Newman College OFSTED 2016 Report

Following our recent Ofsted inspection, I am pleased to publish the Inspector’s final report, prior to publication on the Ofsted website on 8 June 2016.

Governors and staff are delighted that the report acknowledges and captures the progress made by staff and students over recent years. Most importantly, it recognises the ethos, systems and quality of teaching that will ensure progress will continue to be made.

The most pleasing and informative comments from the report include:
• This is an unexpectedly close-knit community for such a large school.
• Teaching has not just changed; it has been transformed.
• There is a buzz around teaching. Teachers skilfully guide pupils to make good and better progress in all manner of different styles and techniques.
• Typically, teachers greet pupils at the door and by their very presence make clear the expectations for the lesson.
• Pupils say they feel safe in school; parents and inspectors agree. There is a highly-organised pastoral support team who work strategically to help pupils who are experiencing difficulties at home or school.
• One parent said that the school ‘has changed my child’s life’ by the high level of care and support.
• It is not uncommon for an adult to enter a classroom unnoticed by the pupils because they are so engrossed in their work.
• Typically, pupils behave well in lessons and at social times.
• Pupils make good progress due to high-quality, engaging teaching and learning.

I must pay tribute to the skill and professionalism of teaching and support staff so clearly expressed in the report, along with the expert care for our young people. Likewise I wish to acknowledge and praise the children for their good behaviour, for the respect they show for staff and peers, for their aspiration and for the pride they show in their work and their school.

Thank you for the many messages of support and good wishes you shared. Please rest assured that the professionalism of staff and ‘no excuse’ culture of which HMI Sally Kenyon wrote in her report has meant that we have already moved on to planning the next steps for the further development of our ‘close-knit community’, better known as the Newman family.

Yours sincerely

Mr M McGhee

A copy of this letter can be downloaded by clicking here.

School report

Blessed John Henry Newman RC College
Broadway, Chadderton, Oldham, Greater Manchester OL9 9QY

Inspection dates
11–12 May 2016
Overall effectiveness
Effectiveness of leadership and management
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
Personal development, behaviour and welfare
Outcomes for pupils
Overall effectiveness at previous inspection
Requires improvement

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school

  • The headteacher and his team have created a very positive ‘can do’ climate for learning. There are no excuses. Teachers instil confidence in pupils so they are unafraid to have a go or make mistakes. This has led to improved outcomes in learning.
  • Teaching has rapidly improved since the previous inspection due to bespoke, supportive professional development. There is some very high-quality teaching. Teachers are just as keen to share their mistakes as their successes so that they can collectively improve. This is a fine example to set for the pupils.
  • Pupils make good progress in English, humanities and across a range of subjects. Progress in mathematics is good for the majority of pupils and improving.
  • Behaviour is good and very well managed. A number of pupils come to the school having failedto succeed elsewhere and are now rightly proud of their improved behaviour and academic success
  • Attendance is above average and improving for all groups as a result of forensic monitoring.
  • Governance is strong. Members of the governing body are well versed in good governance; they have strong professional expertise and a good understanding of education. Finances are well managed.
  • This is a highly inclusive school. Parents and pupils are full of praise for the lengths pastoral staff and teachers go to in order to help pupils overcome difficulties with their learning or behaviour.
  • Pupils have high aspirations and many express the wish to go on to university. Similarly, a number of pupils leave the school and go on to successful apprenticeships with local businesses.
  • Performance management has been used highly effectively to tackle not just teaching but professional behaviour that does not meet the high standards expected by the headteacher.
  • The overwhelming majority of parents are enthusiastic in their praise for the school.
  • The curriculum is well organised and has been well adjusted to meet new national expectations.

It is not yet an outstanding school because

  • A very small minority of staff do not always apply the school’s rigorous policies consistently. In a small minority of cases, behaviour management and assessment do not live up to the high standards set by the vast majority of teachers.
  • The accuracy and structure of writing across the curriculum is not always as good as it is in English.
  • The most-able pupils are not consistently stretched by the curriculum in mathematics.

Full report

What does the school need to do to improve further?

Improve the quality of written work across the curriculum by:

  • focusing upon structure and grammatical accuracy
    • ensuring that pupils always have appropriate guidance to check their work.

Continue to improve outcomes in mathematics, particularly for the most able, by:

  • increasing stretch and challenge in lessons
  • reviewing long-term lesson planning and making plans available to parents
  • closing remaining gaps between the outcomes of disadvantaged pupils and their peers.
  • Ensure that all staff apply school policies consistently.
  • Enhance teaching in the personal, social, health, citizenship and sex and relationships curriculum so that pupils can discuss these topics in greater depth.

