St Mary Magdalene Academy
phone: 020 76970123
principal: Mr Paul Hollingum
1360 pupils capacity: 87% full
635 boys 54%
545 girls 46%
Last updated: June 20, 2014
All Through — Academy Sponsor Led
- Education phase
- All Through
- Religious character
- Church of England
- Establishment type
- Academy Sponsor Led
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Sept. 1, 2007
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 531162, Northing: 184855
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.547, Longitude: -0.10982
- Accepting pupils
- 4—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- May 15, 2013
- Diocese of London
- Region › Const. › Ward
- London › Islington South and Finsbury › St Mary's
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- St Mary Magdalene CofE Primary School N78PG
- 0.1 miles New River College Secondary N78RH (78 pupils)
- 0.1 miles St Mary Magdalene Academy: the Courtyard N78LT (15 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Lough Road Class Base (Central) N78RH
- 0.3 miles Ring Cross Primary School N78EE
- 0.3 miles Drayton Park Primary School N51PJ (335 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Laycock Primary School N11SW (420 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School N78JN (407 pupils)
- 0.3 miles London Metropolitan University N78DB
- 0.3 miles University of North London N78DB
- 0.4 miles Thornhill Class Base (West) N11HX
- 0.4 miles Canonbury Junior School N12UT
- 0.4 miles Canonbury Infants' School N12UT
- 0.4 miles Thornhill Primary School N11HX (457 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Canonbury Primary School N12UT (467 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Special Learning Centre (Secondary Base) N79QJ
- 0.5 miles William Tyndale Class Base (South) N12AQ
- 0.5 miles Robert Blair Primary School N79QJ (260 pupils)
- 0.5 miles William Tyndale Primary School N12GG
- 0.5 miles Highbury Grove School N52EQ (1129 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Highbury Fields School N51AR (721 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Samuel Rhodes MLD School N52EG (85 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Special Learning Centre N79QJ
- 0.5 miles William Tyndale Primary School N12GG (446 pupils)
St Mary Magdalene Academy
Liverpool Road, Islington, London, N7 8PG
|Inspection dates||15–16 May 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|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
| The academy does well for its pupils and, as |
Many children start school with skills which
Pupils currently in Year 11 are on track to
Teaching and learning are good in most
Pupils who need extra help are given good
Teaching assistants and support workers
a result, their achievement is good.
are below expectations for their age. By the
end of Year 6 their attainment is in line with
the national average.
attain standards of work that are well above
average by the end of this academic year.
lessons. Some teaching is outstanding.
support. As a result, they are making good
progress at least and the gaps in attainment
between different groups are closing.
contribute well in lessons and other activities.
They make sure that pupils understand their
tasks and are able to take part fully in the life
of the academy.
| Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural |
Behaviour is good in lessons and around the
The sixth form is good. Effective leadership
The principal and senior staff lead the school
Leaders have high ambitions for the academy
The governing body is effective and shares the
development is a strength of the academy.
academy and pupils feel safe. They are polite
and show respect for each other.
and teaching, which is at least good, contribute
well to pupils’ achievement.
well. They check the quality of teaching
carefully and make sure that the standard of
pupils’ learning is good and improving.
and its pupils. They know the academy’s
strengths well and also where it needs to
school’s high ambition. Governors hold the
principal and senior leaders to account for the
| In a small minority of lessons, pupils do not |
make enough progress because activities are
not sufficiently well linked to their abilities.
| The achievement of some pupils is hindered by |
their poor attendance.
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013||2 of 11|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 47 lessons of which 21 were joint observations with senior leaders.
- They held discussions with pupils, senior leaders, teaching staff, representatives of the
governing body and a representative of the London Diocesan Board for Schools.
- The inspection team checked pupils’ books as well as a range of documents, including the
school’s self-evaluation and information about pupils’ progress. Inspectors also looked at
documents relating to behaviour, attendance and safeguarding.
- The results of the responses to the academy’s own survey of parents and staff were also
|Keith Thomas, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Isobel Randall||Additional Inspector|
|Brenda Watson||Additional Inspector|
|Paul O'Shea||Additional Inspector|
|Pauline Hoyle||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013||3 of 11|
Information about this school
- This is an all-through primary and secondary school of average size which opened in 2007. It is
sponsored by the London Diocesan Board for Schools.
- The number of pupils from minority ethnic groups is much higher than average.
- The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs supported
through school action is broadly average. The proportions of those supported through school
action plus or with a statement of special educational needs are above average.
- The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is above that found
- The proportion of pupils who are known to be eligible for the pupil premium (additional
government funding for specific pupils, including those known to be eligible for free school
meals) is well above average.
