St Mary's Catholic College Closed - academy converter Aug. 31, 2014
Headteacher: Mr Stephen Tierney
School holidays for St Mary's Catholic College via Blackpool council
1334 pupils capacity: 90% full
580 boys 49%
615 girls 51%
Last updated: Sept. 4, 2014
Secondary — Voluntary Aided School
- Education phase
- Religious character
- Roman Catholic
- Establishment type
- Voluntary Aided School
- Establishment #
- Close date
- Aug. 31, 2014
- Reason closed
- Academy Converter
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 332891, Northing: 437217
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.827, Longitude: -3.021
- Accepting pupils
- 11—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Nov. 16, 2011
- Diocese of Lancaster
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Blackpool North and Cleveleys › Park
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Maths and Computing (Operational)
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- St Mary's Catholic Academy FY37EQ
- 0.1 miles Christ The King Catholic Academy FY37NJ
- 0.2 miles Devonshire Junior School FY37PF
- 0.2 miles Grange Park Community Junior School FY37RW
- 0.2 miles Grange Park Community Nursery/Infant School FY37PF
- 0.2 miles Christ The King Catholic Primary School FY37RJ (213 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Boundary Primary School FY37RW (419 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Layton Primary School FY37DG (570 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Devonshire Infant School FY38AF
- 0.7 miles Collegiate High School FY37LS (363 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Devonshire Primary School FY38AF
- 0.7 miles Devonshire Primary Academy FY38AF (489 pupils)
- 0.8 miles St Kentigern's Catholic Primary School FY38BT (212 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Highfurlong School FY37LR (49 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Unity College Blackpool FY20TS
- 0.9 miles The Blackpool Sixth Form College FY37LR
- 1 mile Emmanuel Christian School FY30BE
- 1 mile Fylde Community School FY30BE
- 1 mile Dales House FY30BE
- 1 mile Unity Academy Blackpool FY20TS (724 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Holy Family Catholic Primary School FY12SD (200 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Park School FY39HF
- 1.1 mile Woodlands School FY39HF (92 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Park Community Academy FY39HF (156 pupils)
St Mary's Catholic College
|Inspection date(s)||16–17 November 2011|
|Unique Reference Number||119778|
|Inspect ion number||379887|
|Inspect ion dates||16–17 November 2011|
|Report ing inspector||Sally Kenyon HMI|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to
achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in educatio n and skills for learners of
all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and
Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based
learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and
other secure establishments. It rates council children's services, and inspects services for looked after
children, safeguarding and child protection.
Further copies of this report are obtainable from the school. Under the Education Act 2005, the school
must provide a copy of this report free of charge to certain categories of people. A charge not
exceeding the full cost of reproduction may be made for any other copies supplied.
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|Type of school||Secondary|
|School category||Voluntary aided|
|Age range of pupils||11–18|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Nu mber of pupils on the school roll||1,196|
|Of which number on roll in the sixth form||164|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of prev ious school inspection||01 October 2008|
|School address||St Walburga's Road|
|Telephone number||01253 396286|
|Fax number||01253 305475|
|Piccadilly Gate |
T: 0300 123 4234
Textphone: 0161 618 8524
reveal email address
This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and four
additional inspectors. Inspectors observed 41 teachers in 41 lessons and visited a
further 10 lessons through learning walks. Meetings were held with leaders at all
levels, members of the governing body and groups of students. They observed the
school's work, scrutinised books and safeguarding records, looked at documentation
and considered the views of parents and carers through 417 questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail
at a number of key areas.
- Achievement in mathematics.
- Progress of the most able students to check that there is sufficient challenge
in their learning.
- Effectiveness of the sixth form in meeting the needs of all students.
- Quality of monitoring, evaluation and planning to secure improvements.
Information about the school
St Mary’s Catholic College is a larger than average 11-18 school. It is a specialist
mathematics and computing college. The proportion of students known to be eligible
for free school meals is below the national average, as is the proportion of students
from minority ethnic groups. The proportion of students with special educational
needs and/or disabilities is broadly average. The school is a Leadership and
Innovation Academy Hub for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, holds the
national Healthy School status and has Microsoft Academy status. It is a Building
Schools for the Future sample school and a National College for School Leadership
National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) Leadership Development
Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory and 4 is inadequate
Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms
|Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?||2|
|The school's capacity for sustained improvement||2|
St Mary’s Catholic College is a good school where the promotion of Catholic values is
paramount, as one parent commented` the vibrant social, charity and religious part
of the school illuminates every aspect of school life.’