Inspection judgements

Effectiveness of leadership and management
is good
  • High expectations, determination and drive characterise the senior leadership team. Leaders and managers are highly visible and know the pupils well. This is an unexpectedly close-knit community for such a large school.
  • At the time of the previous inspection, school leaders were asked to improve the quality of teaching and share good practice more widely. Teaching has not just changed; it has been transformed.
  • Very well-focused staff development has brought about rapid improvements in teaching. These improvements are driving up standards and have significantly lowered the proportion of pupils who are temporarily excluded from lessons or the school.
  • Middle leaders feel empowered by their new responsibilities and have brought greater scrutiny upon themselves and their departments. They are held to account by senior leaders but the focus of the relationship with senior leaders is rightly about developing middle leaders’ skills.
  • There is a significant focus upon equalities; leaders and managers monitor closely the achievement, attendance and behaviour of pupils by gender, disadvantage and ethnicity and take action if inequalities emerge. For example, a number of pupils who have made multiple visits to the internal exclusion room take part in therapeutic work to discuss their difficulties and to set small but achievable targets to improve.
  • Historically, the curriculum has hampered achievement. However, it has been overhauled to ensure that pupils make much better progress. Pupils who wish to take part in extra-curricular activities have a wide choice, including choir, army cadet force, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and many sporting opportunities.
  • Social, moral, spiritual and cultural education is promoted well across subjects and last year pupils raised over £10,000 for local, national and international charities. Pupils appreciate the impartial careers advice, education and guidance they receive and many Year 11 pupils speak confidently about their career paths to university, employment and apprenticeships.
  • While there are good examples of personal, social and health education, sex and relationships education and citizenship being taught, the programme overall is disparate and lacks impact.
  • Pupil premium funds are spent wisely on intervention work to help pupils ‘catch-up’ with reading, writing and mathematics or socially and emotionally.
The governance of the school
  • Members of the governing body are highly committed and give generously of their time.
  • Minutes of governors’ meetings show that governors regularly and effectively hold senior leaders to account. They make it their business to know the school well and collectively they have a broad range of educational and professional expertise which they use to good effect.
  • They know that the quality of teaching in school is good because they regularly visit and speak with pupils. They manage the school finances well and understand the impact of the vast sum the school receives to help pupils eligible for the pupil premium.
  • They link to different departments and are keeping a close eye on mathematics after the dip in results last year.
  • The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Child protection referrals are followed up in a timely manner and much highly effective multi-agency work takes place.
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
is good
  • There is a buzz around teaching. Teachers skilfully guide pupils to make good and better progress in all manner of different styles and techniques.
  • Typically, teachers greet pupils at the door and by their very presence make clear the expectations for the lesson. Classroom routines are well established and ensure that valuable learning time is not lost; pupils are keen to help give out books, everyone knows where they sit and learning starts promptly.
  • Teachers and pupils are clear what they are learning and why. Many teachers ooze subject knowledge and pupils readily absorb and retain what they have learnt. They speak confidently about their knowledge and handle difficult questions with ease. They can apply their learning to show that they have properly understood.
  • Some exemplary practice was seen in a Year 10 art lesson. Pupils showed off their highly honed drawing skills with a focus upon Indian culture. Pupils spoke with confidence and pride about their work. Similarly strong practice was seen in a Year 8 physical education lesson, pupils were coaching each other on sprinting techniques. Pupils made rapid progress due to well-established routines and strong coaching skills.
  • The quality of teaching in mathematics is improving. This work is complemented by support from other schools. Year 7 pupils were observed at times struggling to work out what they had been given. However, improved learning resulted because pupils were encouraged to collaborate and to show their workings, rather than whether the answer was simply right or wrong. ‘Exit tickets’ from the teacher tell pupils exactly what they need to start with next lesson and help direct their learning to address gaps in skills and knowledge. However, this high-quality teaching is not yet consistent across the department and some pupils spend time completing work that is too easy or repetitive.
  • Scrutiny of books show that work is well presented. Most of the time marking is really helpful and pupils make better progress as a result of responding to the teacher’s feedback. However, there are occasions when marking is cursory and does not meet the high standards set by leaders. The quality of writing is sometimes extremely high, but when pupils are writing at length across the curriculum their grammar and the structure of their writing are not always to the same high standard.
  • Social, moral, spiritual and cultural education is promoted well in many lessons. In a Year 9 history lesson, pupils confidently articulated the clash of culture between native Americans and immigrants and related it to similar situations in modern life.
Personal development, behaviour and welfare
is good
Personal development and welfare
  • The school’s work to promote pupil’s personal development and welfare is good.
  • Pupils say they feel safe in school; parents and inspectors agree. There is a highly organised pastoral support team who work strategically to help pupils who are experiencing difficulties at home or school.
  • Pupils know that using derogatory language is wrong. They know how to stay safe online and there are strict reprimands for any pupils found to be using mobile phones in school.
  • The school works well to build pupils’ confidence in learning and works closely with individuals and their parents to help them overcome difficulties. One parent said that the school ‘has changed my child’s life’ by the high level of care and support.
  • Pupils report that there are occasions when bullying takes place and it is usually in the form of name calling and derogatory language. Inspectors found that instances of bullying were documented and dealt with effectively.
  • However, a very small minority of younger pupils felt that not all staff would listen to their concerns about bullying or deal with derogatory language in the same way. The school’s policy is very clear on what staff should do but there are clearly a few staff who do not implement the school’s policies consistently.
  • The behaviour of pupils is good. The vast majority of pupils show a high level of respect for their fellow pupils and their teachers. It is not uncommon for an adult to enter a classroom unnoticed by the pupils because they are so engrossed in their work.
  • Behaviour is well managed. The pastoral team is strong due to high-quality leadership at all levels. They know pupils well and set the standard by their own highly professional behaviour, dress code and conduct.
  • Most parents who responded to Parent View feel that behaviour is good and almost all parents spoken to during the inspection had no concerns over behaviour and were very pleased with the school.
  • Typically, pupils behave well in lessons and at social times, they queue in an orderly manner for lunch and are polite and well mannered to lunchtime supervisors. Bus drivers say that pupils behave well on the buses and though inspectors saw, in school records, reference to the odd occasion when this had not been the case, the school had dealt with the behaviour severely and in line with their policies.
  • The number of pupils leaving classrooms because their behaviour does not meet the school’s high expectations has dramatically decreased, along with the number of fixed-term exclusions.
  • Attendance is above the national average overall and close to the national average for all groups. The work of the attendance team is highly effective and making a strong contribution to improving pupil progress.
Outcomes for pupils
are good
  • Pupils make good progress due to high-quality, engaging teaching and learning. Attainment on entry for this year’s Year 11 is slightly below the national average, but pupils are set to leave with results in line with those expected nationally. This is despite the fact that they have experienced significant disruption to their secondary school careers, as they had to move to this school from two predecessor schools in Year 8.
  • The school is accommodating on average 60 in-year admissions each academic year. Some of these pupils have been permanently excluded from other schools and some arrive from overseas with little or no grasp of English. However, their progress is rigorously tracked from their starting points and they are making the same good progress as their peers.
  • Pupils who have special educational needs or disability make good progress. Parents praised teachers for their diligence in diagnosing pupils with special educational needs and for quickly and effectively supporting them to overcome barriers to learning.
  • The most-able pupils make good progress in many subjects and are set to do particularly well in single science examinations this year. However, not enough pupils make better than expected progress in mathematics as they are not always challenged enough in their lessons, particularly in key stage 3.
  • Gaps remain between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in mathematics yet they are closing in many others subjects, including English. Gaps are narrowing most rapidly at key stage 3 due to well-focused work with pupils who have weaker reading and writing skills on entry to the school. Pupils in year 10 and year 7 have benefited from a ‘paired reading’ scheme.
  • Pupils are very well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment or training. This is because the curriculum is now well suited to meet the very diverse range of abilities and to accommodate a similar spectrum of social and emotional learning needs.

