School., 27−28 February 2013||3 of 9|
Information about this school
- St James’ Catholic High School is a larger-than-average-sized 11 to 19 mixed comprehensive
school. There are more boys than girls in the school.
- The school has specialisms in science and sport and is a Fairtrade School.
- Almost two thirds of the students are from White British, Irish or other White or mixed White
background. The proportion from minority ethnic groups is well above the national average. The
proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is well above the national
- The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium is in line with the national average.
This funding is provided by the government to support students known to be eligible for free
school meals, those who are in the care of the local authority and children of service families.
- Around 5% of the students are disabled or have special educational needs. The proportion of
students supported by school action is well below average, but the proportion supported by
school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is broadly in line with
- All provision for students on alternative programmes is arranged by the school.
- The school is a lead organisation for ‘Challenge the Gap’ and shares best practices that support
groups to achieve better in schools within the National Challenge partnership.
- The school exceeds current government floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for
students’ attainment and progress.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Increase the proportion of outstanding teaching and raise students’ attainment so students
achieve better GCSE grades which are consistently and significantly above the national average
in all subjects by ensuring that:
all teachers make even better use of information about students’ progress to match tasks
more closely to the needs of every student in the class, especially the high attainers
students act on the feedback given in all subjects and are able to demonstrate that they have
understood the steps required to secure the improvements needed and are seen to act upon
- Improve leadership and management to consistently outstanding levels so that all teams apply
the best practice seen on inspection to raise teachers’ expectations of students and ensure
students make consistently rapid progress.
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School, 27−28 February 2013.||4 of 9|
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students join the school with attainment that is generally better than national averages.
Performance indicators for the period of 2010 to 2012 show that, by the end of Year 11,
attainment is above the national averages and that the gap is growing with an increasing
proportion of students achieving the higher A* to A grades.
- Examination results in the key measure of five or more A* to C grades including English and
mathematics have improved significantly over the past few years. Detailed information held by
the school indicates that it is on track to maintain and continue the improvement in results this
year and the upward trend is set to continue.
- Students achieve very well in English, often making better than expected progress. Much has
been done to strengthen the teaching in mathematics. This work has been very successful and
results are improving with all students securing the outcomes expected of them and many now
achieving even better than this.
- Leaders have a rigorous approach to raising achievement and, whilst GCSE results do not show
students making equally good progress in all subjects, the current assessment shows that
performance in other subjects is catching up. Achievement in science is improving, but it is still
not strong enough.
- Some students are entered early for GCSE examinations, but only when they are deemed to be
ready. If they do not achieve their expected grades they are given further opportunities to
achieve their goals.
- Disabled students and those with special educational needs are making better than expected
progress because the school supports their needs very effectively; for example, through the
alternative provision offered and the extensive targeted support provided by classroom teachers
and support staff. Students from minority ethnic backgrounds and those who speak English as
an additional language also achieve well.
- All groups of students who are eligible for pupil premium funding make good progress and
achieve well in English and mathematics. Average point scores at GCSE show that the gap in
achievement between these students and their peers is smaller than the national gap and is
reducing year on year. Funding is used in a variety of ways to support students. The extra
monies have been used wisely to provide a range of support to help these individuals to achieve
well and participate fully in the learning opportunities made available to them. The school’s work
is externally recognised as an example of best practice.
- Students read and write well. They are articulate and can express themselves confidently.
- Achievement in the sixth form has improved and students progress well in many of their A-level
and vocational courses. The progress of sixth form students is carefully monitored and support is
quickly and effectively put in place for anyone who is under achieving. Students are making
good progress from their starting points this year.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- There has been a relentless focus on raising the quality of teaching in the school. The result is
that teaching has significantly improved, is typically good, and sometimes outstanding.
- Teachers have good knowledge of their subjects and plan lessons well so that learning moves at
a good pace. They have high expectations of their students’ work and behaviour and encourage
the students to work in pairs or small groups. As a result, relationships are good and promote
very effective learning. For example, in a drama lesson, students worked on a piece exploring
the expression of emotions. They were actively engaged because they recognised that their
teacher was committed to supporting them achieve their best.
- In a small minority of lessons improvements are still required. In these lessons teachers do not
make enough use of available information on students’ learning to match their teaching to the
needs of all students in the class. This is particularly the case when the teacher does not plan
carefully enough to ensure that the most able students can move ahead more quickly or attempt
harder work from the start of a lesson. In some lessons teachers missed the chance to use
practical activities to consolidate learning. Students are quick to point out that they learn more
when they have to apply and use the skills they have learned in practical activities.
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School, 27−28 February 2013.||5 of 9|
- Teachers work closely with teaching assistants to provide extra help to those students who most
need it. Support for disabled students, those with special educational needs and for individuals
known to be eligible for the pupil premium is of a very good quality. Students’ progress is
regularly checked and relevant support provided. As a result, these students make good and
sometimes outstanding progress.
- Teachers are good at telling students how they can improve their work when they speak to
them, but the quality of written marking is too variable. Even when marking is thorough,
teachers do not always check to see if students are acting upon the advice given. Opportunities
for self- and peer assessment are sometimes missed.
