STUDENTS and teachers have been hailed outstanding after coming under the scrutiny of diocesan inspectors.

St John’s School and Sixth Form College, in Bishop Auckland, has been given grade 1s across the board in an outstanding report by inspectors from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

The school was last inspected in 2015 when it was judged to be outstanding, the academy produced top results in the last GCSE and A level exams in Religious Education and the latest report further strengthens its reputation as one of the best Catholic schools in the region.

Inspectors reviewed all aspects of life in the school, from the warm, welcoming atmosphere of its reception to the high standards and expectations in lessons.

The charitable work of students and staff was recognised as one of the school’s many strengths, forging positive working relationships with primaries, parishes and the wider community.

The inspectors assessed the extent to which students contributed to school life, how well leaders performed and the academy’s overall effectiveness.

All categories were graded 1 leading to an overall judgement of outstanding.

The inspection team highlighted the strengths of St John’s as having a strong catholic ethos and a warm, genuine welcome experience.

The report stated: “St John’s is an all-embracing community. Support for each other is tangible. Staff are superb role models for students. The school promotes the Bishop’s vision for education through policy, practice and initiatives.

“The headteacher takes a strong lead in modelling the school’s vision. The school’s mission statement is summed up in its sub-heading, ‘A Learning Community Guided by Gospel Values’. The mission in St John’s is strong, clear and is embraced by the whole school community. Staff from across the school speak about inclusivity, care for the vulnerable and the desire to create a safe learning environment for pupils in their care. This level of care epitomises the true Catholic Life of the school.

“The quality of teaching across a wide range of subjects and year groups is effective in enabling pupils to make strong progress. For the majority of the time, teachers set work which is pitched at the right level for pupils at different starting points. As a result, pupils are typically challenged and stretched in their learning. This is especially evident in English, mathematics and science.”

Headteacher Lisa Byron added: “We are thrilled and delighted that the inspectors have recognised how special our learning community is. It is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our students, the expertise and dedication of our staff and the continuous support of our parents and carers that have helped us to create a learning environment in which everyone can flourish. Praise and recognition are always welcome and inspire us all in our pursuit of providing the best education we can for all of our students.”