School etc

St Michael's Catholic School

St Michael's Catholic School
Daws Hill Lane
High Wycombe

phone: 01494 535196

headteacher: Mr Robert Simpson Bed Hons Ma

reveal email: sswe…


school holidays: via Buckinghamshire council

1107 pupils aged 2—18y mixed gender
1115 pupils capacity: 99% full

555 boys 50%

≤ 234a54b104c95y306y337y288y299y2910y3311y6212y6713y5914y5715y6216y1117y13

550 girls 50%

≤ 254a174b64c145y306y277y328y319y3110y2611y6112y4813y5614y6215y5016y2417y20

Last updated: June 19, 2014

All Through — Voluntary Aided School

Education phase
All Through
Religious character
Roman Catholic
Establishment type
Voluntary Aided School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 486233, Northing: 191806
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.618, Longitude: -0.75586
Accepting pupils
3—18 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Oct. 24, 2013
Diocese of Northampton
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Wycombe › Abbey
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Admissions policy
Main specialism
Science (Operational)
Investor in People
Committed IiP Status
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Free school meals %
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in High Wycombe

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles St Augustine's Catholic Primary School HP111PW
  2. 0.3 miles Wycombe High School HP111TB
  3. 0.3 miles Woodland First School and Primary Centre HP111TB
  4. 0.3 miles Wycombe High School HP111TB (1303 pupils)
  5. 0.4 miles John Hampden Grammar School HP111SZ
  6. 0.4 miles John Hampden Grammar School HP111SZ (1056 pupils)
  7. 0.5 miles Wycombe Abbey School HP111PE (560 pupils)
  8. 0.6 miles High Wycombe Church of England Combined School HP112JU (208 pupils)
  9. 0.6 miles Buckinghamshire New University HP112JZ
  10. 0.7 miles Chiltern Gate School HP123NE (99 pupils)
  11. 0.8 miles Crown House School HP111BJ (144 pupils)
  12. 0.8 miles Verney Avenue School HP123NE
  13. 0.8 miles Kiteridge Education Unit HP123NE (10 pupils)
  14. 0.9 miles Chepping View Primary School HP124PR
  15. 0.9 miles Shelburne Infant School HP124PR
  16. 0.9 miles Vinio House School HP124PR
  17. 0.9 miles Park Crescent School HP124PR
  18. 0.9 miles Chepping View Primary Academy HP124PR (423 pupils)
  19. 1 mile Bowerdean Nursery School HP136HR (102 pupils)
  20. 1 mile Green Street First School HP112RA
  21. 1 mile Oakridge School HP112PN (414 pupils)
  22. 1 mile Hamilton Primary School HP136SG
  23. 1 mile Middle School Centre HP112RA
  24. 1 mile Hamilton Academy HP136SG (642 pupils)

List of schools in High Wycombe

School report

St Michael’s Catholic


Daws Hill Lane, High Wycombe, HP11 1PW

Inspection dates 24–25 October 2013
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous 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:

Students make good progress in the primary
Teaching is usually good and some is
Teaching assistants are particularly effective
Teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage
and secondary phases. Standards at the end
of Key Stages 2 and 4 are broadly average.
outstanding. Teachers have good subject
knowledge, present introductions clearly to
classes and support students well with their
learning. Teachers check on learning
regularly in lessons and adapt activities where
necessary so progress remains good.
throughout the school and ensure that
disabled students and those with special
educational needs make good progress.
is particularly strong and the wide range of
interesting activities on offer supports
children’s development well in all areas of
Students have positive attitudes to learning
Leaders, managers and governors have
Governors hold senior leaders to account
and behave well around the school. They say
they feel safe in the school and they have a
good awareness of how to keep themselves
safe in different situations.
overseen the growth of the school from a small
secondary school to an all-through school very
effectively. They have ensured that good
standards of teaching and achievement have
been maintained in the secondary phase and
that these have improved in the primary
effectively and have a good understanding of
the strengths and areas for development in the
There is not enough outstanding teaching.
Standards of presentation and handwriting in
Work does not always help the most-able
make the fastest progress and marking does
not give students clear steps to improve.
the primary phase are not high enough and
there are not enough opportunities for pupils
to write at length.
The sixth form requires improvement as some
students do not do well on some courses and
students’ progress is not monitored closely

Information about this inspection

  • The inspection team observed 39 lessons or part-lessons. Some of these observations were
    carried out with members of the senior leadership team.
  • Inspectors held meetings with several groups of students across the primary and secondary
    phases. They also met with senior staff, subject leaders, four governors and a representative
    from the local authority learning trust.
  • Inspectors looked at a range of students’ work in lessons and some in more detail with one of
    the school’s senior leaders.
  • The inspection team took into account the responses of 47 parents and carers to the online
    questionnaire Parent View, written correspondence from parents and carers and questionnaires
    completed by 59 staff.
  • Inspectors reviewed records of students’ recent attainment and progress, the school’s evaluation
    of its own work and plans for the future, minutes of meetings of the governing body, and
    safeguarding, behaviour and attendance records.

