About St Robert of Newminster Catholic School and Sixth Form College
St Robert of Newminster is a large and expanding 11-18 Voluntary Aided Catholic community secondary school with a roll of over 1600, which includes a large sixth form of over 500 students. The school is located in Washington, Sunderland and is part of the Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. Pupils come from a wide variety of social backgrounds although the number of free school meals is below the national average. St Robert’s has an excellent reputation as a provider of high quality Catholic education and is over subscribed every year. We have a large and highly skilled staff body. There are currently 128 teachers (114 FTE) and 94 members of support staff. St Robert of Newminster serves the parishes of: Our Lady’s, Washington, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Penshaw, St. Bede’s, Washington, St John Boste, Washington, St. Mary’s, Easington Lane and St. Michael’s, Houghton-le-Spring.
A specialist Humanities College since 2005, St Robert’s has a Sports Mark award, Healthy School, Thinking School and Investors in People status and is an SSAT Consultant School. St. Robert’s is proud to be an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. For the last two years our Sixth Form students have had the opportunity to follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The school also runs a wide range of extra-curricular activities including extra study provision, sporting activities, musical, dramatic and cultural pursuits and foreign trips. We also provide experiences of prayer, liturgy, celebration and retreats for all our students. This aspect of school life is much appreciated by the students and develops a greater understanding of themselves and the world around them, helping all of them to achieve their very best so that they confidently progress to the next stage of their lives.
In 2011 the percentage of students achieving 5 GCSE’s with grades A* to C including English and Maths was 81%. At A level, the A*-C grade pass rate was 75.9% and the average point score 211. The school received an overall rating of grade 2 during its last Ofsted inspection in 2007 – “St Robert’s is a good school as stated in its own accurate self-evaluation. It has improved markedly in the last two years resulting in rising standards and good achievement in the main school”. Parents’ comments about the school included; ‘the school has excellent pastoral care and is very receptive to parental questions and concerns’, ‘every child is valued at this school and individual needs are met’ and ‘extra support has been outstanding, this is all due to caring staff and strong leadership’. Our Section 48 inspection in September 2007 graded the school as outstanding.
Pastoral care is a strength and begins with our excellent relationships with the feeder Primary Schools in the parish. As well as sharing resources, we run a highly successful transition week for primary children. We are a truly inclusive school that helps pupils of all abilities and backgrounds become confident, caring young men and women. The school operates a Year system with form tutors led by Heads of Year and Lead Progress Tutors. St Robert’s benefits from exceptional facilities following the completion of an £11.5m new building and refurbishment project. Spacious classrooms, state of the art technology and flexible learning spaces all combine to offer a truly 21st Century learning environment for our students and the wider community.
At St Robert’s we have a large and successful sixth form which attracts students from a wide catchment area, including local Private Schools, as well as providing a smooth transition to further education for St Robert’s pupils. We offer a caring and supportive environment with positive results at A-Level (99.4% A-E pass rate and 75.9% A*-C) and a point score per student of 211. There is a broad curriculum with over 30 AS, A2 and Vocational based courses on offer. Every student has access to: a personal tutor; enrichment and sporting activities; foreign Travel opportunities; work experience opportunities. We employ the Aim Higher initiative and benefit from excellent facilities which include a new purpose built sixth form and vocational building with a dedicated E-Learning Resource Centre. We are proud that St Robert’s has no NEETs and over 96% of our students enter Higher Education. Currently good, we know we can do even better, and will be looking to our new headteacher to bring fresh ideas and new direction to the Sixth Form at St Robert’s as we aim to become outstanding.
Life in the Sixth Form
St. Robert of Newminster Sixth Form College offers opportunities to students who have ambition, motivation and a desire to ‘let your light shine’. We expect Sixth Formers to be leaders in the school community and to enjoy greater privileges, but this also implies a greater measure of responsibility with its attendant emphasis on appearance, punctuality, diligent attitude to work, and full participation in school activities. Religious Education is a compulsory element of the Sixth Form curriculum at St Robert’s. The curriculum allocation of time is 10%, at the end of which the students have the opportunity to gain an Advanced Subsidiary qualification. Students are introduced to philosophical thought and are able to develop critical and analytical approaches to study.
St. Robert’s is proud to be an IB world school. For the last two years our Sixth Form students have had the option to follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. As part of the IB students have the opportunity for foreign travel. The IB Diploma is a rigorous and highly acclaimed academic qualification offering students an alternative pathway to university.