Many aspects of the school’s work are outstanding; primarily, the care, guidance and
support that students receive and their social, moral, spiritual and cultural
development. Additional outstanding features include the way in which the school
uses partnerships to promote learning and well-being for a diverse group of students'
needs, the extent to which students feel safe and their contribution to the school and
Students make good progress from their broadly average starting points. The school
has had some significant issues historically with the stability of staffing in
mathematics. These are now resolved and staffing has been stable for the last two
years. However, this has affected attainment in mathematics which has been
significantly lower than other subjects in the school. Progress has improved at Key
Stage 3 as a result of some 1:1 coaching, and the very large majority of teaching
seen in mathematics during the inspection was good. The school’s historically
accurate tracking predicts that the mathematics results for 2012 will be broadly
average. Accelerating progress in mathematics remains the priority area for
development within the school.
Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities make outstanding
progress. This is partly due to the targeted care and support that individuals receive
from the supportive teams of chaplains and inclusion staff who work with form
tutors. Their focus is upon removing barriers to learning and they are highly
effective. They include a police community safety officer, family liaison worker, a
youth worker and members of the senior leadership team.
Teaching overall is good, and inspectors observed some outstanding practice. In the
best lessons, teachers use suitably challenging and engaging activities linked to the
varying abilities within the group. These lessons have clear pace and purpose and
students are able to link new learning to sound prior knowledge. Their work is clearly
marked to identify the strengths and gives very clear detailed feedback on how
learning can be further progressed. In lessons where progress is slower, not enough
emphasis is given to the ongoing assessment of progress both in the lesson and in
work books. While marking may indicate the quality of the work, it does not give
specific, high quality feedback on how to improve. Moreover, not enough emphasis is
given to students’ prior attainment data to inform the planning of learning activities.
This means that these activities are not always matched well to students’ abilities.
The school is only a few weeks into a new curriculum based upon three learning
sessions per day and aimed at promoting the ‘transforming learning’ agenda. The
information and communication technology (ICT) aspect of the school’s specialism
has had a key impact on creating engaging and stimulating opportunities for
learning. This was seen through students’ use of learning tablets in lessons and
highly effective use of cross-curricular ICT.
The headteacher and his team have managed to maintain high standards in
achievement while driving forward a new build on the Building Schools for the Future
(BSF) programme in less time than some other schools have had. During this phase,
attendance has improved significantly and persistent absence has more than halved.
These factors contribute to the school demonstrating good capacity for further
improvement. Leaders at all levels have an accurate picture of the school’s strengths
and weaknesses; however, systems for ongoing monitoring, evaluation and review
are more refined in some areas than others. For example, the school’s extensive
work on community cohesion is evaluated through various different strands of the
development plan but opportunities are missed to pull these findings together to
have even greater impact. In addition, the monitoring of the quality of marking is
based primarily at departmental level but senior leaders have yet to refine their
systems for checking the quality of monitoring to provide greater consistency and
even better quality feedback for students.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Continue to accelerate achievement, particularly in mathematics, by:
- embedding the use of prior attainment data to inform lesson planning
- ensuring that students consistently receive high quality written feedback
on how to improve their work
- further refining systems for ongoing monitoring, evaluation and review.
|Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils||2|
Attainment is above average, students make good progress in lessons and achieve
well over time. Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities make
exceptional progress due to the outstanding care, guidance and support they receive.
Outstanding progress was seen in a Year 10 business studies lesson where students
were completing a SWOT analysis for a business of their choice. Students exhibited
outstanding behaviour because they managed their own learning and were able to
independently progress by challenging each other in their thinking. The teacher
acted as a facilitator, picking out students to assess independently their learning and
correct any emerging misconceptions. Aspirational targets are set and students
closely tracked to identify underachievement. The school uses a range of intervention
strategies to target students at risk of underachievement, including inviting parents
and carers in to complete coursework with them.
The overwhelming majority of students report that they feel safe in school and would
have a number of adults to turn to should they experience any problems. Inspectors
observed students being polite and considerate in classes and around the school.
They have coped well with the great disruption to their normal routines caused by
the new build and the temporarily limited recreational space. There is a clear system
for rewards and sanctions, which were both observed being effectively used by staff.
Students adopt healthy lifestyles well and many take part in extra-curricular sporting
activities. Attendance is above average due to a concerted effort since the previous
inspection. The extensive inclusion team monitor individuals and groups of students
to ensure that where there is any variation in attendance they take necessary steps
to close the gaps. They are well prepared for their next steps and almost all students
go on to further education, employment or training.
