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  • St Aloysius' College
    45 Hill Street
    Garnethill
    Glasgow
    G3 6RJ
  • Head: Matthew Bartlett
  • T 0141 332 3190
  • F 01413 530426
  • E [email protected]
  • W www.staloysius.org
  • An independent school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 18.
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Glasgow City
  • Pupils: 591 (senior), 304 (junior); sixth formers: 250
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
  • Fees: £12,591 - £12,825 pa
  • Open days: November
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review

What says..

Scotland’s only Jesuit school, it was was designed to transform the lives of Irish Catholics immigrating to Scotland to escape the effects of the potato famine. Staff were particularly nice and welcoming, one teacher telling us a charming anecdote of his long association with the school and how his parents met there and later married. From primary 2, they are taught Spanish or Italian by native speakers...

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Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head master

Since October 2016, Matthew Bartlett, previously head of Dover Grammar School for Girls. Educated in the state sector, and trained as a chartered accountant before becoming a teacher. First generation of his family to go to university: and Cambridge at that. Taught largely in Manchester and north west. Head of history at Nottingham High and deputy headmaster at St Bede’s College, for eight years.

Wanted to get back into Catholic education and St Al’s is the only Jesuit School north of the border. He says: ‘I fell more in love with it with each visit; it’s better than I ever imagined.’

Mr Bartlett is very jolly and fills the room with his bubbly personality. He was warm and welcoming on our tour. This kindness appears to extend across the school, where he knew the name of everyone in the school, from the lollypop man to the tiniest of kindergarten pupils. A senior pupil said: ‘Mr Bartlett is chatty, open and cheerful, and always up for a chat. He’s very warm and knows parents so well. A personable person.’ A parent was also particularly impressed, saying: ‘He is a charismatic leader … He acts at all times with honesty and integrity, and recognises that the development of young people is not simply measured by their academic achievements.’

A self-confessed culture vulture, his interests include choral singing, reading, walking and travelling. Single, he confesses: ‘I’m here 24-7!’

Academic matters

Strong academic focus, with impressive results. In 2018, 43 per cent A grades at Advanced Higher level and 62 per cent A grades at Higher level. ‘We are trained to prioritise things, with exams from first year – how to study, how to do well.’ Staff were particularly nice and welcoming, one teacher telling us a charming anecdote of his long association with the school and how his parents met there and later married.

Fairly broad curriculum in senior school, from Latin and classical studies to product design, business, economics and media studies. One parent queried why there was no food technology on the curriculum. Mr B says: ‘Keen to introduce food technology, and currently reviewing what we offer.’

Max number per class 25 but numbers drop at exam level in the senior school. In AH classics in recently, there were two pupils and a teacher, and in AH art, only five pupils. ‘It feels like a one-to-one.’

All children from kindergarten upwards learn a foreign language. From primary 2, they are taught Spanish or Italian by native speakers. In the senior school there's Latin, classics French Spanish and Italian up to AH.

No gender divide, marginally more boys than girls. Some 20 per cent with additional needs. Teaching assistants in classroom and dedicated teachers to add support in class or on an individual or small group basis in the Additional Support Department, depending need. Additional classes in English (ACE) from S1 to S4 to support literacy for those who need it.

Large percentage of long-serving staff; ages range from 26–64.Specialist teachers in junior school from P1 in subjects including science, art, computing and languages. Kindergarten has art and music specialists. Refreshing to see 30 per cent male teachers in the junior school, 66 per cent female senior management.

Huge amount of contacts through school network for work experience. No surprise, as a Jesuit school, that volunteering is popular in supporting Glasgow’s vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Students from S3 up can volunteer in local primary schools, and many do so.

Games, options, the arts

Rugby and hockey are the principal sports, with athletics and cross-country also v popular. Scottish U16 rugby champions and runners up in the BP Hockey Cup recently. Scottish schools football champions in 2018. The swish £8m sports complex opened on campus in 2017 and provides badminton courts, sports hall, gym and dance studio. Other sports include basketball, golf, football and swimming. After-school sessions and excursions for outdoor education such as kayaking, climbing and water sports. Biggest provider of DofE in Scotland.

Getting up the hill to St Al’s is a sport in itself, and among the campus-style layout, as one parent pointed out, ‘playground space is limited.’ Break time, however, is staggered across the year groups. Playing fields are a short trip away at Millerston and hockey at Glasgow Green.

Array of clubs, from the lab rats science club to tech club, debating, the Euro club (exploring European culture) and religious groups, such as Pro-Life.

The Schola choral programme offers P4–S6 pupils the opportunity to receive free singing coaching in one of the five choirs. Schola Nova (S1–S3) is un-auditioned. Full time director of choral music and full-time professional organist. Magnificent Van der Heuvel organ installed in 2016. Broad range of co-curricular music groups from strings, to jazz, musical theatre and opera. Music to AH.

Art shares the historic Mount building with the music department. Fine art is displayed throughout the school and a piece is purchased every year to represent each year group. The head describes the school as a ‘living building’. Small numbers take art and graphic communication at higher exam levels – ‘incredibly talented’. One young man we spoke to, accepted into architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, couldn’t speak of the art department more highly.

Drama is in the hub facing the Mount building, with a stage and lighting rig. Annual musicals, with Sound of Music and Fiddler on the Roof as past performances. Available to AH, but for those not choosing the subject, extracurricular clubs popular across the school, including the senior drama company with auditions for S4–S6s.

