St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Lanchester

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About St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Lanchester

Name St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Lanchester
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Catherine Hammill
Address Consett Road, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0RD
Phone Number 01207520424
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1375
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Since the previous inspection, the standard of pupils' behaviour at St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School and Sixth Form College has declined.

Over time, leaders have failed to tackle pupils' poor behaviour. Some pupils truant from lessons, are disrespectful to staff and cause disruption, particularly at social times. Many of the staff, pupils, parents and carers who responded to Ofsted's surveys shared their concerns about pupils' behaviour.

Very recently, leaders have started to set higher expectations for pupils' conduct. However, for the most challenging pupils, these higher expectations have not had a positive impact.

Most pupils feel safe in school....r/>
Those who do not, worry about pupils' behaviour and bullying. Pupils told inspectors that leaders are now more visible around school. They said that leaders are addressing pupils' concerns through learning in assemblies and learning throughout the curriculum.

Leaders have established a strong curriculum that is taught well by knowledgeable teachers. Staff provide a wide range of extra-curricular clubs so that pupils extend their learning beyond the classroom. These include sports, chess, art and language clubs.

Pupils, including students in the sixth form, play an active role in the wider community through volunteering and charity work. For example, pupils produced artwork for display in a local care home.

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

Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum, including for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Curriculum leaders have identified the important knowledge that they want pupils to know and remember. Teachers make sure that new curriculum content connects to what pupils already know. In most areas of the curriculum, teachers use assessment well to check what pupils have learned.

In a small number of subjects, some pupils struggle to recall important knowledge. They cannot build on their previous learning because it is not secure.

A positive culture of reading is established across the school.

Leaders have thought carefully about the books they want pupils to read. Leaders have ensured that pupils who need help with reading receive the support they need. Staff are trained well to provide support with phonics.

Sixth-form students act as reading buddies to boost pupils' confidence in reading.

Pupils with SEND are supported well. Teachers are given clear guidance on how to meet pupils' needs.

Pupils with SEND study the same curriculum as their peers. Teachers adapt their teaching to meet the needs of pupils. Information about pupils with SEND is stored on a number of different management information systems.

This makes it difficult for the special educational needs and/or disabilities coordinator (SENDCo) and other leaders to have a clear overview of pupils' needs.

During the inspection, inspectors observed good behaviour in lessons. Most pupils showed positive attitudes to their learning.

However, too many incidents of poor behaviour disrupt the daily life of the school. Leaders have not done enough to address the causes of pupils' poor behaviour. As a result, the number of pupils who access internal isolation or are suspended from school remains too high.

The curriculum for pupils' personal development is carefully planned from Year 7 to Year 13. Leaders have ensured that pupils learn important knowledge about how to stay safe. Pupils are taught about people from different backgrounds and they understand the importance of tolerance.

Leaders recognise that improvements can be made to the relationships and sex education that pupils receive. For example, pupils told inspectors that they would like to receive more information on different types of relationships.

The sixth form is a strength of the school.

The range of subjects offered is broad and diverse. Students are taught well and enjoy their time in the sixth form. In many subjects, students talk in detail about what they have learned and remembered across the curriculum.

The work that students produce is of a high standard. Students in the sixth form are well supported by a strong pastoral team. Students value the support they get from their personal tutors.

Sometimes, the content of the personal, social and health education curriculum does not build on what they already know.

There have been many changes in leadership since the last inspection. During this time, leaders ensured that pupils received a good quality of education at St Bede's Catholic Comprehensive School and Sixth Form College.

However, leaders did not act quickly enough to address the decline in pupils' behaviour. Only this academic year is the multi-academy trust supporting leaders to improve pupils' behaviour at the school. This support did not come quickly enough.

The members of the local governing committee are committed to their role. They have a clear vision. Governors visit the school to check the information they are given by leaders.

However, they do not systematically seek the views of stakeholders. This means they do not have an accurate view of how parents, pupils and staff are feeling.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Safeguarding leaders are experienced and well qualified. They have extensive knowledge of the wider risks that pupils face and make sure that all staff know how to spot the indicators of harm. Staff record their concerns, which are acted on by leaders quickly.

Leaders meet regularly and use a wide range of information to provide early support for pupils and their families where it is needed. Leaders make appropriate referrals to children's services and follow these up to make sure that pupils get the help they need.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders have not tackled the poor behaviour of some pupils successfully.

This means that the daily life of the school is often disrupted. Leaders need to ensure there is a consistent approach to improving pupils' behaviour. Staff need to feel supported to challenge poor behaviour through the actions that leaders take, including the consistent application of the school's policies.

• Some leaders, including those responsible for governance, do not realise the extent of the concerns raised by stakeholders. As a result, some parents, staff and pupils have lost confidence in the leadership of the school. Leaders need to seek the views of stakeholders systematically and act swiftly in response to their concerns.

• Behaviour records and information about pupils with SEND are not recorded in an efficient way. Some staff find it difficult to analyse and interpret the information that is available to them. Leaders need to ensure that the school's systems are streamlined so that staff can use the available information to inform their school improvement priorities.

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