A CATHOLIC secondary school's quality of education requires improvement, according to Ofsted.

Teachers at St Joseph's Catholic School, on Church Road in Laverstock, were found to not always check what pupils know.

As a result of this, some of the school's 603 pupils "have gaps in their learning or misconceptions" which is particularly evident for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.

This was discovered during an Ofsted inspection on February 6 and 7 this year

It was the first visit since the school's last full inspection on February 23, 2018, when it was rated 'good'.

St Joseph's School's overall effectiveness has fallen to 'requires improvement', despite all inspected areas other than education quality remaining 'good'.

During the inspection, headteacher Rachel Ridley was absent and John McParland had been acting as interim since November 2023.

Lead inspector Sarah Favager-Dalton, alongside Matthew Collins and Tom Hill from Ofsted, found that some of St Joseph's teaching activities do not focus closely on the learning that the curriculum intends.

"This means that the activities pupils complete do not always enable them to gain the knowledge and skills that they need for future learning," they said.

Salisbury Journal: St Joseph's Catholic School has been given a new Ofsted rating.St Joseph's Catholic School has been given a new Ofsted rating. (Image: Google Maps)

The inspectors said St Joseph's should ensure that the curriculum enables pupils to acquire sufficient knowledge over time.

They also mentioned that the curriculum is "clear about what pupils need to learn, and when".

"There has been an increase in the proportion of pupils who continue to follow a strongly academic curriculum in key stage 4. Leaders have made changes to ensure that the key stage 3 curriculum stays broad for longer," the inspectors said.

Pupils feel welcome and included at St Joseph's as kindness, tolerance and respect permeate all aspects of school life, according to the inspectors.

Despite advertising itself as a Catholic school, pupils at St Joseph's "know that they are valued as individuals, whatever their faith or background".

They are also respectful and behave well and the school's atmosphere is "calm and harmonious during social times, as well as in lesson".

The ‘St Joseph’s Way’ sets out the school’s approach to teaching the curriculum. However, the activities and work given to pupils do not always help them to learn effectively.

Some pupils struggle to remember what they have learned before. Consequently, they are not able to build their knowledge and deepen their understanding.

The inspectors added: "After a period of turbulence, the school is now beginning to bring about rapid improvement to the quality of the education that pupils receive."

Interim headteacher John McParland said: “Inspections are a ‘point in time judgement’ about the quality of education’. The inspectors acknowledged that in recent months there has been rapid improvement which needs now to be fully embedded.

"They also acknowledged that the school’s leadership and management have the capability to continue this rapid improvement in raising standards in the quality of education”.

“The inspectors were glowing in their comments about our pupils, referencing kindness, tolerance, and respect that our pupils demonstrated for their teachers and for each other. They complimented our pupils on being courteous, cooperative, and friendly and commented that the atmosphere around the school is calm and harmonious during social times as well as in lessons. 

"They also acknowledged the excellent work of the pastoral team and our pupils’ outstanding attendance which is above the national average and very good nationally in the present climate.

"That said, the senior Leadership Team and Governors are aware of the areas that need improving and we are well underway in addressing these to ensure the pupils receive the highest quality education."

Mr McParland emphasised that St Joseph’s will continue to move forward with momentum and determination to embed our rapid improvement to ensure our pupils receive a quality education and enjoy their learning at the school.