Bury St Edmunds: Headteacher Hugh O’Neill hopes report on St Benedict’s A-Level results ‘sets record straight’


A Catholic school which has been at the centre of an Ofsted fiasco has been boosted by national recognition for its sixth form.

St Benedict’s in Bury St Edmunds is awaiting the results of another inspection by the regulator after it withdrew a report which found the school “requires improvement”.

The school has been awarded a Grade 1 by national organisation ALPS (A Level Performance System) for this year’s A-Level results, which places it in the top 1% nationally.

Headteacher Hugh O’Neill said he hoped the independent ALPS report “sets the record straight”.

He said: “This has been the most extraordinary couple of months in the school’s long history. We have gone from the joy of seeing our students gaining wonderful GCSE and A-Level results to the shock of the Ofsted no-notice inspection and its now-withdrawn report.

“It must be very difficult for parents and the wider public to know what to make of it all.”

Mr O’Neill said the ALPS Grade 1 was a “huge achievement” for a small comprehensive school.

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Along with its regular spot at the top of Suffolk and national league tables for A-Level, it confirms that St Benedict’s sixth formers regularly gain outstanding results, Mr O’Neill said.

“It appeared, looking at the ALPS report, that Grade 1 meant we were in the top 1% of all schools nationally for A-Level. But it’s actually better than that. When our ALPS advisor visited last Tuesday, he explained that Grade 1 is only awarded to a school that equals or exceeds the results of the top performing school of the previous year – and for that reason, there are sometimes no Grade 1 schools at all!”

The now-withdrawn Ofsted report found sixth form provision at the school to be “good”.

The sixth form is led by Jack Gingel, whom Mr O’Neill said “more than any other individual” had steered it to its “pre-eminent position”.

ALPS provides in-depth analysis about A-Level results to schools.