Further information accompanying Ofsted Inspection Report
On Wednesday 11th October there was a one-day Ofsted inspection at school which confirmed that King Edward VI School retains its status as a Good school under the Ofsted framework. This new format of inspection is quite different to a full inspection; following up on any previous recommendations, checking that safeguarding is effective and that leadership across the school demonstrates the capacity for effective self-evaluation and development. Most importantly, it reflects progress over time and during the three years since the last inspection.
Our students and staff should be proud of their achievements and the incredibly positive feedback from our visitors. It was noted that there is ‘a school culture which is underpinned by high expectations and a climate of mutual respect. As a result, pupils are keen to learn and work hard’.
‘Pupils try their best and show high levels of resilience and determination to succeed. Relationships between pupils and their teachers are respectful and many pupils regularly behave in an exemplary manner’.
This was observed through learning walks to lessons, between lessons and at social times. Inspectors also spoke to a wide range of students and read their responses to the pupil questionnaires.
We work hard to ensure that all members of the school community are valued, so recognition of ‘a school ethos where every pupil is treated as an individual’ and the extent to which we ‘are succeeding in personalising learning for pupils’ is very important for everyone. The ‘strong culture of safeguarding’ and the fact that ‘pupils feel safe at school’ provides the best conditions for learning and supporting students’ wellbeing.
Commenting on progress since the last inspection, ‘Leaders are successfully addressing the areas for improvement… These related to improving the quality of homework, raising standards in modern foreign languages and narrowing the differences in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and others. The significant improvements to the modern foreign languages curriculum are resulting in pupils who are currently in the school making good and improving progress in French, particularly. Homework is now typically well matched to the skills and abilities of different pupils. Disadvantaged pupils are catching up because of a highly personalised approach to raise their attainment and accelerate their progress’.
Next steps from the inspection have been identified in the following areas:
- further improve the progress of disadvantaged pupils by reducing the number of pupils who regularly miss school
- make sure that the governing body robustly holds the school to account for accelerating improvements in the attendance of pupils … who are supported by a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan and those disadvantaged pupils who regularly miss school.
Attendance is strong overall but with a personalised approach also comes the responsibility to support students and their families in meeting the challenges which may impact on their attendance over time. We appreciate your support and understanding of our focus on maximising attendance.
- improve teaching and learning in German, particularly for the most able pupils, by making sure that pupils are able to study the subject in greater depth
As is reflected in the report, curriculum change needs time to work its way through the key stages. Most students now take both French and German from Year 7, commonly specialising in one language from Year 9 and having three years to complete the GCSE course. It has been recognised that ‘pupils enjoy consistently strong teaching across subjects and year groups’ and learning walks confirmed that curriculum changes in modern foreign languages ‘are having a strong impact, particularly in key stage 3’.
The full Ofsted letter is available via the school website by clicking here, the Ofsted website from 8th November and has been emailed to parents. We hope that you will take the time to read it in full and join us in celebrating the hard work of staff and students. If you require a paper copy, then please ask via the school office. The report also underlines the key focus of life in school; a continuous cycle of reflection, self-evaluation and next steps. We know that our students are highly capable and we will continue to support them in striving to reach their full potential.
Staff in school work incredibly hard, often working with hundreds of students every day. Even with significant pressure on staffing and learning resources, the opportunities for students both in and beyond the classroom have grown over time. Staff are firmly committed to our school ethos; the positive impression our students gave of their school and themselves is built on everyday experiences in school and the strength of relationships throughout the school community.
This is very positive external validation for the school which clearly identifies the significant progress made in the areas highlighted by the last inspection. The next steps identified form part of our school priorities as we strive to give each of our students the best possible grounding for their post-school future. Thank you to staff, students, parents and governors for the continued support.
Mr C.R. Cartwright, Chair of Governors
Ms J. Rutherford, Headteacher