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3rd July 2023

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope this letter finds you well and that you and your family gain some much needed rest over the summer period. As you will be aware, Newman, like all schools, is routinely inspected by Ofsted. A copy of the report is attached to this letter and I wanted to address recent findings from the Ofsted inspection that took place in the middle of May.

While the report highlighted areas where our school can improve, it also shows the considerable success we are having despite significant national and local challenge. Newman, like other schools locally, have found the inspection process to be challenging; we are disappointed to join other schools in Oldham in seeing our overall grade decline. However, we are committed to serving our community with continued diligence and believe that we will be able to demonstrate a return to a ‘good’ grading.

It is important to recognise that inspections provide a snapshot of our school at a specific point in time. The visit took place on the first day of GCSE exams, a fact that we robustly attempted to challenge but to no avail. The inspection team consisted of five inspectors, led by a senior inspector. They identified areas for improvement, and we take these recommendations seriously. The main areas for improvement are the key points that Ofsted will focus on for any future visit and these, along with any other points raised, will be included in our own improvement plan.

The inspection report acknowledges that our school is a caring and safe environment where students feel well-cared for; they enjoy coming to school. We are really proud of this, but know for some students there will always be the need for more support. We will take pride in the statement, but will not relent in our pursuit of having all students feel this way about being at Newman. This is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our staff who constantly seek to provide a nurturing and supportive educational experience for every child. The comments on Special Educational Needs are welcome and show the journey we have been on to become the most popular school for those with Educational Health and Care plans in Oldham. Our Catholic mission is borne out in our welcome to all students, particularly those with SEND despite the lack of proper and sustained funding from Central Government. This praise from Ofsted gives us confidence that we offer more than our peers in this endeavour.

Clearly, some elements of the inspection report are difficult for us to read. When we analyse our internal reviews, including those from serving inspectors commissioned by the school, we see numerous positive indicators. Our students' progress, achievements, and engagement in learning are strong in many areas. We are broadly in line with national averages in many subject areas including Maths, Statistics, Science, English, Music, Sport and French. We are making rapid improvements in many other subject areas, that were recognised and praised through the deep dive process, including History and Geography. Our reading strategies across the college were highly praised including the delivery of a highly effective catch up programme for weaker readers. We have implemented effective behaviour management strategies that have improved overall discipline and created a positive learning environment for the majority of our pupils. Our whole school rewards culture demonstrates that our students are recognised consistently for demonstrating our core values through the Newman student and Hero postcards, alongside praising our students for 100% attendance and through half termly achievement assemblies.

Additionally, we have taken a strong position on the expected behaviour of students, taking the necessary action to challenge and support those that fall short of our ambition. On occasion, this has led to students regrettably being removed from Newman College. We aspire to be an inclusive school that accepts children will face differing challenges and that for some, reasonable adjustments may be required within our community to support them; however, for those that seek to consistently disrupt learning without noticeable improvement, we must take difficult decisions to protect the education of others. Whilst we do not normally discuss such matters, I hope the knowledge that eight members of the school community have been removed this academic year goes some way to show our dedication to those who need support, but equally the importance we place in securing a positive educational environment.

Furthermore, our focus on developing well-rounded individuals is evident through the range of extra-curricular activities and leadership opportunities available to our students. We believe in empowering them to explore their interests, develop their confidence, and cultivate their social skills. Exam results are important, but so too is the character of each individual child, their resilience and their modelling of Gospel values. We were disappointed that more was not made of our efforts in this area within the report, but this is likely due to the limited text available to inspectors. We will be sharing our next evolution of this offer with parents in the new academic year as we once again seek to offer an ‘unfair advantage’ to our students.

While the external inspection report rightly highlights areas for improvement, it is essential to note that the report acknowledges that we have already identified these areas internally and have plans in place to address them. We are actively working to enhance our curriculum design, improve consistency in curriculum delivery, and provide additional support to ensure all students achieve their full potential.

As a school, we are committed to continuous improvement, and we appreciate your ongoing support and trust in our ability to provide a high-quality education for your children. We remain dedicated to fostering a positive and inclusive learning environment that promotes both academic excellence and personal growth.

As a staff body and as headteacher, we remain committed to doing all we can for our community and are confident that we can demonstrate this. For those parents who contacted us about the inspection and offered support, thank you. It meant the world to our staff body and our profession as we wrestle with what is a well documented flawed process. We value your partnership and look forward to working together as we strive for excellence in education. Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions or concerns via emailing

Thank you for your ongoing support, and may God stay with us all on our journey.

Yours sincerely,

Mr G R Potts MBE DL


OFSTED Parent Summary 2023
Download • 96KB


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