Glowing school report for St. Dominic’s

23rd July 2019

St. Dominic’s has been given a glowing report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), with inspectors saying they couldn’t think of a single way that pupil development could be further improved.

That’s a great endorsement for our wonderful school and prompted the head, Mr McNabb, to say: “We are delighted with the news and I would like to thank everyone involved in making this positive report possible. Every area of the school was inspected from health and safety, recruitment and safeguarding to all educational aspects from reception to the sixth form.

“Many lessons were observed and multiple meetings checked for compliancy. Parent, staff and pupil questionnaires and meetings were also used to complete the report. We were delighted by the positive responses received from questionnaires completed by everyone.

“Unlike Ofsted, the new ISI criteria for reporting does not produce an overall grading. However, we are pleased to report that the school is fully compliant in all areas, with no areas for improvement required for compliance. The inspectors commented that they could not think of a single way that we could further improve pupil development.

“It’s important to recognise the role the school management committee, and proprietor play in our continued success along with the parents, pupils and staff who all make St. Dominic’s such a wonderful place of learning.”

The educational aspect of the inspection focused on pupil achievement and development with the report finding Pupil achievement very pleasing:

  • Pupils’ attitudes to learning are very positive and they plan and organise their work effectively
  • At GCSE in the years 2015 to 2017, performance has been above the national average for maintained schools.
  • All groups of pupils including those with SEND or EAL achieve well and make good progress relative to their starting points.

Pupil development gained even more accolade from the inspectors:

  • All staff treat pupils with respect, and this is reciprocated with good manners and rapport, creating a positive climate for learning and enjoyment in lessons.
  • Pupils’ behaviour, both within and around the school, is exemplary; they exhibit high degrees of friendliness and politeness to all they meet.
  • They have a strong awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses and naturally take responsibility for reviewing their own progress, negotiating and setting their own targets, underpinned by excellent staff relationships and strong pastoral support.

Further key quotes:

  • Their self esteem grows as they move through the school, as they benefit from the family atmosphere created from the mixed year tutor groups and small class sizes.
  • Throughout the school, pupils demonstrate a natural empathy to look out for each other, and a readiness to challenge any misbehaviour, showing no tolerance for bullying.
  • Pupils make an outstanding contribution to the wider community.
  • Pupils’ spiritual awareness is excellent.
  • Leadership and management have ensured that pupils develop the skills, empathy and resilience to be successful in their future lives.
  • Pupils leave the school as confident young people with a mature attitude and good manners, preparing them well for whatever change that lies ahead.
  • Pupils demonstrate excellent self knowledge and self esteem, and they possess very high levels of confidence for their age.
  • Small class sizes, together with excellent rapport from staff and their peers, create a learning environment in which all pupils, including those with SEND or EAL, feel safe and confident with attempting new challenges.
  • Pupils attain a very good level of success both locally and nationally in extra-curricular activities such as music, drama, sport, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and competition.
  • Almost all sixth formers gain their first choice university with all achieving either their first or second choice.
  • Pupils make good progress relative to their starting points because all staff have high aspirations for them to always try their best and succeed to the best of their ability and the regular praise provided in lessons.
  • Pupils communication and written skills are excellent, as evidenced through the high standards of work in lessons, written work, and presentation skills and success achieved in public speaking competitions.
  • Sixth formers speak highly of how the extended project qualification (EPQ) provides them with excellent experience for developing their own interests and research skills.
  • Senior and sixth form pupils are confident making informed decisions about their qualifications options choices, through a comprehensive careers education programme.