‘Outstanding’ St Bonaventure’s bucks boys’ education trend

The achievement of boys in school is a hot topic of discussion, with education commentators questioning why boys’ progress is slipping nationally. St Bonaventure’s in Forest Gate, however, is bucking that trend, achieving a second ‘Outstanding’ rating from Ofsted, which said its “pupils thrive in every way”.

It has been well over a decade since St Bonaventure’s (which admits girls in the Sixth Form) was inspected by Ofsted, in part due to COVID-19 and an Outstanding Ofsted rating in 2009. Though time has passed since that last Ofsted inspection, the excellent standard of education at the school clearly has not changed. Visited by Ofsted at the close of 2022, St Bonaventure’s is now proudly in receipt of another ‘Outstanding – in all areas’ report.  This achievement is even more impressive given Ofsted’s recent toughening up of criteria: only 17% of schools have maintained this first rate accolade in recent times.

Whilst academic outcomes have remained superb at the historic school for many years, the glowing report emphasises the development of the individual beyond their grades, noting that “all students are involved in charitable work to support local food banks”. It is evident from this that St Bonaventure’s creates not only academic success, but well-rounded citizens who are dedicated to the betterment of themselves and their community.

Headteacher, Christopher McCormack (below with Sixth Form Head Boy Phillip & Head Girl Alishpa and Deputy Headteacher Áine Burke), said: “We are incredibly proud to have maintained our Outstanding rating. Our welcoming community is committed to maintaining an environment of love and respect for all. We thank our staff for their continued dedication to the care, growth and development of our students; we thank our parents, partners and governors, without whom we would be unable to deliver such a high quality offer; and above all we are thankful to our students for their aspirational attitudes, and the love they show one another and our wider community.”

Deputy Headteacher, Andy Lewis added: “St Bonaventure’s is a school intent on developing students spiritually, intellectually, physically, creatively, morally and socially, as we know that school is not just a place for educational development but a foundational preparation for their next steps after secondary school.”

The education watchdog cites the expertise of teachers as a key reason for the school’s success, saying that “teachers are experts in their subjects’.  Áine Burke, Deputy Head Teaching & Learning, said she is immensely proud of the acknowledgement that “the quality of education at St Bonaventure’s is excellent” and the recognition that  “teachers are committed to professional development as a means to improve and develop their skills and knowledge”. She said: “Our teachers strive to give the best to our students every day and go the extra mile to do that.”

Ofsted was also keen to praise student leadership at the school, saying: “Pupils make an active contribution to the school. Many pupils in all years take on responsibility in the school, including for student leadership and fundraising. The student council is proud to have improved things for others. For example, on the school council’s suggestion, leaders have introduced an ‘Assisi tie’ to recognise pupils who embody the ‘Bonaventurian Way’ by demonstrating the school’s values.”

Head Boy, Gabriel, confirmed this: “The opportunities I have been given have helped me to become more confident as a student and as a person. My team has been able to make a real impact in the school, and the work we’ve done with TFL (Transport for London) and TELCO (The East London Citizens Organisation) has improved safety for teenagers across the borough.”

A summary of this Ofsted report can be viewed here on YouTube, or please click here to read the full report. To find out more about St Bonaventure’s visit stbons.org