St Mary’s Church of England High School (VA)

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About St Mary’s Church of England High School (VA)

Name St Mary’s Church of England High School (VA)
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Richard Vaughan
Address Lieutenant Ellis Way, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, EN7 5FB
Phone Number 01992629124
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1092
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud of their school.

Those in attendance at the previous inspection notice and speak positively about improvements happening at their school. Pupils share the school's high ambitions of what they can learn and achieve. They speak confidently about reaching their career aspirations because the school prepares them well for adult life.

Pupils behave well and treat each other with kindness. Many told us that the best thing about the school is the way the diverse school community feels like a nurturing family. Older pupils and students in the sixth form take responsibility for younger pupils, such as ensuring that Year 7 pupils settle into school successfully....

On the rare occasions of bullying, staff deal with it effectively so that it stops and does not reoccur.

The school's work to support the well-being of pupils is strong. Pupils are taught how to live healthy lifestyles.

The school supports pupils well to maintain positive mental health while dealing with whatever issues they face.

Pupils benefit from the school's commitment to pupils' personal development through the enrichment opportunities at the school. Pupils speak enthusiastically about their learning from the educational visits to local, national and international sites of interest.

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

Since the previous inspection, leaders have made improvements to the design and delivery of the curriculum. The school has a well-designed, ambitious curriculum. This is evident in the good quality of pupils' learning demonstrated in lessons and in their books.

However, the improvements in the curriculum are not yet reflected in examination results.

Leaders have designed the curriculum to ensure that pupils make smooth transitions and are thoroughly prepared for each key stage. Curriculum plans provide teachers with the information they need to plan effective learning activities in a sensible order.

Leaders also have in place research-informed, whole-school approaches to teaching. Teachers use leaders' guidance effectively. They usually identify when pupils do not know or understand key elements of the curriculum and provide timely help so that pupils do not fall behind.

The school has not ensured that teachers consistently know how to support the specific needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). As a result, on occasion, teachers do not provide pupils with precise support. Staff are improving the guidance and training that teachers need to plan effective support for these pupils.

The school helps pupils to develop an enjoyment of and fluency in reading. Particularly in key stage 3, pupils read widely and often. The school is effective in helping most pupils that find reading difficult to improve their reading.

For pupils who are at the earliest stages of reading, the school's provision is only partially successful. The school has rightly adjusted the support that it provides for these pupils. It is too early to judge the impact of these changes.

Pupils live up to leaders' expectations of their behaviour. Pupils follow the well-established routines in lessons and usually focus on learning. Staff fairly and consistently deal with any unacceptable behaviour.

The school provides many opportunities for pupils to learn about the diverse beliefs and lifestyles found in modern society. Pupils value the opportunities at the school to celebrate others' differences. Sixth-form students speak with conviction, and from informed positions, about their views regarding contemporary issues.

The school prepares pupils well to make decisions about their next steps in employment, education and training. Pupils and students in the sixth form benefit from meaningful work experience opportunities. They receive careers guidance that helps them shape their career goals.

Governors carry out their duties well. They hold leaders to account effectively for the school's work.

Leaders and governors have developed strong relationships with parents, carers, pupils and staff.

The majority of parents who responded to Ofsted's online survey, Ofsted Parent View, expressed appreciation for the quality of the school's provision. Most staff feel that leaders and governors are considerate of staff's well-being and workload.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school does not provide teachers with the precise guidance and training they need to plan support to meet the exact needs of some pupils with SEND. As a result, some pupils with SEND do not achieve as well as they could. The school needs to ensure that teachers receive, and act upon, precise guidance and training about the specific needs of pupils with SEND.

• The school does not have sufficiently effective support for pupils at the earliest stages of reading. Though the existing support is enabling these pupils to improve their reading to some extent, more needs to be done. The school must complete its work in sharing the necessary expertise about early reading and put effective measures in place so that these pupils can learn what they need to read more effectively.

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