Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School

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About Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School

Name Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Bernadette O'Hanlon
Address High Street, Rickmansworth, WD3 1HG
Phone Number 01923773881
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1229
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Saint Joan of Arc Catholic School continues to be a good school.

The headteacher of this school is Bernadette O'Hanlon. This school is part of All Saints Catholic Academy Trust, which means other people in the trust also have responsibility for running the school. The trust is run by the chief executive officer, Stephen Wheatley, and overseen by a board of trustees, chaired by Tony Leahy.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils feel happy, safe and valued, whatever their background, within the Catholic identity of this school. The school prioritises the well-being and personal development of pupils. They receive high-quality guidance and care, which helps them to become bette...r citizens.

Pupils are proud of their school and enjoy their lessons.

The school has high expectations that all pupils will learn and remember the curriculum. This includes those pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Pupils are well supported to meet these expectations. They work very hard as a result. They typically remember and can recall the knowledge and concepts studied.

Pupils attend school regularly, arrive promptly and behave well. They are polite and courteous. They move around the site showing consideration for others.

Teachers deal with any slips in the normal high standards of behaviour fairly and consistently. On the rare occasions where bullying occurs, pupils know who they can talk with, so that it stops.

Pupils have a wide range of opportunities to contribute to the life of the school.

They can attend various clubs, visits and trips. For example, pupil-led music forms a key part of the school's regular festivals and celebrations.

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

The school has mapped out what pupils need to learn across all key stages.

This includes identifying the most important knowledge, skills and vocabulary that pupils will learn in every topic. This well-thought-through approach means pupils always have the prior understanding they need. They approach new topics with confidence.

Teachers explain information carefully and patiently. As a result, pupils listen closely. This helps them to remember what they are taught.

Teachers use skilful questioning to explore what pupils can recall. They return to any areas where they find gaps in pupils' knowledge. Pupils rarely get left behind.

Teachers do not always get the subject-specific training they need to develop their knowledge and understanding in their curriculum areas. As a result, they do not effectively adapt their teaching to ensure pupils deepen their understanding. Consequently, some pupils do not achieve as well as they could.

Teachers and pupils share very positive relationships. Teachers use the behaviour policy consistently. This helps to provide a calm and respectful atmosphere between the different members of the school community.

Pupils with SEND are very well supported. Teachers know the most effective strategies to help them learn the same curriculum as everyone else. Teaching assistants help pupils with SEND to work as independently as they can.

The school has a strong culture of pupils reading for pleasure. Pupils love the opportunities they have to read with their tutors. They 'drop everything and read'.

Teachers make sure that pupils have reading books which develop their fluency and comprehension. However, pupils do not have enough opportunities to read in wider curriculum subjects. Other subject departments do not always contribute effectively to the development of pupils' reading skills.

This can limit pupils' wider knowledge and their vocabulary development.

The school provides a variety of opportunities for pupils to shape the life of the school. Pupils develop their leadership skills through a number of positions of responsibility.

For example, the student executive committee, led by sixth-form students, recently established a successful 'culture week.' This celebrated the cultural diversity of the school. Sixth-form students are excellent role models for other pupils.

They act as buddies and mentors for pupils in the lower school.

Pupils confidently consider and debate a range of moral issues. They do this both in their subjects, and in the wide range of clubs and societies they can join.

However, the school does not monitor which pupils attend extra-curricular clubs in enough detail. This hinders their work to increase the participation of disadvantaged pupils, including those with SEND.

The school regularly reviews the curriculum to strengthen it further.

This has contributed to positive national examination results over time. Staff feel confident that these changes have been made with their well-being and workload firmly in mind.

The school prepares pupils well for the next stages of their lives.

The careers programme is very well planned, including in the sixth form. Pupils get a number of opportunities to experience and understand the world of work. They are provided with useful information and guidance about future options.

These help to ensure they are successful in their choice of work or study after they leave school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Teachers do not always receive the subject-specific training they need to help some pupils deepen and extend their knowledge and understanding sufficiently.

As a result, these pupils do not always achieve as well as they could. The school needs to ensure that there is a coherent programme of subject-specific training in place. ? Subject departments are not providing enough opportunities for pupils to read within each curriculum subject area.

This means that pupils are not developing their subject- specific vocabulary. The school needs to ensure that there is a consistent approach across subjects to promote subject-specific reading.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in December 2013.

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