Ofsted Report, April 2017
The day started very positively as the lead inspector concurred with our own self- evaluation, so the key lines of inquiry for the morning were quickly agreed. Along with senior leaders, the inspectors spent the morning visiting lessons and looking at the learning and marking in books. Meetings were also held with senior leaders on examination data, attendance, behaviour, SEND and safeguarding.
At lunch time the lead inspector asked me if I would like a second day to push for “outstanding” and I declined. Under this new, extremely demanding inspection framework, we very nearly meet the outstanding criteria but not quite… and I felt it was more important for the school’s continued improvement, to be honest with ourselves and not pretend to be something we are not…yet!
The afternoon was spent in meetings with governors and directors, a further meeting with myself and then the informal feedback.
At the feedback, the lead inspector emphasised that Kingdown School remains a good school and made the following comments:
- We totally agree with your self-evaluation of the school and all aspects of the school are at least good.
- Many aspects are better than good.
- Some aspects are outstanding.
- Leadership and Management is an absolute strength. It permeates from the Head, Senior Leaders, Subject Leaders, Heads of House to all teachers.
- Behaviour is an absolute strength.
Highlights from the letter to Mrs Edwards
- This school continues to be good.
- Under your excellent leadership the school has retained all of its strengths and further developed and improved other aspects. The school continues to improve and now has many excellent features. This is testament to the high quality of support you receive from other senior and middle leaders, such as heads of house and curriculum leaders, as well as the very well-informed academy council and the trust. You clearly have the confidence of staff, pupils and parents.
- The school is a vibrant and happy place where pupils are cared for well and strive to do as well as they can. Pupils are a delight to meet and talk to; they are great ambassadors for the school. Behaviour in lessons and around the school is often exemplary. Most involve themselves fully in the life of the school and contribute to its highly inclusive and ambitious ethos and culture. Teachers are open, honest and totally committed to making the school even better.
- Your evaluation of what is done well, and often extremely well, and those areas that are not yet at the very high level you expect is detailed, perceptive and accurate.
- The very large majority of pupils currently in all year groups make very strong progress across a wide range of subjects because teaching, learning and assessment are consistently at least good, and often better. The curriculum is carefully matched to the needs of all pupils.
- Achievement in the sixth form is now consistently good and high in some subjects.
- You and leaders at all levels track pupils’ progress carefully using the school’s well-considered and well-understood ‘trajectory’ model. Rigorous checks ensure that assessment information is reliable and accurate.
- The very large majority of pupils rarely miss a day of schooling. Overall attendance is above the national average and rising. As a result of the extensive range of strategies you and your colleagues use, the attendance of individual pupils who previously were persistently absent has improved markedly.
- You, your leadership team and governors have ensured that all safeguarding arrangements and records meet statutory requirements and are fit for purpose. Staff training is comprehensive and effective; its impact is closely monitored.
- Pupils are very well cared for. Ensuring that pupils are safe and well looked after is at the heart of everything the school does. Pupils value the vertical tutor groups, with pupils and students from Year 7 to Year 13, and the opportunities they create to support and look out for each other.
Next steps for the school:
Leaders and those responsible for governance should sustain their relentless approach to making all aspects of the school as good as the best, particularly in further improving the attendance and raising the achievement of some disadvantaged pupils and some of those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities.