Pupils are “happy” and “enjoy their learning” at a caring Peterlee secondary school and sixth form. St Bede’s Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form College, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, was inspected by Ofsted in June and has retained its ‘Good’ rating.

Ofsted lead inspector Barry Found said in his report following the section 8 ungraded inspection*: “Pupils are happy and enjoy their learning. Teachers care for their pupils and help them to achieve their learning goals. The school has a strong set of Catholic values and virtues which pupils use as a guide. Staff value every pupil at this school.

There is an “ambitious curriculum” for all pupils and teachers plan lessons together to make lessons “interesting and of high quality”.

The sixth-form provision is “inclusive” and students enjoy one-to-one support from staff and “appreciate the opportunities they have to learn life skills and access a broad range of academic an vocational subjects”. Students “value the expertise of their teachers” and the “good-quality support” they receive to support them to achieve their best.

Reading and improving reading skills are priorities at the school with book choices “carefully considered” by leaders and pupils are encouraged to read regularly.

The school provides a range of wider enrichment opportunities for pupils beyond their lessons,” continued the report. “These include various sporting activities such as football and netball. Pupils are proud to take part in sports tournaments. They enjoy a variety of activities which support their understanding of the wider world, including as members of the eco club and culture club. Pupils appreciate residential visits and trips linked to the curriculum. Members of the ‘equality and diversity’ group work alongside teachers and staff to improve the school and promote diversity. There is a high-quality programme of careers advice and guidance for pupils. They learn interview techniques and are supported with university applications. These activities help to prepare pupils well for further education and employment.

Staff members are positive about working in the school with leaders “considerate” of the workload of staff and their wellbeing.

Headteacher Frances Cessford said: “Children are at the heart of everything we do at St Bede’s and I am very pleased that Ofsted have recognised that St Bede’s is a happy and caring school, where our staff work extremely hard to create an ambitious curriculum for all of our pupils.

Inspectors carried out deep dives in the following subjects: English, history, modern foreign languages and geography. For each deep dive, inspectors discussed the curriculum with subject leaders, visited a sample of lessons, spoke to teachers, spoke to some pupils about their learning and looked at samples of pupils’ work.

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.