Pupils feel “happy, safe and confident” at a Peterlee school which has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features by the Catholic Schools Inspectorate. St Bede’s Catholic School and Byron Sixth Form College, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, has a “tangible family feel within the school community” with students feeling “valued” and staff that are “strong role models”.

The school and sixth form were inspected by the CSI in April and rated ‘Good’ overall and ‘Outstanding’ in relation to its religious education, which was highlighted as a key strength.

Lead inspector Mark Taylor said in his report: “There is a tangible family feel within the school community; the quality of pastoral care offered to all is a real strength. Students feel valued, commenting that the school does all that it can to support them; particularly the most vulnerable. Teaching and learning in religious education is outstanding. The religious education department is a team of dedicated staff with excellent subject knowledge. Lessons have a calm and purposeful feel, and students are fully engaged in their work. Relationships between staff and students are extremely positive and students appreciate the work that staff do to ensure they learn in the best way possible. The school’s religious curriculum is well sequenced and the religious education department is well supported by other subjects. This holistic approach ensures that the school offers the best it can to its students.

The school provides a “warm, caring environment” resulting in students that “feel happy, safe and confident, both academically and holistically”, continued the report.

Lesson observations and meetings with key pastoral leaders during the inspection demonstrated the “highest levels of pastoral care, with an unwavering commitment to the most vulnerable students in the school community”.

Headteacher Frances Cessford said: “I am delighted that the report recognises Christ is at the centre of our school community with Catholic life and mission being highly valued by both pupils and staff. I am particularly proud of the family feel to our school community where our pupils feel valued and the strength of the quality of our pastoral care.

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