Inspection team

Susan Williams, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Kevin Morris Additional Inspector
Caroline Pardy Additional Inspector
Lynne Thorogood Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • The school is an all-through school. The primary phase is larger than the average-sized primary
    school and the secondary phase is smaller than the average-sized secondary school.
  • The majority of students are White British with others from a range of backgrounds including
    other White, Caribbean and African. The proportion of students whose first language is not
    English is double the national average.
  • The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs supported at
    school action is below average. The proportion supported at school action plus or with a
    statement of special educational needs is also below average.
  • The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium funding (additional
    funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, children who are looked after by
    the local authority and those from service families) is below average. There is one student from
    a service family in the school.
  • The school does not receive any Year 7 catch-up funding. This is additional government funding
    for students who did not achieve the expected Level 4 at the end of Key Stage 2.
  • A small number of secondary students attend part of their education off site at the local
    authority pupil referral unit.
  • The school works closely with other secondary schools in a local sixth form consortium.
  • The school meets the government’s current floor standards at the end of both Key Stages 2 and
    4. These set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress in English and
  • The school expanded from a secondary school to include a primary phase starting with reception
    children from September 2011. A new nursery opened in September 2013.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve teaching so that more is outstanding by:
    precisely planning work that helps all learners, particularly the more-able, to make faster
    ensuring all learners have clear next steps in marking and feedback to help them in their
    learning and give them opportunities to reflect on these and to respond to teachers’ comments
    improving the quality of presentation and handwriting in the primary phase and giving pupils
    more opportunities for extended writing across different subjects.
  • Improve the effectiveness of the sixth form by ensuring students choose more appropriate
    courses based on their prior attainment and assess them regularly to ensure their good
    achievement in all areas.

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • Children enter the Early Years Foundation Stage with skills and knowledge below the levels
    expected for their age, with particular weaknesses in their communication and language
    development. A wide range of activities and a good balance of child-initiated and adult-led
    activities enables children to learn skills quickly and make good progress. At the end of
    Reception in 2012 standards were broadly average, and in 2013 the majority of children reached
    a good level of development before moving into Key Stage 1.
  • In the first year of the primary phase the proportion of pupils reaching the required standard in
    the phonics (letters and their sounds) check was below national levels. A new reading and
    writing scheme has been introduced, with comprehensive staff training and pupils taught in
    small groups. The impact of this has been significant, with most pupils reaching the required
    standard in the check in 2013 and a similarly high proportion in Year 2 having caught up.
  • Key Stage 1 pupils say they enjoy reading and read a variety of books including fiction, non-
    fiction and poetry. They say they read regularly at school and at home. They use the strategies
    they have learnt to help them read difficult words automatically without any prompting or extra
    help. The school promotes the development of literacy and reading well at all key stages.
  • When Year 2 pupils entered the school in 2011 they were behind the expectations for their age.
    By the end of the year they had caught up in reading and mathematics, reaching average
    standards and had made good progress in writing, although this remained below average.
    Standards improved in 2013 in reading, writing and mathematics with pupils making good
    progress from their starting points, although the proportion of pupils reaching the higher levels
    is lower than usually seen nationally.
  • Standards at Key Stage 2 were broadly average in 2012 and, as in Key Stage 1, progress was
    strong, helping pupils to make up ground during the year. There were improvements in 2013
    although performance at the highest levels was less strong.
  • Students make good progress across a range of subjects, including English and mathematics, in
    the secondary phase. The proportion of students gaining five good GCSEs, including English and
    mathematics, was broadly average in 2012 and similar standards were maintained in 2013. The
    proportion of students who achieved five A* to G grades at GCSE has been above the national
    average for the last three years, with all students achieving at least five qualifications in 2013.
    Although there was some slight variation between subjects in the past, students make at least
    good progress across the school and the gaps between subjects reduced further in 2013. There
    were also increased proportions of A*and A grades in most subjects.
  • Early entry for GCSE is only used in mathematics for the highest set in Year 10 and in the first
    examination session in Year 11 for other students. Students are not disadvantaged because the
    school ensures that they have the opportunity to resit the examination if they do not reach their
    target grades.
  • Students known to be eligible for pupil premium funding had previously not made as rapid
    progress as others. These pupils were just over two years behind other pupils in the Year 6
    national tests in English and mathematics in 2012 and students at Key Stage 4 were just under a
    grade behind in English and a grade-and-a-third in mathematics. The school tracked the impact
    of different types of support in 2012 and adjusted how it used this funding the following year. In
    2013 the gap narrowed at both key stages and the school now tracks the progress of these
    students very carefully, and makes sure extra help accelerates progress. School data show that
    those students currently in the school who are eligible for additional funding are making good
    progress and gaps are narrowing. Students receive individual and small-group support and the
    school has used the funding to provide targeted support for emotional development and
    mentors, which has supported students’ improved progress.
  • All groups of students, including White British, any other White, Black Caribbean, Black African
    and those whose first language is not English, make good progress across the school.
  • Support in lessons for disabled students and those who have special educational needs is
    particularly strong, with highly skilled teaching assistants working across both primary and
    secondary phases ensuring these learners make good progress. In the sixth form, disabled
    students and those with special educational needs are given excellent support and they make
    rapid progress in their courses. This demonstrates the school’s success in promoting equality of
    opportunity in students’ learning.
  • The small number of students who have part of their studies elsewhere make good progress in
    their learning and the school monitors their progress carefully.
  • Achievement in the sixth form is not overall as strong as in the rest of the school. Although
    attainment at the end of Year 11 is broadly average, students’ starting points on entry to the
    sixth form are below average for this stage. Achievement has fluctuated over the last three
    years and is less strong in A-level and AS-level qualifications than in vocational subjects.
    Sometimes students start courses with low grades, which means they struggle to tackle the
    demands of some courses. The development of vocational subjects has been very successful and
    has supported disabled students and those with special educational needs to achieve well. All
    students are successfully supported to take up apprenticeships or go on to higher education and
    all Level 3 BTEC students gained places at university last year.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Teaching is usually good and there is some that is outstanding in both the primary and
    secondary phases, leading to students’ good achievement.
  • Particular strengths of teaching across the school are the respectful relationships between staff
    and students and the way staff and students respect the contributions of others in lessons.
    Teachers have good subject knowledge and presentations to classes are clear. Teachers check
    on learning in lessons, give individual support where necessary and adapt activities to ensure
    students make good progress in their learning.
  • Support for disabled students and those who have special educational needs is particularly
    strong across the school. Teachers adapt activities skilfully to help these students access them
    and teaching assistants are able to engage students in their work, help them to work out
    answers and use questioning skilfully to guide learning. This helps these students to make good
    and in some cases better progress.
  • In the primary phase the teaching of early reading is now very effective. A comprehensive
    training programme has ensured all staff deliver an early reading scheme to a high standard to
    small groups in Year 1. The sessions contain a range of activities linking reading with writing and
    ensure that pupils enjoy the learning and make consistently good progress. However, teachers
    do not always ensure pupils’ handwriting and presentation are of a high standard or that there
    are enough opportunities for pupils to write at length across different subjects.
  • Although teachers adapt activities well for less-able students, tasks which enable more-able
    students to make rapid progress in their learning are not routinely used across the school.
    Although these students make good progress, this limits them making rapid progress and more
    students achieving the highest grades. Teachers regularly mark books but they do not routinely
    give students clear next steps in marking and feedback to help them in their learning or give
    them opportunities to reflect on and respond to their comments.
  • Teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage is particularly strong. The staff have worked as a
