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Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary is a school where all staff have high expectations of their pupils.
Leaders have an ambitious vision for all pupils to achieve well. The Christian ethos of the school is central to this. The school has improved because of the actions leaders have taken.
Pupils are proud of the school values such as strength, resilience and community. Pupils play an active role in the local community and beyond. They visit care homes and provide hampers for the elderly at Christmas.
Pupils had the opportunity to visit a school in Ghana as part of an international expedition.
The relationships between pupils and staff are strong. Pupils ...behave well in lessons and around the school.
Pupils are clear about the rules they have to follow. Pupils feel safe in school. Some pupils say bullying does happen sometimes.
They say that adults will not tolerate this and they sort it out straight away. Pupils enjoy their work being celebrated by leaders during 'praise Fridays'.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have developed an ambitious and challenging curriculum for all pupils.
Leaders have identified the important knowledge they want pupils to know and remember in each subject. Teachers have secure subject knowledge. They present new ideas in a way that pupils find easy to understand.
Leaders have introduced ways for teachers to formally check what pupils know and remember. This is well established in the core curriculum subjects, for example English and science. In some foundation curriculum subjects, such as history and art, this is not as well developed.
This means that in some subjects, pupils learn new information before they have understood the information that they have learned previously.
In science, topics build on what pupils already know from key stage 2. Leaders have also thought about what pupils need to know if they go on to study science after Year 11.
Pupils start learning some of this content as they progress through key stage 4. Leaders have worked closely with the mathematics department to ensure that the mathematical skills needed in science are taught the same way in both subjects. This helps pupils use mathematical skills in the science curriculum.
Pupils study Shakespeare throughout key stage 3. Pupils learn about the link between gender and power in different Shakespeare plays. They can apply this knowledge when they study Romeo and Juliet in year 10.
The art and design curriculum helps pupils build knowledge and skills. Pupils apply what they have learned to different materials and more difficult projects. For example, in year 7 pupils use their knowledge of shape and form to sketch objects in 2D, progressing to working in 3D in year 9 when they make modelling masks.
Leaders work well with parents of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Leaders have acted on parents' historic concerns about the education of their children. Leaders have recently appointed a new special educational needs coordinator (SENCo).
The SENCo works closely with experienced SENCos within the trust. The SENCo has provided clear guidance to staff on how to support pupils' specific needs. However, some staff do not have sufficient expertise to deliver this support and to check how well pupils are learning.
Leaders know that staff training in this area is a priority.
Leaders ensure that adults use the behaviour policy consistently across the school. Pupils understand the rewards and consequences systems.
As a result, there is a calm and orderly atmosphere in lessons and around the school. Staff deal consistently and swiftly with any incidents of poor behaviour. Leaders have clear strategies to improve attendance.
They work with external agencies to ensure that the most vulnerable pupils attend school regularly.
Leaders place a high value on pupils' personal development. The personal, social and health education curriculum is carefully planned.
Teachers are trained well to deliver this content. Pupils value what they learn. Pupils have a strong understanding of healthy relationships, consent and how to stay safe online.
Pupils receive high-quality careers advice and guidance. The school has recently won a national award for the quality of their careers advice. The school is a lead school for careers within the Tees Valley local authority.
Leaders are well supported by colleagues from the trust. Leaders and those responsible for governance have an accurate view of the school's effectiveness. This means leaders have prioritised the most important things to further improve.
Leaders consider staff workload. Staff say that their views are listened to by leaders.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
School staff are vigilant in keeping pupils safe. There is a strong culture of safeguarding across the school. Leaders ensure that all staff know that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility.
Leaders communicate regularly with staff, so they are well informed about the most vulnerable pupils' needs. Staff receive regular training related to safeguarding. Staff are clear about how to identify pupils at risk of harm.
They share their concerns promptly with leaders.
The members of the safeguarding team work closely with external partners and agencies. Leaders check that pupils get the support they need at the right time.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In some subjects, such as history and art, teachers do not use assessment precisely enough to check that pupils are secure in their knowledge of the most important curriculum content. This means that when pupils learn new information in these curriculum subjects, they find it more difficult to build on their prior knowledge. Leaders should ensure that assessment is used consistently by teachers across all curriculum subjects to pinpoint what pupils know and can do, then ensure that new learning builds securely on this.
• Some staff lack expertise in delivering strategies to support pupils with SEND across the curriculum. This means that the support pupils with SEND receive is not consistently strong across the curriculum or across the school. Leaders should ensure that all relevant staff access high-quality training on delivering specific strategies to support pupils with SEND to access the curriculum.
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