St Thomas More Catholic Voluntary Academy
Derbyshire, United Kingdom
About St Thomas More Catholic Voluntary Academy
St Thomas More School is a mixed 11-16 Voluntary Catholic Academy with 430 pupils on roll, serving the four local Catholic parishes of St Anne’s Buxton, St Mary’s New Mills, St John Fisher and Thomas More in Chapel-en-le-Frith and the Sacred Heart in Whaley Bridge. The school also admits a number of children of other faiths and of no faith each year according to criteria established by the Diocese and Trust. From September 2018, the school converted to Academy status as a member of the St Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi-Academy Trust: a Trust set up by the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham. As a Multi-Academy Trust, we joined 4 other secondary schools and 20 primaries across areas within Derbyshire, Derby City, Stockport and Staffordshire.
We are a high achieving 11-16 school with excellent examination results. Our most recent section 5 Ofsted report in May 2013 described the school as a “ Good school with Outstanding Behaviour”. It also stated that the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education was also Outstanding” (Ofsted May 2013)
“Students are reflective and tolerant and benefit from the many opportunities they have to explore moral, spiritual and cultural issues.” “They are keen to learn, enjoy excellent relationships with their teachers, are well mannered and polite and make a significant contribution to the positive atmosphere within the school” (Ofsted May 2013)
Ofsted visited in March 2017 to carry out a short, section 8 inspection and judged the school to still be good: “The staff and pupils are exceptionally loyal. In accordance with the school aims, they indeed have a ‘strong sense of pride and belonging’ for the school community” (Ofsted Section 8 inspection – March 2017)
Our published admission number was raised to 90 in 2015 and we are currently oversubscribed in years 7, 8 and 9. We enjoy an excellent reputation for our positive ethos and pastoral support systems. Teaching at St Thomas More School is very satisfying; our students are motivated, pleasant, courteous, well behaved, they like school and enjoy learning. Achievement is high, and almost all go on to Further Education. The school has a reputation for good order and class discipline aiming to develop the character of the pupil to respect his/her own person and belongings and those of other people.
The school is divided into three houses, the house captains being elected by the pupils. Inter-house activities and games are encouraged and credits are awarded for good work and behaviour. All pupils in the Lower School follow a broad based curriculum embracing Religious Education, English, Mathematics, a Modern Foreign Language, Science, Technology, History, Geography, Personal and Social Education and Physical Education. In addition Expressive Arts subjects are taught in rotation and all pupils spend time studying Music, Art, and Drama. Currently the pupils in Year 10 follow a compulsory core, which consists of Religious Education, English and English Literature, Mathematics, Science, PACE (Personal and Citizenship Education), Physical Education and three further subjects.
Accommodation is good with a major building project to increase the number of rooms completed in 2002, a State of the Art Sports Hall completed in November 2008, a new ICT suite and further office completed in 2010 and a new SEN Annex and new reception area completed Easter 2013. A new library is due to be completed by Easter this year.
Relationships between home and school are very positive. Governors and parents are very supportive, and have very high expectations of the school. We trust our students to behave well and the atmosphere in the school reflects our high expectations of them in this respect. The parent satisfaction surveys over the years indicate 100% would recommend our school.
Our faith underpins the ethos of the school and visitors often comment on the warm calm Christian atmosphere apparent in the school. We work constantly to maintain this ethos by supporting our pupils and our staff in ways that allow them to develop positive relationships. Discipline in the school is based on gospel values that recognise each person’s individuality.
The Leadership team comprises of the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Assistant Headteacher, SENDCo and the Business Manager. The Deputy Headteacher is responsible for the pastoral care of the students as well as being the safeguarding lead. The pastoral team comprises of the Deputy Headteacher, SENDCo, 2 Pastoral Managers and the Form Tutors. (The Head and SENDCo are also safeguarding leads within the school.)
The Headteacher is currently supporting one of the partner primary schools as Executive Headteacher.