As you will be aware our school was inspected by Ofsted last month. As is normal for all inspections we were contacted the day before the inspectors arrived and welcomed them into our school for two days.
Due to the timescales involved it is always a challenge for parents and carers to complete the online survey ‘Parent view’ that the inspectors ask to be completed so thank you to you all that managed to do this and give your views to them on our school.
Whilst the school is not judged to be where we want it to be the inspectors agreed with both our and the Trust’s view of our school that it requires further improvement. This judgement is based on our own view that the quality of what we do has been too inconsistent over time and since the school’s last inspection in 2012.
In recent years the educational climate has changed significantly, notably with the abolition of coursework and the introduction of more exacting exam-based qualifications. This has been challenging for all schools particularly when coupled with the challenges schools across Worcestershire face with lower levels of funding when compared with those nationally.
The inspectors, quite rightly, identified many strengths of the work we have already done, supported by the Trust, and highlighted positive aspects that have started to make what we do consistently better.
Some of these aspects include:
Senior leaders have created an inclusive school with a strong ethos where pupils feel cared for.
Safeguarding arrangements are robust and pupils feel safe.
Pupils and staff are overwhelmingly positive about the pastoral care the school provides: it is a strength.
Pupils state that teachers and support staff care about them and this has a positive impact on their well-being and self-worth.
The leadership of teaching is strong.
Pupils benefit from teachers’ strong subject knowledge and expertise. The newly introduced teaching and learning policy has had a positive impact on the quality of teaching which is now improving.
The inspectors commented on the improvements to our sixth form provision with results now above average for all Worcestershire schools.High-quality careers’ education enables students to make informed choices about their futures. Almost all students who completed their Post 16 courses in 2017/18 moved into higher education, employment, training or apprenticeship.
Recent appointments at middle leadership level have been effective. Middle leaders form a hardworking and committed group of professionals. They are now fully engaged in the school’s improvement drive.
Leaders have redesigned and implemented a new, more effective curriculum.
Leaders use effectively any alternative provision they provide for pupils. Placements are carefully chosen to match pupils’ interest and abilities. As a result, pupils who are at risk of leaving education complete their courses, gain suitable qualifications and move on to appropriate destinations.
The leadership of our special needs department is strong, and support provided during lessons by specialist support staff is having a positive impact on improving pupils’ learning.
The school’s numeracy centre provides effective intervention for pupils to catch up on basic numeracy skills.
To support us with our school improvement plan we ask that parents/carers continue to support us with attendance at school events, such as parents’ evenings, and in helping us ensure the quality and completion of independent study and reading.
The inspectors have not told us anything that we did not know already or that we were not already working to improve. We will continue to ensure that our improvements are robust for all areas of the school to ensure a high level of consistency for all our students.
I, my staff, the governing body and the Trust are as ambitious as ever for our school, and we continue to place our young people at the centre of everything we do. We all remain committed to providing the highest quality education that our students deserve.