St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School was founded in 1964. It is a mixed 11-16 comprehensive school with a roll of over 600 pupils. It is located in the south east of London in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, close to the border with Kent.
The school started as 3½ form entry and has always had an excellent reputation in the area. The school has a very stable senior leadership and has had five Headteachers since it opened. The first headmaster, Mr Redmond, set the tone and values for the school which are evident, real and tangible even today, as many visitors comment.
Our excellent record of academic success puts us consistently in the top 10% of schools nationally. Students gained 93% 5 or more A* – C passes at GCSE in 2015 and 82% 5 A*-C (including English and Maths). We are very proud that over the last few years over 42% of all GCSE grades are at A or A* which rivals many selective grammar schools.
In 2015 and 2014, a number of pupils also gained passes at the Free Standing Mathematics Qualification in Additional Mathematics as a foundation for A-level. Three Sciences are offered at GCSE. The school is proud of the fact that it takes pupils of all abilities and achieves equally highly with the less able as well as with academic high fliers. All the indications are that we give significant “added value” (top 10% CVA).
St Thomas More has the reputation of being a school with the highest standards of discipline. A premium is put on courtesy, smart appearance and good order. Over the last few years discipline is not repressive and is based on mutual respect between teacher and pupil. Pupils have real motivation to work hard and to succeed. A phrase which is often used by visitors, supply teachers and even inspectors is “What a lovely school!”
St Thomas More has 124 pupils in Years, 7 8 and 9 and 120 pupils in Years 10 and 11, and each is divided into four forms. The school is consistently hugely oversubscribed and there have been several attempts in recent years to increase its roll. Because of demand the intake is effectively concentrated into a small area within a 2-mile radius of the school. There is tremendous support for the school within the local community.
Over the last six years the school’s building programme has led to the expansion of facilities in many subject areas; this includes the addition of £700,000 outdoor sports facilities. The school is a specialist college in Mathematics and Computing and completed a building programme which has increased ICT facilities and given three extra classrooms. There are interactive whiteboards in every classroom with seven ICT equipped rooms. Our web-site supports the virtual learning environment (VLE) within the school.
St Thomas More is fortunate to be served by very good feeder primary schools. Because of our very small catchment area, we have in effect only five main feeder schools and 65% of our pupils come from just three of these. The school works very hard with all pupils and the Gifted and Talented pupils achieve excellent results. The school is in Family 5 of the London Families of Schools.
All pupils admitted to the school come from fully practising Catholic families who attend Mass every Sunday. There is a very strong Catholic ethos built around the mission statement “To encourage each individual to grow and develop through love and the teachings of Christ”. This ethos has always been fully supported by non-Catholic as well as Catholic staff and has been greatly enriched by the contribution of all. We are also extremely fortunate to have tremendous support from the parish priests of our main feeder parishes. Lynchpins of the Catholic dimension of the school are our Chaplain and Counsellor.
At the end of Year 11 the great majority of pupils – about 95% – progress to further study. Some of these go to Christ the King College, excellent Catholic sixth form colleges in Sidcup or Lewisham. Most go to grammar school sixth forms, other colleges, independent or school sixth forms. Many pupils have progressed to Oxford or Cambridge and large numbers go on to a range of universities.
Staffing in St Thomas More School is excellent. Staff are supported through career development and progression is strongly encouraged. Staff work together as a team and give tremendous support to each other. The management style is collegial and collaborative and – it is hoped – supportive of staff.
There is an excellent network of support staff including Executive Headteacher’s PA. Staff Services deal with mainly departmental issues and trips and Student Services deal with attendance and front line student issues.
The Senior Leadership Team consists of the Executive Principal, three Vice Principals and an Assistant Principal. All have clearly defined roles and line management responsibilities – across pastoral and curriculum areas.
The major challenge for the school is to maintain a supportive ethos which challenges students and develops their potential.