Students and Parents
Message from the Headteacher - Mr John Casey BA (Hons), PGCE, MA
Welcome to our Catholic school of some 860 children, that has proudly served the Catholic community in Reading since 1958. We were inspected by OFSTED in November 2012 and our overall grade was "Good", a considerable achievement under the new OFSTED Framework and achieved a "Good with outstanding features " grade in the Portsmouth Diocesan inspection of June 2013. In November 2013 we were number 472 on the Sunday Times list of top 500 state schools, putting the school in the top 10% of schools in England. We are Reading's highest performing state school that has made rapid and sustained academic progress in the last three years and our results of 2013 show that our levels of achievement are much much higher than the national average - all of this now evident within our supportive Catholic community and making a real difference to the lives of the children in our school. We are a strongly Catholic school and we aim to help children know and understand the Faith in readiness for their adult lives supported by an emphasis on acquiring the basic skills in English and Mathematics that are essential for life.
One of BHF’s greatest assets is its size. We know our children and we know them well. Parents and visitors often comment on the friendly ethos in the school and all students and staff quickly get to know each other on a personal level, creating a very real sense of family and community in which each individual is accepted as unique in the eyes of God and known and valued. BHF is firmly rooted in its gospel values and these are passed onto the children in readiness for their lives ahead.
BHF grew from within the Catholic community. Fundraising to open a Catholic secondary school in Reading started in the late 1940’s and it took over ten years for the dream to become a reality. Blessed Hugh Faringdon was founded in the 1950’s by, and for, the Catholic Community in Reading and the school has served this community loyally over the last 50 years.
£200,000 was eventually raised by the Catholic Community to purchase the land and build the school. The efforts were led by Archbishop John Henry King who cajoled the parishes of Reading to raise money through subscriptions, garden fetes, bazaars and bank loans. The school opened its doors in 1958 to 60 pupils and the first Governing Body consisted of 9 people including Canon Murphy, and Fathers Kirk, Collins, O’Malley and Donnelly. The first of the schools Headteacher was appointed, Mr MP Healy, and he stayed for 18 years and set the school on its way. The school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998 and has expanded with a thriving 6th form of 140 students.
Blessed Hugh Faringdon himself has connections to the Reading area. He was Abbott of the Reading Benedictine Abbey in 1520. He frequently entertained Henry VIII at the Abbey but fell out with the King when he supported the church. He was martyred in 1539 opposite the present day site of St James Church.
Today, in the 21st Century, we believe that the partnership between the pupil, parents, the parish and the school is central to our success. Blessed Hugh Faringdon values its partnership links and strong achievement to community cohesion: these are reinforced and developed through:
- Parents consultation evenings
- Academic tutoring days
- Academic monitoring with results shared with pupils and parents
- Public events e.g. Art exhibitions, carol service, sports days etc.
- Group call texting
- Our eportal access to student information, including grades
- Year 9 options evening
- 6th Form options evening
- UCAS preparation for 6th formers
- School newsletter
- Opportunities for shared worship
- School website
Our Diocesan Sec 48 Report of 2009 stated
“Parents are strongly supportive of the values and Catholic ethos of the school, citing these reasons for their choice. The school provides good moral guidance and this view was substantiated in students comments”.
“The headteachers effective leadership is supported strongly by staff and Governors. The impressive trend in students results indicates that the school knows what to do to improve teaching and accelerate achievement for all students".