School details

Unique reference number136432
Local authorityOldham
Inspection number10012207

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

Type of schoolSecondary
School categoryVoluntary aided
Age range of pupils11-16
Gender of pupilsMixed
Number of pupils on school roll1,423
Appropriate authorityThe governing body
ChairFather Eugene Dolan
HeadteacherMr Michael McGhee
Telephone Number0161 785 8858
Date of previous inspection14-15 May 2014

Information about this school

  • This is a much larger than average-sized school.
  • Since the previous inspection the sixth form has closed.
  • The school is in a soft federation with 11 local catholic primary schools.
  • The proportion of disadvantaged pupils who are eligible for support through the pupil premium is well above the national average. The pupil premium is additional funding provided by the government to support pupils eligible for free school meals and looked after children.
  • The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups or who speak English as an additional language is high.
  • The proportion of pupils who have special educational needs or disability is slightly below the national average.
  • There are, on average, 60 pupils who join the school at different times throughout the year. Some of these pupils have been excluded from other schools, some are new to the country and some have only a basic grasp of English.
  • The school meets the government’s floor standards, which set the minimum expectation for pupils’ attainment and progress by the end of Year 11.

Information about this inspection

  • Inspectors observed pupils in lessons and during social times. They scrutinised documentation pertaining to current achievement, self-evaluation, performance management and school improvement. They looked at minutes governing body meetings, financial information, current attendance and behaviour information and documentation relating to safeguarding.
  • Inspectors held discussions with over 100 pupils, parents, members of the governing body, the chaplain, senior leaders, middle leaders, lunchtime supervisors and bus drivers. They took account of 88 responses to the staff questionnaire and 234 responses to Parent View, Ofsted’s online questionnaire.

Inspection team

Sally Kenyon, lead inspectorHer Majesty’s Inspector
Timothy LongOfsted Inspector
Marcia HardingOfsted Inspector
John LeighOfsted Inspector
Phillip HymanOfsted Inspector

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A .pdf version of this report can be downloaded by clicking here.