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Ofsted (February 2014)

27 February 2014

Dear Parents

As you will know we had a visit from Ofsted just before half term which involved 5 inspectors spending two days analysing data, watching lessons, interviewing staff and students and all of the other processes that take place during an inspection, in order that they could come to a judgement about the school overall.

I am very pleased to say that they were professional, analytical, open to persuasion and very fair. They told us exactly what we knew, namely that the school requires improvement in certain areas, because there is a lack of consistency, not least in the marking and assessment of students’ work.

They were full of praise for the many excellent features of the school that go to make up the “Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural” (SMSC) judgement. The trips and visits, the extra-curricular activities, the wealth of opportunities on offer through the curriculum and out of hours. They praised the collapsed days on Determination, Aspiration and Healthy Living, that last of which was taking place on day 2 of their inspection. They praised the behaviour and politeness of the students and the mature way in which they interact with adults and each other. They seemed happy with punctuality, which surprised me and the lack of litter, which I wish were always the case!

In many areas of the academic curriculum they saw outstanding teaching and learning coupled with outstanding care, support and guidance. They were happy with the leadership and management and the inspectors recognised that many of the things needed to bring about improvements are already in place.

That said, the lack of consistency, particularly in marking and assessment, and the fact that standards of progress and attainment are not equally good in all areas, mean that overall that we require improvement. For the Core subjects of English, Maths and Science, although we have an outstanding English department, we do need to see improvements in Maths and Science.

The senior team and the staff will work tirelessly over the next months to address these issues, so that we can be confident when they return, we will be able to present a more consistent picture.

I would expect a return visit within a two year period, most probably in the Autumn Term of 2015.

The full report is now available on our website and will posted on the Ofsted site from 6th March.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Goulding