St Mary’s Catholic Academy

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About St Mary’s Catholic Academy

Name St Mary’s Catholic Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Simon Eccles
Address St Walburga’s Road, Blackpool, FY3 7EQ
Phone Number 01253396286
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1212 (49.5% boys 50.5% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 14.3
Academy Sponsor The Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust
Local Authority Blackpool
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils, and students in the sixth form, told inspectors that they enjoy coming to school to learn. They feel happy and safe at St Mary's Catholic Academy.

Staff set high expectations of pupils' behaviour and achievement.

Pupils behave well in lessons and around the school. They are polite and well mannered.

They enjoy positive relationships with one another. Pupils reported that derogatory language is rare. They respect each other's differences.

Pupils said that when bullying happens, teachers respond quickly and resolve any issues effectively. Pupils are confident that staff will deal well with any concerns that they have.

Leaders have that pupils follow a suitably ambitious curriculum.

Pupils achieve well overall. This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and disadvantaged pupils. Students in the sixth form receive an especially strong quality of education.

Pupils experience a wealth of opportunities which interest and inspire them. They take part enthusiastically in clubs and sports, including chess club, hockey and cricket. They also enjoy visits, for example to London, and taking part in a community youth project.

Parents are very supportive of the school. A typical comment made was, 'My child has been very happy there.'

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

Trustees and leaders have high ambitions for pupils.

Most pupils and students, including those with SEND, achieve well in a broad range of subjects. Pupils, and students in the sixth form, study a wide range of courses. All pupils follow the same ambitious curriculum.

Pupils are well prepared for their next steps.

Leaders have put in place a curriculum which has the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) suite of subjects at its heart. They have made efforts to strengthen the modern foreign languages curriculum in key stage 3.

This has begun to increase the number of pupils who choose to study this subject at key stage 4. As a result, the proportion of pupils following the EBacc suite of subjects is beginning to rise, although it remains low. This limits the choices that some pupils can make about their future.

Subject leaders have thought carefully about the knowledge that pupils should learn. Leaders have also considered the order in which to teach essential information. Subject curriculums are carefully organised.

However, in a small number of subjects, the curriculum has some gaps in content at key stage 3. This affects pupils' understanding of these subjects.

Teachers ensure that pupils revisit their learning regularly.

Teachers give pupils opportunities to practise and build on what they already know. This helps pupils to remember the curriculum.

Many teachers have a detailed knowledge of their curriculum subjects.

They use their subject expertise skilfully to help pupils remember and apply their learning. Teachers in the sixth form have particularly strong subject expertise.

Leaders accurately identify the needs of pupils with SEND.

Teachers provide effective support so that these pupils can learn the same ambitious curriculum as other pupils in the school.

Teachers use assessment strategies well. They spot and address pupils' misconceptions quickly and effectively, including for pupils with SEND.

Teaching staff provide effective support to pupils in lessons. This helps pupils move on to new learning confidently and successfully.

Pupils who are at the earliest stages of learning to read are supported well.

They receive specialist support from staff to help them to read more fluently. This improves these pupils' confidence in reading and helps them to better access the curriculum.

Pupils show positive attitudes towards their learning.

Typically, pupils learn well in a calm environment with few interruptions. Teachers ensure that there are clear routines which contribute to an orderly atmosphere in and out of lessons.

Pupils benefit from a strong programme of personal development.

This includes age-appropriate relationships and sex education and health education. Pupils learn about other cultures and beliefs. Teachers prepare pupils well for life in modern Britain.

Pupils receive a strong careers education, information, advice and guidance programme. A high proportion of pupils move on to further education and training, including those pupils with SEND. In the sixth form, many students progress on to university.

Trustees provide effective support for leaders. They know the school well and provide a well-defined direction for improvement. Trustees challenge leaders to develop further the quality of education for all pupils.

Leaders are passionate about supporting the well-being of staff. They put a strong emphasis on professional development, including research. They care for their staff.

Teachers appreciate the efforts made by leaders to reduce their workload. Staff enjoy working at the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure a strong culture of safeguarding. Staff are clear about the dangers that pupils and students in the sixth form may face. This includes peer-on-peer abuse.

Staff are vigilant for safeguarding concerns and report these in a timely manner.

Leaders quickly identify whether pupils need additional support from external agencies. They ensure that pupils and their families get the help that they need.

Pupils are clear about how they can get support when needed. They learn how to keep safe from risks, including knife crime. Pupils also learn about online safety.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Too few pupils follow the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects. This can limit their options in later life. Leaders should ensure that they continue to increase the proportion of pupils who follow English Baccalaureate subjects.

• In a small number of subjects, there are gaps in the curriculum at key stage 3. This limits pupils' knowledge and skills in these areas. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum is broad and balanced in all subjects.