Our OFSTED report is in and we are delighted!

As you know, we had a visit from the inspection team on May 15th 2019. This was a short, one day inspection as we had been judged to a be a good school in June 2015. The inspectors were pleased and made the judgement that we continue to be a good school. I have included some extracts for you below:

  • ‘…the school has continued to move from strength to strength.’
  • ‘You have developed a strong leadership team to help you to drive improvement across the schoo Governors, leaders and staff work together to give pupils the best opportunities they can, so they are prepared for the next stages of their career.’
  • ‘Pupils’ progress has increased considerably since the last inspect’
  • ‘There is a real sense of community across the schoo Visitors are welcomed by pupils and adults. During learning, pupils work together to improve their understanding. They listen to each other and give help when needed. They treat staff with respect and follow instructions.’
  • ‘Parents and carers are very positive about the schoo They say that their children are safe, happy and learn well. Parents feel that the pastoral support their children receive is strong and they enjoy school. Parents felt that they receive good information about how well their children were doing in school. They felt that teachers in the school cared about their children.’
  • ‘Governors are knowledgeable and bring a range of skills to their role.’
  • ‘Safeguarding is a strength’
  • ‘Pupils told inspectors, that while bullying does happen on occasion, teachers deal with it ’
  • ‘The training you have provided has improved the quality of teaching considerably’
  • ‘Collaborative training for teachers is provided which encourages them to work together and share resources. Teachers told inspectors that they enjoy trying new strategies in their classroom and feel that their teaching and leaderships skills have developed considerably through working with their colleagues.’
  • ‘There has been an upward trend in pupils’ progress since the last inspect You have encouraged teachers to challenge pupils to think deeply about their work. As a result, pupils recall prior learning and apply it to new situations.’
  • ‘Pupils’ literacy skills have improved considerably since the last inspection and pupils typically write with accuracy and flue Pupils use subject-specific technical words appropriately in their work when answering questions posed by their teachers.’
  • ‘You have put a number of strategies in place to help pupils to behave appropriately. As a result, the proportion of pupils excluded for a fixed period has reduced considerably and is now in line with the national avera’

We are pleased that in our key areas of:

Outcomes, looking after people and ensuring a focus on learning, our efforts have had an impact and have been recognised.

OFSTED also left us with some areas to develop. One area that we work hard on is to ensure that our pupils with SEND make good progress, are happy and safe and are able to attend school. In their verbal feedback to governors, representatives from the local authority and myself, the inspectors were incredibly complimentary about the work of Mrs Walter, Mrs Parry and all our amazing staff in Aspire; the strong work of our ILs; Mrs Kerrigan, our attendance manager and all in our pastoral team. This was echoed by the wonderful response we got from parents who were really positive about the school and positively glowing about SEND provision. We do know, however, that we are on a journey with SEND. In the report we read:

Although the progress pupils with SEND make has improved, it is still below the progress of pupils nationally.’

We are happy with this progress but know that the measures we have already in place to improve progress even more, have not had enough time to come completely to fruition. In addition, what inspectors are measuring here is not how our SEND pupils progress against other SEND pupil nationally but against all other pupils. Whilst this is right and proper, it is also more difficult to accomplish. We know that many of our SEND pupils’ learning needs have not been diagnosed early on…for some of them not until they joined us at SHS. In addition, there may well be health issues, which have affected their learning- both physical and mental/emotional health. Therefore for them to make progress in line with all pupils nationally can take longer to realise.

Similarly, the inspectors commented on rates of attendance saying:

‘You monitor pupils’ attendance closely and take action when pupils fail to attend. Overall attendance is improving and close to the national average. Despite this, the proportion of pupils that are regularly absent from school remains high, particularly for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND.’

They did acknowledge the work we are doing here:

‘Individual actions are put in place to support these pupils in attending school. As

a result, the proportion of pupils that are regularly absent from school is reducing towards the national average. However, the rate of improvement is slow.’

Again, what is clear is that we are making progress but it takes time to have an impact. What we ask is that parents work with us in ensuring best attendance so students get the most from school.

Overall, we are delighted with the report and pleased that those areas for action are ones that we are already aware of and acting on.

I want to thank parents and carers for all the support they give us. Particular thanks to those who took the time to respond to inspectors’ survey. Staff were touched: your strong messages of support were so welcome!

We are busy working on our action plan to address the issues raised and will ensure we keep the school moving in the right direction on its journey.

I will leave you with one final comment we got in the feedback meeting:

You should be really proud as a school of what you have achieved. You have done remarkable things here that have made a real difference to young people’s lives.’


The full report can be found here.


Thanks and very best wishes


Jayne O’Grady

Head Teacher