- Sixth form students demonstrate positive attitudes towards their learning, particularly when
teaching is aimed at developing their reflective and analytical skills. Students are increasingly
more confident when applying their skills, knowledge and understanding to new learning and
real life scenarios.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- Attitudes to learning are exemplary. Students are attentive and self-disciplined learners in the
classroom. Their behaviour in their social areas is excellent and they move purposefully around
the narrow corridors of the building between lessons. Students are respectful to staff, visitors
and each other. Behaviours observed during the inspection are typical of those seen in the
school over time.
- Students spoken to during the inspection were adamant that behaviour is very good and they do
not tolerate behaviours that disrupt their learning. Examples of students correcting themselves
and each other were observed.
- Students feel very safe and secure. They were very aware of the different types of bullying that
can take place. All consider that bullying is extremely rare, including cyber bullying, and believe
the school deals with it quickly and successfully when any incidents take place. Discrimination is
- Parents and carers support their children’s views and a very significant majority believe them to
be happy, safe and free from bullying at school. Inspectors agreed with this view and members
of staff strongly agreed that the behaviour of students was excellent.
- Relationships between staff and students are very positive and supportive. The focus on high
quality teaching has ensured that students engage in their learning and are largely self-
managing in the classroom. Staff have been trained in appropriate approaches in managing
students’ behaviours. As a result, incidents of poor behaviour are extremely rare, with a range of
effective intervention strategies that have resulted in very low levels of exclusions.
- Teachers are generous with their time and students benefit from a wide range of extra-curricular
and enrichment activities. Extensive support programmes are available to individuals before,
during and after school.
- The support and care offered to students by all the staff are a real strength of the school. The
Curriculum Access and Support Team (CAST) provides a wide range of very effective
- Assemblies, tutor time and the school’s personal, social and health education all contribute well
the students’ strong spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Students support many
good causes through their charitable work.
- Attendance levels are high because students enjoy and value what the school offers them.
Attendance in the sixth form is good and rising rapidly, so attendance figures for the whole
school are well above national averages.
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School, 27−28 February 2013.||6 of 9|
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The leadership of the headteacher is exceptional. She has been relentless in driving up
standards and challenging underachievement. Senior leaders provide focused professional
development for all staff to raise standards further.
- All leaders and managers, including those responsible for governance, have high expectations
and ambition for the school and are now making a strong contribution to the improvement of
the school. The impact of this work is evident in the rising standards in English and mathematics
but has yet to show its full effect in some other subjects, including science, where improvements
have been more recent.
- Morale is high and students recognise and appreciate the way in which staff are committed to
their best interests. The school’s success in securing improvements is reflected in many of the
comments of staff who responded to the inspection questionnaire. As one teacher observed,
‘The focus on teaching and learning has been incredible. I am proud to be part of this amazing
school.’ All staff want to do their personal best.
- School improvement targets are challenging and the school compares itself carefully with
national and local benchmarks. The leadership teams have been remodelled to focus on the
school’s priorities, with budget planning also carefully taken into account.
- The work of each team is checked and monitored carefully. Effective action is taken quickly to
ensure that any weaknesses are improved quickly.
- High quality processes are in place to maintain and improve the quality of teaching. Leaders visit
lessons regularly to check the quality of teaching. They have a very accurate understanding of
what constitutes good teaching and provide advice and training to help improve and develop
best practice. Senior leaders take further action if their teaching does not improve.
- There are strong systems for managing the performance of staff and professional development
is linked to their identified needs. Teachers are expected to teach well and pay increases are
only given when their performance justifies it. There have been a large number of staff changes
and new staff have been appointed who share high expectations for the students.
- The curriculum is broad and balanced at all stages and is reviewed regularly to meet the needs
of students. It takes good account of students’ aspirations and needs. It promotes the spiritual,
moral, social and cultural development of the students well and provides equality of opportunity
for all. High quality alternative provision is provided on site. Enrichment and extra-curricular
activities are extensive and very well attended.
- Safeguarding meets statutory requirements and all staff have received suitable training in
safeguarding and child protection.
- Parents’ and carers’ responses to Parent View are very positive and an overwhelming majority
would strongly recommend the school to other families.
- The local authority expresses real confidence in the school. It provides light support to the
school as it recognises St James’ as a good school which is rapidly improving.
- The governance of the school:
– The governing body is ambitious for the school. The governors take a strategic approach and
challenge the school effectively. Training for governors has helped them to do this. The
headteacher provides high quality, detailed and honest reports about the school’s strengths
and weaknesses. Governors in the school have a good understanding of the quality of
teaching and achievement and strongly support school leaders in their drive for improvement.
They are aware that both achievement and the quality of teaching are improving and make a
clear link between appraisal and salary awards when agreeing pay scale progression for
teachers. The governing body ensures that resources are used well to benefit students,
including those eligible for pupil premium.
|Inspection report:||St James’ Catholic High School., 27−28 February 2013||7 of 9|
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 James’ Catholic High School., 27−28 February 2013||8 of 9|
|Unique reference number||101364|
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||11−19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1,125|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||230|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||13−14 January 2010|
|Telephone number||020 8358 2800|
|Fax number||020 8358 2801|
|Email address||admin@st-james .barnet.sch.uk|