As expected, very charity conscious, with waiting lists for the pilgrimage trips to Lourdes. Other trips include hockey (South Africa), classics (Rome), languages (Spanish and French exchanges), skiing (Italy).

Background and atmosphere

Scotland’s only Jesuit school, it was founded in 1859 and was designed to transform the lives of Irish Catholics immigrating to Scotland to escape the effects of the potato famine. Boys only until 1979. It was run and mainly staffed by the Jesuits until 2004, with the arrival of the first lay headmaster (‘He still comes for a cup of tea.’) Mr Bartlett is the third head who is not a priest.

The junior school joined the campus in 1999, and the contemporary Clavius building for science, maths and technology won the Best Building in Scotland award. Became an independent trust in 2011, though significant donations from the Jesuits allowed the build of the new sports complex and kindergarten in 2013/14.

A mish-mash of old and modern architecture, the school has the feel of a city centre university campus, though it caters for little tots at kindergarten up to 18 year olds. One parent wanted to see a renovations to the main school hall, to 'provide a proper stage and platform both for teaching and college presentation purposes.’

Appeals predominantly to Glasgow’s Catholic community looking for independent schooling, though other faiths are welcomed. Traditional ethos. ‘Pupils stand up if the teacher comes in the room’. But not overbearingly so. Strong faith-based values with much charity work for children’s charities, providing rest for carers and disabled children. ‘Young people engage because they want to be involved. There is a greater sense of social justice in this generation.’ House masses take place throughout the day as well as morning mass in the Soladity Chapel for pupils, parents and staff.

Most definitely a blazer school. ‘Everyone in Glasgow knows us. Everyone recognises the green blazers.’

Pastoral care, well-being and discipline

‘Catholic school so pastoral care at the centre of what we do.’ Senior depute is head of pastoral with a further assistant head for this area, and pupils have free access to counsellors. Parents and pupils typically contact the form tutor or head of year but can go to any member of staff they feel comfortable with, including Mr Bartlett – ‘I’m happy to be contacted directly.’ A recent Education Scotland inspection recognised the college’s pastoral care and safeguarding as sector-leading. 

House system reintroduced in 2017. Achieved Healthy Eating Plus Award in 2017, though S5s and S6s can go down Sauchiehall Street, a busy Glasgow thoroughfare, with plenty of unhealthy outlets. ‘The novelty usually doesn’t last long.’

iPads are standard and one parent showed us the Schoology portal for homework, where pupils can message a member of staff directly. Tracking assessments throughout the year. ‘If needed, a conversation is usually enough to move things forward.’

Discipline policy is based on Jesuit values such as respect. ‘Young people slip but we support them to get it right.’ Very few exclusions.

Pupils and parents

Pupils and parents we spoke to felt part of a St Al’s community. ‘Another family. Everyone knows each other from the janitor to Mr Bartlett.’ Most families are professionals of the Catholic faith, with a smaller number of Hindus and Muslims.

The city centre location makes it easy to get to from across Glasgow, and from further afield like Ayrshire and Edinburgh. Roughly a 15 minute walk from Glasgow central station. There is a drop-off area for younger children, though in peak traffic times, though we can imagine this may have its frustrations. In the evenings, however, the playgrounds are cleared for parking. Buses run from Glasgow’s southside, but the majority use public transport.

Email reports three times a year. Parents' evening once a year. Teaches internet safety to keep pupils, parents and staff safe in a digital age. The Parents' Consultative Council (PCC) meets once a term to discuss parents’ angles on topics such as assessments, technology and teaching.

Entrance

Assessments in January and a meeting to get to know pupil and parents, rather than an interview. ‘Need to be certain they can cope with the curriculum. Need to be honest if we can’t provide curriculum they need.’ Applicants from P4–S6 write ‘My green blazer story’, describing their aspirations and dreams, and what they hope to achieve in the green blazer. No assessments for S3–S6.

Waiting list for lower year groups. P7 popular joining point and classrooms are in the senior school. All juniors move to senior school. Parents must show their desire for their child to attend a Jesuit school.

Exit

Majority go to Scottish universities: Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews popular. Most leave from S6, a trickle heading to Oxbridge or Imperial (one to Cambridge to study maths in 2018). Sciences, business, engineering and law currently popular. A few to high level apprenticeships.

Money matters

The original Jesuit concept was that their role was to educate free of charge and the school has a significant funding for bursaries available (the head told us £600,000). Parents are asked whether they need bursarial help at the time of application: almost automatic for families on income support, plus family discounts. Tends to be awarded to very high performing students. Will also try and help out if family hits financial crisis – parents must be upfront about the extent of their problems. Lunch is an extra.

Our view

A Catholic school with a strong academic tradition and value-driven focus still closely attached to its Jesuit roots. St Aloysius is not afraid to combine modern subjects and technology with the best of old fashioned Catholic values. Dedicated to giving a rigorous academic, personal and spiritual grounding to its pupils.

Special Education Needs

Eight members of staff are involved in the specific delivery of learning support. They are directed by two specialist staff, one in the senior school and one in the junior school. Learning support is based primarily in the classroom, the department striving first and foremost to work with the classroom teachers in an advisory capacity in order to provide maximum support to pupils with difficulties. As far as possible the emphasis is on enabling all pupils to follow the mainstream curriculum of the school. Other strategies are adopted as required.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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