St Antony’s Catholic College showing big improvements

Fiona Wright, associate headteacher at St Antony's
Fiona Wright, associate headteacher at St Antony's

St Antony’s Catholic College is one of Greater Manchester’s most rapidly improving secondary schools with GCSE results rising nearly 100% in just three years.

The increase from students achieving just 28% A* to C including English and maths in 2013 to this year’s 52% saw the school on Bradfield Road, Urmston, come after the new leadership team was established and in the last 18 months it has continued to forge ahead.

In a year which saw the biggest nationwide decline in GCSE performance with a 2.8% fall in the benchmark five A*s to C threshold, St Antony’s improved from 38% to 52%.

The record results have not just been achieved by the high flyers but across the board with students who have special needs or English as a foreign language also improving dramatically, meaning St Antony’s has closed the gap between such disadvantaged students and their more advantaged peers to significantly below the national average.

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The transformation has been delivered by a new senior management team drafted in from the high achieving Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham where expectations have always been high.

Fiona Wright, deputy headteacher at Loreto but now driving forward St Antony’s as associate headteacher, said: “We faced some serious problems.

“There had been a very poor Ofsted report and it didn’t seem that the necessary systems to monitor pupils’ performance and then set achievable targets for each individual were in place.

“We set about rigorously monitoring the performance of every child so we were then able to intervene early, address any specific issues and enable them to progress,

“At the heart of the problems was poor literacy so we initiated a range of root and branch reforms and new initiatives to improve reading, such as reading clubs and rewards and incentives for reading; making the subject fun, starting from Year Seven upwards to change the culture, so that learning and a love of learning became cool.

St Antony's pupils Tyler Darby and Sally Bellis
St Antony’s pupils Tyler Darby and Sally Bellis

“It’s is incredibly important that children achieve good results. Gaining five A*s to C including maths and English opens up so many more doors and gives our young men and women more and more choices.

“We continually emphasise our values of Aspire, Believe and Achieve because we want an environment that continually stretches and challenges each student.”

Jane Beever, executive headteacher at St Antony’s, said: “We wanted to create a can-do, will-do culture where aspirations become reality and not merely pipe dreams and I am delighted to report that students, staff and parents have been working as a team to deliver this stunning success.”