St Thomas More Catholic School

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About St Thomas More Catholic School

Name St Thomas More Catholic School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Martin Bonner
Address Tyne Crescent, Bedford, MK41 7UL
Phone Number 01234400222
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Roman Catholic
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 930
Local Authority Bedford
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

St Thomas More is a close-knit community with a strong 'family' ethos. Pupils appreciate and embody the school's Catholic values of faith, hope and love.

Pupils are provided with the knowledge and skills to lead happy, successful lives. They achieve well. The school has high expectations and aspirations for all pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Pupils are polite and courteous. They say that they feel safe. Typically, they behave well.

They move around the school calmly.

Pupils can access opportunities in many different areas to develop and stretch their talents and interests. For example, Year 8 pupil...s help Year 7 pupils settle in.

Other pupil leaders assist at local primary school sports competitions. Pupils and students in all years are actively involved in supporting the local community. They successfully organise food bank collections and charity events.

Clubs include young enterprise, carpentry and gardening, as well as a wide range of sports. Pupils with SEND benefit from activities designed specifically to meet their needs.

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

The school has planned an ambitious curriculum.

Teachers present key concepts well and systematically revisit them in lessons to help pupils remember them. Most staff use assessment effectively so that pupils and sixth-form students know more and remember more over time.

In some subjects, teachers have not given enough thought to the concepts that pupils often struggle to understand.

Leaders are developing more effective curriculum plans to address this. Teachers typically have good knowledge of their subjects. Where they are not subject specialists, they receive effective support from their colleagues.

The proportion of pupils studying the subjects that contribute to the English Baccalaureate is increasing in line with the government's national ambition. Most students in the sixth form achieve the grades they require to follow their chosen pathway. The majority choose to go on to university.

The school supports pupils with SEND well. It works closely with their parents to identify pupils' needs. Teachers receive the training and guidance they need to help these pupils learn the same curriculum as other pupils.

Pupils who struggle with reading increasingly receive the help they need to become confident readers. The school has trained sixth-form mentors to support this.Teachers have made a rich selection of texts to enhance the English curriculum.

Form tutors read regularly with their tutor groups.

With support from the trust, the school has overseen a recent improvement in pupils' behaviour. Most pupils now behave well in lessons and around the school.

The strong pastoral team helps pupils improve their behaviour if it falls below expectations. Pupils understand the behaviour policy. They say that the consequences for poor behaviour are fair.

However, they also say that some teachers do not apply the policy consistently, for example when dealing with mobile phones.

The school has developed good systems to improve attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic. Pupils' attendance is now above average.

The proportion of pupils who are persistently absent is below the national average. Attendance in the sixth form has also improved.

The school respects and values people's differences.

It develops pupils' character well. Pupils grasp the opportunities offered to make a positive contribution to society. Last year's 'culture and diversity day' was a particular highlight.

Pupils learn about a range of topics in assemblies and in personal, social and health education lessons. Topics include healthy lifestyles, finance and staying safe. The relationships and sex education curriculum enables pupils, and students in the sixth form, to make well-informed personal decisions.

Teachers promote discussion and debate about moral and social issues during form time.

Careers education is effective. All Year 11 pupils have careers interviews.

These inform the decisions they make about their futures. Following student requests, the school now provides more guidance about apprenticeships in the sixth form.

School and trust leaders regularly check the quality of education.

They share a clear understanding of the school's strengths and areas for improvement. The trust has delegated some responsibilities to the local governing body. This group challenges and supports leaders well.

It meets its statutory obligations. Leaders take great care to consider the workload and well-being of staff. Staff are proud and happy to work at the school.

The school seeks to communicate meaningfully with parents. It has, for example, recently consulted on changes to school uniform.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders' high expectations for behaviour are not applied consistently by staff across the school and in the sixth form. This means some learning time is lost.Leaders should ensure that all staff are well trained and have a clear understanding of how to implement these expectations.

• Curriculum plans are more rigorous in some subject areas than others. As a result, pupils do not experience a consistently high quality of education across the curriculum. Leaders should act at pace to implement the changes they have planned so that all pupils and students achieve well.

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