- A very small number of pupils attend off-site provision at a range of local colleges. These
arrangements are made as required to suit the needs of individual pupils.
- The Year 11 students who took GCSEs in 2012 were the first group in the school to do so.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum levels
expected for pupils’ attainment and progress.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Increase the amount of teaching that is outstanding by:
checking that activities are suitable for all pupils to make rapid progress
- making sure that the wide range of successful strategies used in the best lessons is fully
developed by all teachers.
- Improve overall attendance figures by making sure that pupils maintain their good rates of
attendance as they move through the school
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013||4 of 11|
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Pupils achieve well. Many start school with skills in communication, literacy and mathematics
which are lower than those expected for their age. They are taught well and consequently make
good progress through Reception and continue to do so in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. By the
end of Year 6 attainment in reading, writing and mathematics is in line with the national
- Through Key Stages 3 and 4, pupils continue to make progress across a range of subjects. GCSE
results in 2012 however, were below average and fell well short of the academy’s expectation.
This has been successfully addressed and current progress information securely indicates that
outcomes in 2013 will be better than average. This is also confirmed by lesson observation and
- The pupil premium is used well and the progress of eligible pupils is given a high priority by
senior leaders and all staff. Funding is used to provide a range of support, including small group
tuition and extra classes. In reading for instance, eligible pupils were approximately five terms
behind others. This is now reduced to less than one. At GCSE, eligible pupils have, in the past,
attained up to one quarter of a grade lower in English and mathematics than others. This gap is
reduced in mathematics and is virtually closed in English.
- The progress of pupils who are disabled and those who have special educational needs is good
and in some cases outstanding. All teachers and support staff are aware of the needs of these
pupils and plan so that they are properly supported and achieve as well as they are able.
- Good support is provided for pupils in Year 7 who still find reading difficult. Their progress is
checked regularly and records show that almost all have made good progress since arriving in
- Some pupils are entered early for GCSE mathematics in Year 11. All pupils who meet or exceed
their target grade continue to study mathematics in Year 11. This provides good preparation for
sixth form studies where mathematics is a compulsory part of International Baccalaureate
- The progress of the very few pupils who attend off-site provision is carefully monitored and they
achieve well. Pupils who speak English as an additional language and those from minority ethnic
groups achieve as well as other pupils.
- In the sixth form, achievement in lessons is good. The outcomes for pupils in 2012 were high
when compared to other sixth forms. Pupils say that ‘active learning’ and, ‘being taught as
adults’, helps them to do well.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is good throughout the school and, at times, it is outstanding. English, mathematics
and a range of other subjects are effectively taught and, as a result, pupils achieve well.
- Teachers aim high and plan carefully. Pupils know they are expected to work hard and complete
tasks. In the best lessons, they are constantly challenged to deepen their understanding. For
instance, a visit to the ‘Ministry of Stories’ was used as a stimulus for pupils’ creative writing,
contributing to the high quality of the completed work.
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013|
- Skilled teaching techniques and methods are key features of the most effective teaching. A good
example was seen in an outstanding physical education lesson, when pupils were involved in
analysing and evaluating the development of their classmates’ skills in improving their forehand
stroke in tennis. The feedback this generated helped them to improve their skills significantly.
However, such methods of engaging all pupils are not evident in all lessons.
- In a few lessons, tasks are not appropriately matched to pupils’ abilities. As a result, some pupils
become disengaged and make too little progress
- Planning for all abilities is clearly seen in lessons. Pupils of varying abilities are often carefully
grouped together so that more and less able pupils may take a full part in the lesson’s activities.
- Pupils’ work is marked regularly and thoroughly. They say that they know how well they are
doing and what is needed to make further progress. For instance, in an art lesson, a pupil
described that achieving the highest grade in printing required clear detail, use of a range of
materials and good use of light and shade.
- Teaching in the sixth form is at least good and some is outstanding. Pupils respond well to the
appropriately mature atmosphere in lessons. In a music lesson, pupils were encouraged to
develop their own style and content, while making sure that their compositions contained the
required elements to achieve good grades.
- The relationship between teachers and pupils in lessons is an important strength. Teachers
encourage pupils to do their best work, to be confident and to offer answers and suggestions.
Opportunities are frequently provided for pupils to discuss these ideas with each other and to
suggest alternatives and improvements. Praise is used appropriately and pupils’ achievements
are frequently highlighted.
- The learning environment is attractive and classrooms provide a stimulating place for pupils to
learn. Teachers make sure that high quality displays celebrate pupils’ work and achievement.