Students make an outstanding contribution to their school and the wider community
through the vast array of projects to which they commit. They have raised over
£3000 since September 2011 to help a local special school, they collect food for
‘Street Life’ to help the homeless, and they invite more senior members of the local
community in to watch high quality theatrical and musical performances. The
`Activate’ group have achieved the Bronze ECO Schools Award and are now working
towards the next level. Initiatives such as these contribute to the outstanding social,
moral, spiritual and cultural development. Many students take the opportunity to
contribute to the St Vincent de Paul society and CAFOD, raising money and taking
part in activities to help others. The Year 7 nurture group were observed studying
Diwali and in a Year 10 religious studies lesson discussed the sanctity of marriage. In
these lessons, students showed a deep consideration for other people’s values and
an ability to relate these to their own beliefs. Registration time is used for prayers
and personal reflection.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning |
Taking into account:
|The quality of pupils' learning and their progress||2|
|The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or |
disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||1|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les||2|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||1|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will |
contribute to their future economic well-being
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spir itual, moral, social and cultural development||1|
The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average;
and 4 is low
How effective is the provision?
The quality of teaching is good and the use of assessment to support learning
satisfactory. Although some good examples of assessment were seen, data indicating
students’ current and prior abilities are not yet used consistently across all lessons.
Much of the time, lessons have clearly focused learning objectives and outcomes and
in some lessons these were linked to very specific levelled assessment criteria. When
used well, this provided considerable intellectual challenge, particularly for the ablest
pupils. However, a minority of lessons do not yet exploit the data sufficiently to
inform their planning. These lesson activities are not challenging enough for some
students to make the best possible progress, and the least able cannot complete the
tasks set for them.
The curriculum is good and offers a variety of pathways for students to access
including vocational elements. Excellent use is made of ICT across many subjects
and many students access their online learning from home. As one parent
commented, `the personal revision plan is a wonderful tool, enabling parents to
support their children and making revision more manageable’. Extra-curricular
activities, include TOG on Fridays in the Chapel ‘a chance to chill and spend time with
God’, YU-GI-OH and Warhammer club.
The Positive Intervention or PIT Stop team are central to support for all students and
works closely with the chaplaincy team, form tutors and a wealth of agencies. There
is a very effective rewards system which results in merits, lunch fast passes,
attendance vouchers, online educational games, reward trips and certificates in
assembly for the lower school. Key Stage 4 and above receive postcards of praise
and letters of commendation to parents and carers. There are very strong transition
arrangements from primary schools and a prominent anti-bullying STOP campaign
developed by the school council.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching |
Taking into account:
|The use of assessment to support learning||3|
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where |
relevant, through partnerships
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
How effective are leadership and management?
The headteacher clearly has the overwhelming support of parents, carers, staff and
students surveyed during the inspection; his vision to transform learning has seen
outcomes improve significantly since the previous inspection. Much of the school’s
professional development programme has been rightly focusing upon assessment to
support learning, with the biggest impact so far being felt in the quality of sixth form
teaching. The school has invested heavily in leadership training and development at
all levels. Senior leaders have a strong vision to transform learning ready for the new
building and the opportunities the creative space will afford. The first steps have
been taken towards this with the new three-period timetable. While there are clear
benefits of this, particularly seen in sixth form teaching, the school is aware of the
need to closely monitor progress across all year groups and subjects to evaluate the
suitability of the new longer lessons. There is an appropriate emphasis on coaching
and `Innovation Fellows’, research and to trial new approaches to learning.
The school has an immense range of partnerships to support students’ learning and
well-being. They incorporate work with primary schools, the chaplaincy team and the
local college. The inclusion teams coordinate a range of services to support students
whose circumstances may make them vulnerable and the impact of their work has
been pivotal in improving outcomes for all students.
Community cohesion is good. Students come to St Mary’s from a great variety of
backgrounds and get along well. They are aware of and get actively involved in their
local, national and global communities. Last summer a group of students went to
teach in a school in Nepal, closer to home the school’s jazz group are planning their
next concert for local residents. The school engages well with parents and carers and
this was corroborated by the large majority who responded to the survey. However,
a small minority of parents and carers commented that, on occasion, they had to
wait some time for a response about issues concerning their child.
The governing body is highly committed to, and supportive of, the school. This is
proven through members' unswerving focus on meeting the sometimes extremely
challenging deadlines posed by the BSF project. They have presentations from
leaders at all levels to their meetings but are not yet fully involved in whole-school
Safeguarding arrangements are good, with clear policies and procedures in place.
The school promotes equal opportunities and tackles discrimination well, resulting in
all groups in school making at least good progress. The school provides good value
These are the grades for the leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and |
Taking into account:
|The leadership and management of teaching and learning||2|
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the |
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||2|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and |
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohe sion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for |
There is a clear vision for its future and work to improve the quality of teaching has
had a very positive impact. The number of students continuing from AS to A2 level
has improved considerably over the past two years and overall numbers of students
entering the sixth form have also risen.
