One of Cardiff's largest Catholic schools has been praised by inspectors for its "caring and nurturing community" and for seeking to "enrich pupils' lives through faith and extremely high-quality care, support and guidance".
In its latest Estyn report, carried out in March this year, inspectors said that a notable strength of Corpus Christi Catholic High School, on Ty Draw Road in Lisvane, was its ethos that contributes positively to students' wellbeing, behaviour and engagement in learning.
They also added:
"The school has a well-established vision for pupil and staff wellbeing, which is underpinned by its Catholic ethos and centred upon all members of the school being attentive, compassionate and truthful. Leaders and staff at the school promote this vision consistently and pupils appreciate the high levels of support they receive."
Estyn inspectors were impressed by the behaviour of pupils:
"Most listen with respect and attention to their peers and teachers, share their opinions confidently... and many produce writing that is technically secure and suitably structured.
"Many have secure number skills... but a few pupils struggle with mental calculations and in a minority of instances pupils do not analyse graphs and data well enough to come to sensible conclusions."
Teachers have high expectations for pupils and the curriculum provides appropriate opportunities to develop their literacy and numeracy skills, it said, but added:
"The provision for digital skills is at an early stage of development and currently the school does not promote the use of Welsh language strongly enough in areas other than Welsh lessons."
Corpus Christi High School in Lisvane - Credit: Corpus Christi
A strength of the school, said the report, is its approach to the wellbeing of both pupils and staff. "Most pupils feel safe and happy. They know who to turn to if they have any problems and feel well cared for.... and the school has employed a trained nurse who provides mental health first aid and refers particularly vulnerable pupils to the relevant external support."
Most teachers create a "calm and purposeful" learning environment and in a few instances, where teaching is particularly strong, they have a passion for their subject and inspire pupils. But, where teaching is not as
Corpus Christi currently has 1,076 pupils aged between 11 and 16, with 15.1% eligible for free school meals (Wales average – 20.2%), 5.7% having additional learning needs (ALN) and just 0.5% speaking Welsh at home. In its last inspection, carried out in February 2015, it was rated as 'good'.
Many pupils with ALN make secure progress from their starting points and it recognised that the school provides a broad range of support for pupils' individual needs.
Also on offer is a wide range of extra-curricular activities including numerous sports and academic clubs.
Headteacher Patrick Brunnock and his senior team work well together, and "have high expectations for themselves, staff and pupils". The report recommended, however, that the school "refines self-evaluation so that it identifies precisely any aspects of teaching and learning that need improvement."
Following the report being published, Mr Brunnock commented:
"I'm delighted with the report's findings and Estyn's recognition of how the Catholic ethos permeates throughout Corpus Christi."
Sarah Merry, Cardiff Council's cabinet member for education, said:
"It’s clear that Patrick Brunnock and his team are having a real impact on the school. We look forward to continuing to work with Corpus Christi in the future as it strives for even better results in the future."
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