Saint Ambrose College

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About Saint Ambrose College

Name Saint Ambrose College
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Dermot Rainey
Address Hale Road, Hale Barns, Altrincham, WA15 0HE
Phone Number 01619802711
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Boys
Number of Pupils 1082
Local Authority Trafford
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy coming to St Ambrose College. They understand the importance of the school mission statement to 'produce resourceful and resilient Ambrosians, equipped to make a positive impact in the modern world'.

They are proud of their school.

Pupils are safe. Bullying is rare and dealt with well by staff.

Pupils behave well in school. Pupils, particularly sixth-form pupils, are committed to the St Ambrose community. They help and support each other.

Most teachers have high expectations for pupils. Pupils achieve well in their examinations at the end of Year 11 and at the end of sixth form. They move on to appropriate destinations when they leave sc...hool.

Most pupils enjoy participating in the range of extra-curricular sports available. Many pupils go on to play their sports for high-profile clubs. Some pupils represent their country.

The take-up for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award at all levels is high.

Most pupils also participate in the many societies that are run by sixth-form students during lunchtimes. Pupils will speak and debate with others in the subject-specific societies.

These societies help pupils to gain a deeper interest in many different subjects. They also encourage pupils to take an interest in topical issues.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The headteacher has a clear vision for the curriculum.

Most leaders understand this vision. There has been considerable change made to both the academic and personal development curriculum. However, leaders are aware that these changes are recent and incomplete.

Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) achieve very well in school. The special educational needs coordinator ensures that teachers understand how to support pupils with SEND. These pupils achieve at least as well as other pupils in the school.

They move on to appropriate further education, employment or training when they leave the college.

In most subjects, leaders have identified the key learning that pupils and students need to know. Leaders order the curriculum so that new knowledge builds on pupils' previous learning.

In the sixth form, knowledge builds on students' learning from their GCSE examination courses.

Most subject areas are taught by subject specialists. Where this is not the case, leaders support these teachers in improving their subject knowledge.

Department teams meet regularly to share good practice in order to improve their skills. Links with other schools and subject-specific professional organisations help teachers to stay in touch with the latest research in their subject areas.

Teachers use assessment information effectively.

They identify where pupils and students are having difficulty with their learning. Teachers use this information to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of learners. Learners achieve well in their studies.

Attainment at the end of Year 11 and sixth form is well above other pupils nationally.

Despite improvements to the curriculum, some subjects do not cover the depth and breadth of the national curriculum at key stage 3. For example, in English pupils' reading of full texts does not extend to authors prior to 1914.

Although they look at extracts from the work of authors such as Shelly, Shakespeare and Dickens, the lack of full texts does not allow pupils to gain an understanding of the language used at the time. They do not gain the knowledge of how the author creates the story over the course of the novel. Consequently, some pupils do not develop the knowledge and skills needed to access the texts that make up our literary heritage.

This was clearly seen at key stage 4, where students struggled to study Shakespeare plays.

Pupils and students have developed personally through the well-developed wider curriculum. The experiences that these activities provide help pupils to develop resilience and independence.

They learn to support others that are less fortunate than themselves. They develop their talents and interests beyond the academic. For example, pupils in the debating society were considering the question 'Should there be one world government?' Pupils of all ages, including pupils in Year 7, were considering how this would impact on people's lives in many different countries.

The personal development curriculum has not provided some pupils with meaningful opportunities to discuss how to become responsible and active citizens. Leaders have changed the structure of the curriculum. However, these changes are very recent, and it is too early to see their impact.

Pupils and students have a strong work ethic. The college is a calm and welcoming place to be. Pupils and students move purposefully to their classes.

They are punctual to their lessons. Attendance is above the national average and few pupils are excluded by the school.

Staff are very supportive of leaders.

They believe that leaders are considerate of their workload. They feel valued. They told us that leaders listen to them and consult with them before introducing any changes.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff receive safeguarding training annually. They are given updates when needed.

Staff understand the main issues that affect their pupils and students. They recognise the signs of a pupil in need of help and support. They act promptly to get them the help that they need.

Pupils and students know how to keep themselves safe. They understand the dangers of the internet, particularly social media sites.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Most subjects have a well-ordered curriculum.

However, some subjects are not as well developed as others. The content of the curriculum plans for some subjects does not match the depth and breadth of the key stage 3 national curriculum. Some pupils are not fully prepared for learning to GCSE and beyond as a result.

Leaders should continue with their plans to develop the curriculum. This will ensure that pupils and students receive a high-quality curriculum in all subject areas and that their learning matches the full ambition of the national curriculum. .

Inconsistencies in the personal development curriculum have resulted in some pupils not having opportunities to discuss the knowledge that they need at an age-appropriate level. The new personal development curriculum will ensure that pupils and students have opportunities to discuss issues at a level appropriate to their age. Leaders should continue with their plans to implement this curriculum.

This will help all pupils to take their place as responsible and active citizens. . The transition arrangements were used on this inspection to confirm that pupils benefit from a good-quality education.

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