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.
We are very proud that our students have consistently achieved excellent academic results which put us in the top 1 to 4% of all schools nationally. For example, in 2019 the progress gained placed us as the 44th mixed school in the country out of 5656 schools. Students gained a progress score of +0.90, with disadvantaged students scoring +0.93. 62% of pupils gained a Grade 5+ in both English and Maths and 90% a Grade 4+ in both subjects. 94% of pupils gained five or more GCSEs at grade 4+. For pupils with high Key stage 2 results 57% of all grades were a Grade 7-9 which rivals many selective Grammar schools.
In recent years, a number of pupils have 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 each year group 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.
St Thomas More Comprehensive School is in partnership with two local primary schools. St Thomas More Primary School, Eltham and Holy Family Primary School, Kidbrooke. The leadership of these two schools is from the secondary school.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 – above 95% – progress to further study. Some of these go to Christ the King College, the excellent Catholic sixth form college with campuses in Sidcup, Lewisham and Brockley. Most go to grammar school sixth forms, other colleges, independent or school sixth forms. A number of pupils have secured lucrative scholarships at Colfe’s School and Eltham College. 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, two 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.