St John Fisher Catholic Academy

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About St John Fisher Catholic Academy

Name St John Fisher Catholic Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Steve Mort
Address Hookstone Drive, Harrogate, HG2 8PT
Phone Number 01423887254
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1398
Local Authority North Yorkshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils value the education that they receive at St John Fisher Catholic Academy.

Leaders have high expectations of what pupils can achieve. They have designed a curriculum which achieves the school's mission, 'educating for life'. Pupils leave the school well equipped for their next step in education, employment or training.

Pupils behave considerately and maturely. They wear their uniforms with pride. Their achievements are celebrated in rewards assemblies.

However, a minority of pupils think that leaders do not celebrate positive behaviour as much as they could.

Leaders respond when pupils raise concerns. For example, leaders have improved indoor a...nd outside areas of the school where some pupils felt uncomfortable in the past.

This has helped pupils to feel safe in school. Pupils appreciate the support of pastoral staff. When pupils report bullying, staff tackle it directly.

A rich set of extra-curricular opportunities are available for pupils. Sixth-form students lead by example. Members of the school congress are proud of their leadership responsibilities.

Sixth-form students willingly support lower school pupils. For example, some read with younger pupils while others help out at the 'space club'.

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

Careful thought has gone into the curriculum design.

Pupils benefit from lessons that build upon what they already know. Teachers frequently check pupils' understanding and help them to remember important concepts. Pupils use their prior knowledge to perform increasingly complex tasks in subsequent lessons.

They talk confidently about their learning over time. Although the curriculum is ambitious, leaders are making changes to the curriculum so that pupils in Years 7 to 9 can study topics, such as the Holocaust in history, in even greater depth. Senior leaders are working with curriculum subject leaders to introduce a new and even richer key stage 3 curriculum from September 2023.

Recent staff training has increased teachers' understanding of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). In some subjects, such as physical education (PE), teachers skilfully support pupils with physical disabilities. However, not all pupils' needs are consistently catered for with the same level of expertise.

For example, some pupils with dyslexia feel well supported by some teachers more than others. When pupils with SEND ask for help, sometimes teachers do not know how to support them fully. This is partially because leaders do not fully provide teachers with precise enough information about individual pupils.

There is an effective programme to deliver reading support to those pupils who need it. Pupils with reading difficulties are identified swiftly. Well-delivered reading sessions build pupils' reading competence and confidence over time.

The sixth form has a broad curriculum offer, as well as a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. Teachers have secure academic and vocational subject knowledge. Students are consistently positive about their experience in the sixth form.

They value the pastoral and academic support given to them. All students progress to suitably ambitious destinations.

Pupils behave with maturity and are tolerant of one another.

The new behaviour and engagement policy has raised standards in pupils' behaviour. Although positive behaviour is celebrated, some older pupils feel that the messages given to them by adults about behaviour expectations are too negative.

A wide range of rich activities are available to help pupils develop their individual character.

Regular opportunities to debate important ethical issues help pupils to develop their moral compass. An exciting range of extra-curricular clubs and activities are on offer. Information to help pupils to decide their next steps is improving.

The strength of the careers offer in the sixth form is now being realised across the school.

New leaders have brought stability to the school. They are ambitious and have rightly raised expectations of pupils and of staff.

Most parents and carers would recommend the school. However, a small but significant minority of parents do not feel that communication between school and home is effective. Previous instability in leadership has not helped.

Sometimes leaders are slow to respond to parents who raise concerns. Over time, some parents of pupils with SEND have not been involved sufficiently in their children's education. Some parents recognise recent improvements in communication.

However, more is needed to include the whole community fully in the school's improvement journey.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders keep a keen eye on safeguarding arrangements.

They analyse safeguarding data and spot any emerging trends. This work informs what training to give staff so that they have an up-to-date awareness of contextual safeguarding issues. When concerns arise about pupils, swift action is taken to support those who need help.

Governors closely scrutinise this work.

There are regular conversations with pupils about how they can be aware of risks to their safety. Regular visits from outside agencies, such as the police, help pupils to understand what risks they might face in the community.

Most pupils appreciate the efforts that leaders go to when supporting them with any mental health issues.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some teachers do not provide pupils with SEND with effective support in lessons. Some of the information that senior leaders provide to teachers about pupils' individual needs is not clear or specific.

As a result, pupils with SEND do not achieve as well as they could. Leaders should ensure that staff are given precise information about the needs of pupils with SEND so that all pupils achieve the best possible outcomes. ? A small but significant minority of parents do not feel that communication between school and home is effective.

Sometimes, when parents raise concerns or pass on their views, the response from staff is slow. As a result, some parents, including those of pupils with SEND, are not informed sufficiently about their children's education and their experiences in school. Leaders must engage more purposefully with these parents and involve them more effectively in school life.

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