    team to build on the success of the reception area, providing the new nursery with a wide range
    of equipment, including a superb outdoor play area set up with a variety of experiences for
    children to explore. Children learned particularly well, for example, in an outstanding session in
    the nursery. They enjoyed making woven ‘Elma the elephant’ pictures linked to the theme of the
    rainbow, as the teacher modelled the process expertly and children succeeded in creating their
    own pictures. Children made shakers which they used to record music and some explored the
    light from different coloured torches in a tent. They thoroughly enjoyed their learning and made
    excellent progress.
  • Although teaching in the sixth form is often good, over time it has not resulted in good
    achievement, particularly in academic subjects. Students taking these courses are not always
    assessed regularly and given extra help if they start to fall behind and they do not do as well on
    these courses as students who study vocational options.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • Students across all key stages have positive attitudes to school and to their learning which
    results in effective engagement in lessons and good progress in most of the school. Behaviour in
    lessons is consistently good, and students listen to instructions and are respectful of staff and
    each other. Outside and in dining rooms students respond politely to adults and behave well.
  • Staff and parents and carers agree that behaviour is good. Students also said that they thought
    behaviour was good and staff deal very well with any instances of misbehaviour. They
    understand the importance of rules and that the community is happier and safer if everyone
    keeps them. Behaviour logs show improvement over the last three years and short-term
    exclusions have reduced. The school is effective in promoting positive relationships and ensuring
    there is no discrimination.
  • Behaviour is not outstanding as students do not display a thirst for knowledge and take enough
    responsibility for their own learning. Students of all ages have a good awareness of different
    forms of bullying, including cyber bullying. All those spoken to said they felt safe in school and
    show high levels of awareness of how to keep themselves safe, including out of school on roads
    and in social contexts. There have been no racist incidents and no bullying recorded over the
    last year.
  • The school ensures students who attend part of their courses elsewhere are safe and well looked
  • Overall attendance in both the primary and secondary phases is above average and improving.
    Students are routinely punctual to school and to their lessons.
The leadership and management are good
  • Leaders, managers and governors have managed the transition from a secondary school to an
    all-through school very well. A new leadership structure is in place across the school and the
    vast majority of staff are positive about the leadership of the school.
  • The school’s own evaluation of its work is accurate and there are well-focused improvement
    plans with clear steps and monitoring which have led to improvements, particularly in the
    primary phase, to teaching and pupils’ achievement. Good standards of achievement and
    teaching have been maintained in the secondary phase over time.
  • There is a clear structure for performance management which is linked to the national standards
    for teachers. Teaching is monitored regularly and leaders’ judgements are accurate. Targets are
    linked to students’ progress and have a whole-school focus, and staff each have an individual
    target to help them improve their teaching.
  • Subject leaders in the primary and secondary phases are taking increased responsibility for
    leading improvements in their areas. Professional development for staff is strong and new
    leaders are being developed in their roles and supported to become the senior leaders of the
    future. Areas for development are identified and used to plan specific training for staff.
  • The curriculum has been developed in the primary phase to support pupils’ development of
    reading. However, although writing has improved, there are not enough opportunities for pupils
    to write at length. Good use is made of secondary specialist staff, for example in science and
    physical education, to support pupils’ learning in these areas.
  • The school has an effective plan for use of the new sports funding, including the use of specialist
    staff to develop primary teachers’ expertise, and to increase the opportunities for extra-curricular
    provision, for example with tag rugby, cross-country running and multi-skills activities.
  • The secondary curriculum has been developed with the introduction of AS-level critical thinking
    in Year 9 and a wider range of vocational qualifications which have been extremely successful,
    with high pass rates in 2013.
  • Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well with good
    opportunities for prayer and reflection. There is a strong moral code in the school with a sense
    of what is right and wrong. Students have the opportunity to discuss topical issues in lessons
    such as the one child policy in China. There is a wide range of trips, clubs and societies which
    support students’ cultural development including theatre trips and visits to museums.
  • The leadership and management of the sixth form require improvement. The sixth form
    curriculum is developing and use is made of the sixth form consortium to provide a wide range
    of choice for students. Students also have the opportunity for retakes at GCSE in English and
    mathematics. However, leaders have not ensured that students are successful on all their
    courses, particularly students taking A-level qualifications. Students receive strong guidance in
    writing personal statements to support their applications for university or work-based
    employment and all students continue with apprenticeships or higher education.
  • The local authority learning trust has provided effective support for the school in helping it to
    develop an accurate view of its own performance and in improving teaching.
  • The governance of the school:
    Governors have a thorough understanding of the school. They provide challenge for senior
    leaders and hold them to account for bringing about improvement, questioning them in
    meetings and visiting the school to see for themselves what is happening. They have a good
    understanding of the school’s performance compared with that of other schools and receive
    regular updates on students’ progress which they discuss in detail. They know how pupil
    premium funding is being spent and what changes have been made to make sure progress for
    these pupils has improved. Governors receive updates on performance management, including
    targets for all staff, so they know that this has been carried out thoroughly. They know about
    the quality of teaching in the school and ensure pay awards are linked to strong performance
    and meeting targets. They know where underperformance has been challenged in the past
    and the difference it has made. They ensure statutory requirements are met, including for

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
Grade 2 Good A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
Grade 3 Requires
A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
Grade 4 Inadequate A school that requires special measures is one where the school is
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

School details

Unique reference number 110516
Local authority Buckinghamshire
Inspection number 400235

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school All-through
School category Voluntary aided
Age range of pupils 3–18
Gender of pupils Mixed
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 1,062
Of which, number on roll in sixth form 72
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Maggi Bull
Headteacher Robert Simpson
Date of previous school inspection 29–30 September 2010
Telephone number 01494 535196
Fax number 01494 446523
Email address reveal email: rsim…


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