"In discussions and in lessons, pupils articulate their understanding of what it means to belong to a Salesian school," the report states. "RUAH, respect-understanding-affection-humour, means the ‘breath of God’. Pupils described it as the ethos of the school. Their understanding of RUAH is demonstrated by the spirit of friendship and mutual respect between all members of the community."
Inspectors were particularly impressed by the work being done in the specialist units at the school. "The College’s concern for all pupils is reflected in the highly effective work of the Devereux and Savio centres for pupils with a range of complex needs, particularly Autistic Spectrum Disorders. A visit to the centres during the inspection witnessed the care and intense support by specialist teachers for these pupils. A parent, reflecting the overwhelming support of parents, said it is a school with ‘patience and understanding’ that ‘deeply upholds the ethos that every child should know that they are loved’."
Inspectors commended pupil leadership as a strength: "Sixth form pupil leaders are outstanding role models for younger pupils and contribute effectively to creating an environment in which pupils know they are secure and cared for."
They praised the work of the College chaplaincy, which provides a rich variety of opportunities for students to develop the practice of their faith, stating that "the efficacy of chaplaincy provision is profound."
Parents told inspectors how much they appreciated the high level of pastoral care, which was identified as a significant strength, especially for new students joining during the school year. "Their development and success demonstrate the passion and commitment of staff to all pupils regardless of ability, faith or circumstances."
The involvement of SDBs was seen as tremendously positive: "The impact of the Salesian priests and brothers cannot be overstated. Testimony from staff and pupils emphasised an understanding of their own personal responsibility in building the Kingdom of God within the school community. They overwhelmingly respond by creating an authentic Salesian school through prayer and service to others."
Leadership and governance in the school was credited for the success of its Catholic life. "The professional expertise and leadership of the headteacher is a significant factor in strengthening spiritual development across the school. He is supported by all staff who demonstrate their own deep understanding of service in the way they conduct themselves. Staff appreciate that their well-being is prioritised with senior leaders and staff, including the chaplain, trained as mental health champions."
The quality of teaching and assessment in Religious Education was praised in the report, which said that the subject "is held in high regard by pupils," who "genuinely enjoy their lessons and appreciate the range of opportunities to learn about Christianity and other world religions."
Director of Education for the Diocese of Southwark, Dr Simon Hughes, wrote to congratulate the school on its "wonderful outcome", and thanked everyone for their hard work and dedication "in ensuring that Saint John Bosco College remains an incredibly effective institution, that is completely rooted in its Salesian values and ethos."
Headteacher Paul Dunne said, "I'm particularly pleased that the inspectors recognised the crucial role that the Salesian Community and Parish have played in making the school outstanding, and as Headteacher, I am very grateful for the excellent support that the Salesian Trustees provide for the school."
Many congratulations to Mr Dunne and everyone at SJBC, and thank you for all you do to provide an excellent model of Salesian education.