In the last week of the summer term, St Gregory’s Catholic College was visited by a team of four Ofsted inspectors.  The College had not been inspected for almost five years, following an Outstanding report in September 2008, which included a top grade for teaching and learning.  In July’s inspection, under the new tougher Ofsted framework, St Gregory’s was judged to be still Outstanding in every category.

Executive Headteacher Raymond Friel admits to be being surprised by the timing but delighted with the outcome.  ‘It was something of a challenge to be inspected in the final few days of term during a heatwave, but the staff and students rose to the challenge magnificently.

The new framework is definitely tougher, more focused on the core purpose of schools, so I’m even more delighted that we have been judged Outstanding in every area.  A judgement like that does not just happen over a few days.  This Ofsted report is really the result of a sustained focus on high standards over many years.  It is a great tribute to the professionalism of our staff, the support of our parents and governors, and the wonderful attitude of our students.

St Gregory’s really is a special place and with this report and the recent opening of our sixth form, there is a great buzz and a great deal of confidence around the school.   We expect to have even more enquiries than usual for places next year. Prospective parents are welcome to come to our Open Evening on 26 September.’

For Mr Friel this was his second Ofsted in as many weeks having led St Mark’s through the same process in June.  ‘Most headteachers face an inspection once every three years or so,’ Mr Friel said, ‘but to have two inspections within five weeks was unusual.  It did mean I was very familiar with the new framework which probably helped!’

The headline comments from the St Gregory’s report are as follows:

  • ‘Students’ achievement is outstanding.  All groups make rapid progress in relation to their starting points.’
  • ‘The quality of teaching is outstanding.  Many lessons feature stimulating pace and high expectations.’
  • ‘Students’ behaviour is excellent both in and out of lessons.  Students feel safe, attitudes to learning are positive and the quality of relationships is marked by respect and good humour.’
  • ‘Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is exceptional.  It is a strong feature in many lessons and in all aspects of the curriculum.’
  • ‘Leadership and management are outstanding, driven by a visionary, enthusiastic and highly approachable executive headteacher.’
  • The governing body is highly effective.  Governors have been closely involved in the college and have a very good understanding of its priorities.’

The full report can be found here or the Ofsted website (

For any more information please contact the College on 01225 838200.

9 September 2013