- Teaching assistants and support workers contribute well to pupils’ learning. This is particularly so
for pupils who are disabled or have special educational needs.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||is good|
- The academy is an orderly community. Pupils know the rules and are courteous and respectful
to each other, adults and visitors. They spoke openly to inspectors and told them for instance,
how ‘family groups’ encouraged older pupils to help their younger peers.
- Pupils also told inspectors, that behaviour during lessons and outside lessons is generally good.
They said that incidents of bullying are rare and if they occur, are properly dealt with. They
added that the academy is a safe community and that the dangers of the outside, do not come
‘through the gate’.
- The academy encourages pupil responsibility and self-regulation. The academy parliament is
responsible for making the views of the ‘pupil voice’ known. Elected members of the parliament
meet half-termly and members of the cabinet are responsible for carrying out decisions, meeting
with members of the senior leadership team regularly.
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013|
- In almost all lessons, pupils’ attitudes to learning are very positive. They are keen to contribute
to activities and confident to do so. They show enthusiasm for learning and know that this will
prepare them well for the future.
- Sixth form pupils make a positive contribution to the life of the school. They provide good role
models for younger pupils and support then as they progress through the school.
- Although it is improving, attendance is slightly below average and it is noticeably lower for older
pupils. Pupils are punctual to lessons and at the start of the day. There are good routines to
make sure that late arrivals are noted and proper records are kept so that trends of lateness can
be checked. However, not enough is done to ensure that pupils maintain their good attendance
as they get older.
|The leadership and management||is good|
- The ambition and determination of the principal and senior leaders to do well is evident in all of
the academy’s work. They know what needs to be done to continue to be successful and have
successfully addressed the areas for improvement from the previous inspection.
- There is a rigorous programme of lesson observation which makes sure that the quality of
teaching remains high. It is also accompanied by a comprehensive range of training
opportunities to support aspects of teaching that are less effective. The agreement of lesson
observation judgements between inspectors and members of the leadership team during the
inspection, showed the school self-evaluation to be accurate in this important area.
- The academy works effectively with the London Diocesan Board for Schools and other advisers
to support its efforts to continue to improve. Recent work on more robust checking of pupils’
progress and predicting pupils’ results more accurately, have been important in addressing
issues connected to last year’s lower GCSE results.
- There are well developed policies for all areas of academy activity. This includes the high profile
given to literacy. As a result, pupils' development in this key area is a given a high profile in
- The sixth form is well managed and senior leaders make sure that good opportunities are
created for their pupils. Pupils speak highly of the support and guidance they receive when
entering the sixth form and in preparation for the next stage of their education or employment.
- Subjects are arranged so that the needs of all pupils are met within the formal timetable and
beyond. There are several innovative features, such as ‘enrichment’, which provide pupils with
opportunities to develop skills and interests beyond their core subjects. Activities include sport,
cookery, art and computing. Senior leaders make good use of the all-age nature of the academy
to make sure that curriculum arrangements allow its stated aim of ‘seamless transition’
throughout the stages of education to be achieved. A good example is ‘homebase’, which
provides a good introduction for younger secondary pupils and consistent literacy support from a
dedicated teacher and teaching assistant.
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013|
- The promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong. This is
evident in lessons and a range of other activities. There is a wide selection of cultural activities
with a strong focus on musical theatre and the academy has several overseas inks with schools
in Senegal, China, Mexico and Finland.
- A good programme of assemblies gives pupils the opportunity to reflect on some of life’s deeper
issues. For instance, in one assembly, pupils were given the opportunity to reflect on what might
be done about the fact that one in eight people would be hungry that night.
- Senior leaders make strong efforts to keep parents, cares and the community informed about
the academy for instance, through the informative website and regular newsletters.
- Careful attention is paid to safeguarding and child protection and statutory requirements are
- The governance of the school:
The governing body is properly organised to play its part in the life of the academy. It
challenges the principal and senior leaders in tackling areas for improvement. A properly
planned programme of visits means that the academy’s work is regularly checked. Governors
are trained well and properly prepared to work with the academy in areas such as
safeguarding, child protection and staff recruitment. The governors have a good knowledge of
how well the academy is doing and a clear picture of pupils’ achievements. They also
understand the teacher appraisal system and what is done to tackle any underperformance.
They know that teachers’ objectives are linked to improved outcomes for pupils and that pay
progression is dependent on these being achieved. Finances are properly used and governors
carefully monitor the use of pupil premium funding to bring about improvement for eligible
|Inspection report:||St Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013||8 of 11|
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 Mary Magdalene Academy, 15–16 May 2013||9 of 11|
|Unique reference number||134314|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Academy|
|Age range of pupils||4-18|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1105|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||120|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Rev Lucy Winkett|
|Date of previous school inspection||16|
|Telephone number||020 76970123|
|Fax number||02077 004218|