A Liverpool secondary school has been praised by Ofsted for “rapid improvement” over the last two years which has seen it graded as good overall, with outstanding leadership and management.
Ofsted found that St Julie’s Catholic High School in Woolton had quickly set about tackling issues identified during its inspection in 2016 when it was judged as “requires improvement”.
They praised Head teacher Tim Alderman and the Governors for having “skilfully managed” the transformation, which they found “remarkable” given that at the same time they were overseeing the construction of their £20 million new school on the same site.
Teachers and teaching assistants are praised for being “committed to improving teaching” and grasping new ways of working . Improvements in Maths and Humanities are particularly singled out for praise. The school has recently gained the Liverpool Counts Gold Award, from School Improvement Liverpool, the highest accolade for developing students’ numeracy across the curriculum.
The inspectors found that students are being “well educated” and the school’s work to promote their personal development and welfare is “outstanding”, with students showing great respect for each other and staff and a positive attitude to learning.
The curriculum is described as “very good and balanced”, matching the interests of all students and leading to successful learning. The report concluded that the school’s sixth form is helping students “gain access to high-quality courses and training”.
Head teacher Tim Alderman said: “A tremendous amount of hard work has gone into addressing the issues identified in our previous Ofsted inspection and it is hugely gratifying to see that reflected in this latest report.
“Everyone associated with the school, from the Governors, Leadership Team, teachers, teaching assistants, students and parents have played their part in getting us to where we are today.
“We will continue to review all areas of the school and are absolutely determined to deliver the highest quality provision for our students, aided by the fantastic new facilities that we have in our new building.”
Inspectors say the progress of disadvantaged children has improved considerably, as have the achievement levels of pupils with special educational needs.
Cabinet member for education, Cllr Barbara Murray, said: “Congratulations to everyone at St Julie’s for the huge turnaround over the last two years.
“The inspection report is testament to the passion and commitment of all of those at the school that they have achieved so much in a relatively short period of time.
“I have a special interest in the school as both my daughters were educated there and my eldest daughter was Head Girl, so I particularly welcome this report from Ofsted and offer my congratulations and thanks to everyone who has worked hard to make this happen.
“Our shared vision with schools is for every child in Liverpool to achieve their potential and it is fantastic to see that is happening at St Julie’s.”
Although improvements have been made in science, both the school and Ofsted agree more can be done.
Other areas for development include further stretching the most able pupils by encouraging them to excel and think more deeply about their learning and making sure teachers consistently help students with their spelling and grammar.
St Julie’s is one of 23 schools rebuilt or refurbished under the £180 million Liverpool Schools Investment Programme set up by Mayor Joe Anderson, and opened its new £20 million building in September 2017.
Local councillor Alice Bennett added: “I would like to congratulate the Head Teacher and his team for leading the school towards gaining this superb Ofsted report. Having visited the school recently after the rebuild, I am delighted that it is now an environment in which young women excel chiefly because their success is at the heart of every decision. St Julie’s is a school for Liverpool to be proud of.”
The full Ofsted report can be found here.