An outstanding Catholic college of 1335 students, St Bede’s is a beacon of excellence in Bristol and the Clifton Diocese. Student progress is significantly above average, pastoral care is exceptional and the focus on the development of the whole child means families aspire to send their children to St Bede’s. The college continues to build on the foundation of love and works with an effective balance of support and challenge.
St Bede’s is a community unified by a common understanding and belief in the power of Catholic education. Our continued focus on the dignity of the person and the rights of all to fulfil their God-given potential allow all members of the community to feel wanted and involved. St Bede’s also celebrates the diversity of the cultures of its members. Irrespective of family heritage, all students and staff are able to express their identity and individuality and flourish within an inclusive environment. “Catholic Life @ St Bede’s” is well understood by staff and students, with all embracing the rights and responsibilities therein. The college has been recently given the Anti-Racist School Award as a mark of its recent work in this area.
The college is successful in recruitment and retention. Staff feel stimulated and motivated to complete meaningful work and they all feel trusted and enabled to grow as professionals and as people. The college skilfully manages workload to ensure the necessary processes and procedures are completed effectively whilst minimising ineffective or low-impact work flows. St Bede’s is a college in which colleagues enjoy working and is somewhere others aspire to work.
Leaders at all levels maintain the momentum of improvement by focusing on marginal gains and continued development. Complacency is not acceptable. Leaders at all levels understand the expectations of “Ambitious Leadership @ St Bede’s” and continue to hone their skills to best guide their colleagues and the students towards success. High quality systems and identification of and training of future leaders mean the success of the college is strong and sustainable.
“The St Bede’s Way” is well understood and embedded in all that we do. The Gospel continues to support students in developing their character through an understanding of their own core values. Behaviour management strategies and behaviour procedures have been successfully honed to maximise student engagement progress and success.
St Bede’s has a well-designed curriculum with the best knowledge in the best order in all subjects. “Curriculum @ St Bede’s” underpins all further curriculum developments and ensures the wider curriculum offer is coherent and aligns with the college mission statement. The timetabled curriculum and co-curriculum are suitably aspirational and provide opportunities for all students to breadth and depth of experience in all areas.
The “Teaching and Learning @ St Bede’s” is well understood and is the basis of all teaching CPD. Teachers understand the main threads of the charter as well as specific strategies and practices that allow these broader themes to be implemented in the classroom. CPD is planned on a three-year cycle to ensure opportunities are strategically planned. The college has increased the number of INSET days to increase the dedicated time for staff to improve their practice – it is understood that the quality of the classroom teacher is the primary driver of student progress.
Assessment at St Bede’s has recently been reviewed and redeveloped based on the recent understandings of best practice for both formative and summative assessment. Students have developed an understanding of metacognition and have strategies to self-regulate their own study.
All students are known and are valued. “Pastoral Care and Student Welfare @ St Bede’s” has successfully clarified what has made this area such a success for St Bede’s over past years. All colleagues understand the expectations and responsibilities in this area and the quality of the teamwork and communication mean that no student is left behind. The house system continues to grow, with each house maintaining a strong identity within the college mission. Student attendance is excellent and well above national average. Students enjoy and want to attend college.
The progress of SEND, BAME, Pupil Premium and boys are in line with their peers. Each student is known and understood as an individual learner and provision is tailored to allow them to reach their potential. CPD has ensured all members of staff feel equipped and confident to support these students.
Teachers know the research, ideas, theories and books upon which our key policies are based. The college does what it says it does.
The recent expansion of the Areté sixth form means the college now welcomes 150 students every September. This investment shows the governors’ commitment to post-16 teaching at St Bede’s and the new facilities have a hugely important impact on the success of the students. The majority of the 150 students remain with us from Year 11 and we continue to expand the breadth of our curriculum to make this transition suitable for more students. We successfully integrate external students into Areté and their progress matches or exceeds their peers.
St Bede’s is outward looking and has well established partnership links with other Catholic schools in the diocese as well as local Bristol schools. Staff look for opportunities to support other schools as well as benefit from the wealth of expertise in partner schools. Relationships across schools are collaborative and not competitive. All families of students are engaged with the college, working with teachers and support staff to create the best environment for their children to flourish. The college alumni project had grown to a size where former students are available and willing to support the college with a wide range of events and activities.
The college is an inspiring place to work, both for students and staff. The physical environment is outstanding, with high quality honours boards, art work and other artefacts illustrating the successes of students throughout. The new main reception allows for an efficient and welcoming face of the college, the new phone system improves the quality and efficiency of our external communications and the new college dining system allows the lunchtime period to be better focused on wellbeing and co-curricular activities.
The college is progressing well towards improved sustainability. The heating and electricity are greener, recycling is well-established, and conservation and ecology are key parts of our decision making.