Bishop Walsh Catholic School

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Bishop Walsh Catholic School
Motto Caring to Learn and Learning to Care
Established 1966
Type Academy
Religion Roman Catholic
Headteacher Mr J.B. Farrell
Chair of the Governors Mr Peter McCann
Location Wylde Green Road
Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham
West Midlands
B76 1QT
England Coordinates: 52°32′50″N 1°48′41″W / 52.5472°N 1.8114°W / 52.5472; -1.8114
DfE number 330/4661
DfE URN 140524 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 70 approx.
Students 993
Gender Co-educational
Ages 11–18
Houses St. Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Clare, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. Ignatius
Colours Blue, Red & White

Bishop Walsh Catholic School is a coeducational secondary school and sixth form with academy status, located in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham in the West Midlands of England.


The school opened in 1966 and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006 with a mass in the school building which was conducted by Vincent Gerard Nichols (Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Birmingham).

The school is named after Bishop Thomas Walsh and currently teaches 765 pupils aged 11–16 and a further 240 pupils in the VI form. The current headteacher is John B. Farrell, who was Deputy Head at the school, 2000–2008 and was a teacher at the school from 1988-1992. The school is managed by the senior management team and the board of governors. Since the end of September 2012, Peter McCann, an alumnus and parent, has been Chair of Governors.

Specialist School and academy status[edit]

In 2006 the school applied to renew its bid as a performing arts college which was successful. It also achieved specialist status as a Mathematics and Computing College. Bishop Walsh now belongs to three of the Specialist Schools Trust's award clubs. The school is enrolled in the club for highest performing results, the highest valued scores from SATs (see National Curriculum assessment) to GCSE and the third club is for the most improved schools over the past four years. Only 34 schools in the UK, excluding Walsh belong to all three clubs, placing the school in the top 1.2% of specialist schools in the UK.

On 1 January 2014 Bishop Walsh Catholic School converted to academy status.

Position within the community[edit]

As the school is the only establishment for secondary Catholic education in Sutton Coldfield, the school is actively involved in many projects and activities. The school takes part in many sporting events which include; Sutton School's athletics, swimming, hockey, football and the most recent addition, ultimate Frisbee. The school supports local performing arts groups, which include the biggest 'Razzmatazz'. Another group that meets at the school is 'The Sutton Coldfield Community Choir', run by music teacher Kryz Weber,

The school is involved with many projects with the Catholic Partnership, which includes the Year 10 young leaders project, sporting competitions and other religious orientated projects and events. The school's local cluster group is The Sutton Central Group. The school has with the cluster arranged free dental care for young people in Sutton due to parents refusing to accept locally provided NHS care and an enterprising project, with Year 10 pupils, recycling bikes in the local community.

Grant Huddleston is an active Duke of Edinburgh Award coordinator - Year 10 pupils and above are able to achieve the Bronze and Silver award from the expeditions. On 13 December 2011, Sarah Cotter won a Harry Potter competition through Sainsbury's. Rupert Grint and Oliver Phelps visited the school. In July 2013, pupils worked throughout the week following the theme 'In the community'. Groups kept to performing arts departments which eventually ended up with Year 9 performing on The Alex Theatre stage in central Birmingham where they were watched by year 7 & 8 and the parents of some pupils and all staff. Lead by Head of performing arts Alex Darby.

Senior Management Team[edit]

From Academic Year 2014/2015:

  • Headteacher: Mr. John.B. Farrell
  • Deputy Headteacher - i/c Engagement & Learning: Miss. Belinda Dunphy
  • Deputy Headteacher - i/c Learning & Teaching: Mr. Henryk Koryl
  • Assistant Headteacher i/c Post-16 :Mrs Katherine Marston-Smith
  • Assistant Headteacher i/c Training & Development: Mr. Peter Howes
  • Assistant Headteacher i/c Intervention for Learning: Mr. Andrew Hamill
  • Assistant Headteacher i/c Inclusion: Mrs. Jemma Killworth
  • Finance & Admin Manager: Mrs. Dawn Knott

Catholic partnership[edit]

Bishop Walsh Catholic School is a Member of the Catholic Partnership, whose core purpose is to promote the Common Good, as outlined by the Bishops of England and Wales, in Birmingham's Catholic Secondary schools.

Admission criteria[edit]

11-16 education[edit]

Bishop Walsh Catholic School is a Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School serving, in the first instance, the local Roman Catholic Community. Pupils are normally admitted to the school between the ages of 11 and 16 years, the operative date being September 1 of the current school year. All pupils are expected to take part in Religious Education lessons. All the criteria apply for years 7 - 11 in the school.

To support their application, parents/ guardians will be required to provide evidence that their children are baptised Catholics.

The Governors have adopted Birmingham LEA's definition of brothers and sisters and residency. The Governors have the right to check with Parish Priests that the child's residency lies within the four Sutton Coldfield parish boundaries.

These priorities having been applied, in the event of over-subscription, applications will be admitted in an order of priority within the appropriate category, based upon the proximity of their domicile to the front door of Holy Trinity R.C. Church, measured in a straight line.

In cases of refusal of admission by the Governors, parents have the right of appeal against that decision and, in such a case, an Appeals body will be constituted in accordance with the arrangements laid down by the 1998 Education Act.

Feeder schools[edit]

The following schools are feeder schools to Bishop Walsh.

  • St. Joseph's, Sutton Coldfield
  • Holy Cross, Walmley
  • St. Nicholas, Boldmere

Sixth Form entry[edit]

There is a separate Admissions Criteria for the Sixth Form.

Sixth Form entry from 2008

To help raise standards in the Sixth Form and make sure all candidates can cope with A Levels, the governors have changed the entry requirements to study A Level and BTEC courses, for A Levels a point score of 230 is required, which is equivalent to 5 Bs at GCSE, with 5 passes at grade C in separate subjects. Pupils can also be admitted to one year intermediate courses (BTEC) in which they will 4 to 5 GCSEs at grades A* to C, candidates will need a GCSE point score of 112, the equivalent to 4 grade E's at GCSE.

External applicants are required to complete a Governors’ Application form for a Sixth form place and sign to accept the conditions of entry. All candidates will be interviewed and references will be called for from schools currently attended by applicants. External applicants are only accepted if there are available places within. In addition, if more applications are received than there are places available the Governors will allocate places in the following order:

  • Baptised Catholic students with brothers or sisters already in the school
  • Baptised Catholic students already attending Catholic Secondary schools
  • Baptised Catholic students attending non-Catholic Secondary schools
  • Non-Catholic students with brothers or sisters already in the school
  • Non-Catholic students attending other Catholic schools
  • Non-Catholic students

Internal applicants from Year 11 receive a priority if they meet the entry requirements for post-16 courses and who have submitted a Governors' application form. All internal candidates are subject to an interview with the headteacher to discuss future plans and assess suitability for AS/A2 studies.

Notable former pupils[edit]

External links[edit]