St Mary’s – an outstanding school for academic achievement
St Mary’s is recognised locally and nationally as an outstanding school for academic achievement. Based on our sustained high academic performance over time, the school was approached by central government to become a National Support School in 2011. We are one of just a handful of National Support Schools in the north-east, chosen from the small group of outstanding secondaries across the region. This work entails sharing our best practice to support schools regionally and nationally to raise academic achievement.
We were also designated as a Teaching School by central government in summer 2017, with the mandate to develop high-quality teaching across the region, including the training of new teachers for the profession. In each of our last four Ofsted and Diocesan inspections, St Mary’s academic achievement has been judged outstanding.
Outstanding academic ‘attainment’ at St Mary’s
Our raw results are well above national averages. This year, 82% of students achieved Grade 4 (C equivalent) or above in English and maths combined, and 67% achieved Grade 5 (B equivalent) or above. In fact, over 28% of all grades in GCSE English and maths were Grade 7 (A equivalent) or above. Over the past three years, the average Grade 4 or above (A*-C) pass rate for those studying the separate sciences of biology, physics and chemistry has been 98%, with an average of 58% of students achieving Grade 7 (A*-A grades) across all three subjects. This year, 83% of students obtained Grade 4 or above in religious education, 42% at Grade 7 or above, with 33 pupils achieving Grade 9. Results in all other optional GCSE subjects were outstanding too, with 80% of all entries in new GCSE courses at Grade 4 or above, compared to 66% nationally. In fact, the vast majority of subjects achieved Grade 4 and Grade 7 pass rates considerably above the national average. In addition, 49% of pupils achieved the EBacc measure by securing Grade 4 or above in English, maths, two sciences, a modern foreign language and either history or geography, with 38% of pupils achieving this at Grade 5 or above in these subjects. With a Level 2 pass rate of 91%, vocational subjects were also very successful. In fact, 32% of all vocational grades were Distinctions or above.
Outstanding academic ‘progress’ at St Mary’s
Our ‘attainment’ scores are very impressive, but they are not the most important indicator of our performance. Most important of all is the progress our students make between Year 7 and Year 11. This is a school’s ‘value added’, or ‘pupil progress’ score and it is something that we advise parents to check when evaluating a school. St Mary’s ‘pupil progress’ has been exceptionally high for 7 years in succession. Our estimated Progress 8 score this year is +0.5, which will rank us among the best schools not only in the north-east, but in the whole of England when DfE performance tables are published later this term. You can be confident from these figures that your child will be stretched and challenged to fulfil his or her academic potential at St Mary’s, whatever their starting point. This outstanding pupil progress can only be achieved where teaching and learning, the curriculum and, most importantly, the ethos and behaviour climate of the school are all outstanding, which is the case here at St Mary’s.