Ofsted 2014

This school is good because

  • Very effective leadership by the director, headteacher and senior leaders has created a clear vision for the future for the school.
  • Students make good progress and achieve well as a result of good teaching. They achieve particularly well in music and creative media courses.
  • Students generally behave well in lessons and around the school. Their relationships with staff are trusting and respectful.
  • Students increasingly enjoy attending school and, as a result, attendance has risen since the last inspection.
  • The school’s arrangements for keeping students safe and secure are good. As a result, students feel safe and valued and parental satisfaction is high.
  • As a result of good teaching, most students successfully re-engage with education and achieve well. The very large majority proceed into college-based training when they leave.
  • The proprietors ensure that teaching and achievement are good. They make sure that all the independent schools’ standards are met and that the school is in a position to educate and safeguard students well.

Most students enter the school with attainment that is often much lower than expected for their age. This is because many have difficult histories and have had negative experiences and poor attitudes to learning in their previous schools. As a result, many students lack confidence and have significant gaps in their learning, often because of erratic patterns of attendance and exclusion from school. Progress in English and mathematics is good. It is better than previously as a result of the school’s focus on improving students’ literacy and numeracy skills. By the time they leave in Year 11, although standards are below average in English and mathematics, they are steadily rising. Students do well because teaching is good and there are is good range of courses provided for them. Students have regular opportunities to practise their reading. A good example of this was seen during a literacy session. Here, students were confident in reading aloud new words they had discovered in preparation for composing lyrics for a song. Disabled students and those with special educational needs, including those from different ethnic heritages and those new to learning English, make good progress and achieve well. The school ensures that all different groups of students have an equal opportunity to achieve well. Students make particularly good progress in music and creative media courses as a result of the highly specialised coaching they receive. As a result, the very large majority of students proceed to music and media college-based training, with some taking construction or hair and beauty courses. Achievement is not yet outstanding because not all students, particularly the most able, make the progress they are capable of. All full-time students spend part of their timetable studying sport and physical education off site. Their progress is good and arrangements for checking their safety, work, attendance, punctuality and behaviour are very effective.

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