Achievement is good. Students are set challenging targets based on their Key Stage
4 attainment and their progress is now rigorously tracked. Students were observed
making good progress in lessons due to consistently high quality teaching. Teaching
is good overall with some outstanding practice seen. For example, in a Year 13 music
lesson about harmonies, outstanding progress was made due to the excellent subject
knowledge of the teacher and the ability to clearly demonstrate key learning points
using a piano. The high quality dialogue promoted a greater preparedness to learn
new and challenging concepts in a supportive and stimulating environment. Students
are keen to discuss their future options post sixth form and enjoy the Wednesday
‘enrichment’ afternoons when they may partake in any number of worthwhile
activities, from football to serving soup at the Salvation Army base.
These are the grades for the sixth form
|Overall effectiveness of the sixth Form |
Taking into account:
|Outcomes for students in the sixth form||2|
|The quality of provision in the sixth form||2|
|Leadership and management of the sixth form||2|
Views of parents and carers
Almost all parents and carers who responded to the survey felt that the school is well
led and managed. Almost all who responded considered their child to be safe at
school. Likewise, most who responded felt that the school takes account of their
suggestions and concerns and that teaching is good. A few parents and carers
expressed concerns regarding behaviour, homework, and communication from the
school. All of these concerns were followed up with the school by the inspection
team. The school accepted comments about the timeliness of responding to issues
raised by parents and carers and has plans in place to improve this. The very large
majority of parents and carers who responded to the survey feel that behaviour is
effectively dealt with and good behaviour was observed around the school. Different
online learning opportunities are offered for homework and some parents and carers
expressed their appreciation of these initiatives.
Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at St Mary's Catholic College to
complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13
statements about the school.
The inspection team received 417 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In
total, there are 1,196 pupils registered at the school.
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The
percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number
of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular
question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|My child enjoys school||167||40||228||55||15||4||5||1|
|The school keeps my child |
|The school informs me |
about my child's progress
|My child is making enough |
progress at this school
|The teaching is good at |
|The school helps me to |
support my child's learning
|The school helps my child |
to have a healthy lifestyle
|The school makes sure that |
my child is well prepared
for the future (for example
changing year group,
changing school, and for
children who are finishing
school, entering further or
higher education, or
|The school meets my |
child's particular needs
|The school deals effectively |
|The school takes account |
of my suggestions and
|The school is led and |
|Overall, I am happy with |
my child's experience at
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An outstanding |
school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils'
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school |
that is good is serving its pupils well.
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A |
satisfactory school is providing adequately for its
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An |
inadequate school needs to make significant
improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils.
Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it
Overall effectiveness of schools
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of |
|Pupil referral |
New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that
inspectors now make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above is for the period 1 September 2010 to 08 April 2011 and are consistent
with the latest published official statistics about maintained school inspection outcomes (see
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Sixth form figures reflect the
judgements made for the overall effectiveness of the sixth form in secondary schools, special schools
and pupil referral units.
Common terminology used by inspectors
|Achievement:||the progress and success of a pupil in their |
learning, development or training.
|Attainment:||the standard of the pupils' work shown by test |
and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:||the proven ability of the school to continue |
improving. Inspectors base this judgement on
what the school has accomplished so far and on
the quality of its systems to maintain
|Leadership and management:||the contribution of all the staff with |
responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to
identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff
and running the school.
|Learning:||how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their |
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
|Overall effectiveness:||inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall |
effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school. The following
judgements, in particular, influence what the
overall effectiveness judgement will be.
The school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
|Progress:||the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons |
and over longer periods of time. It is often
measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at
the end of a key stage with their attainment when
18 November 2011
Inspection of St Mary's Catholic College, Blackpool, FY3 7EQ
Thank you for the warm welcome you gave the inspection team when we visited
your school recently. We took into account what you told us through the
questionnaires. We also reflected upon the opinions and information you gave us at
the student meetings, and from discussions with inspectors in lessons and around
the school. We were most impressed by the contribution you make to the community
through your charitable work and the care, guidance and support the school provides
for you. We found you to be polite and eager to learn, and your behaviour was
generally good in lessons and around the school.
To summarise, we found that:
- your achievement is good due to the good teaching you receive and the
outstanding care, guidance and support
- you make an outstanding contribution to your school and wider community
- you have very strong social, moral, spiritual and cultural aspects to your
- your achievement in mathematics is not as strong as in other subjects.
We have asked the school to further improve your achievement by ensuring that all
work is designed to be suitably challenging for you to make the best possible
progress in every lesson. We have also asked that teachers give you detailed
feedback on your work for every lesson so you know what you need to do to
improve. Finally, we have asked the leaders in your school to ensure that, amongst
everything else, all of these things are checked regularly so that you can make even
Her Majesty's Inspector