Dear Parents / Carers,
I am writing to you following the recent Ofsted inspection which took place on 18th and 19th September. The report (attached) reflected a number of strengths of the school:
• The high priority given to improving the quality of teaching
• Teaching is now getting better all the time
• The behaviour of students is good. They have positive attitudes to learning and are keen to learn
• The Sixth Form is good. Students make good progress and student numbers are growing
The inspectors commented on the ‘very large’ number of parents / carers who responded to the online Ofsted ‘Parent View’ questionnaire (nearly 200). The results provided a number of highly positive messages including:
• 93% said their child was happy with the school
• 95% said their child feels safe at RPHS
• 90% would recommend the school to other families
• 86% felt that their children were making good progress
The inspection was conducted under a new, significantly tougher, framework introduced this September. The overall judgement was formed after considering the four areas of the inspection framework - Achievement, Teaching, Behaviour & Safety and Leadership. The overall judgement was comparable with our last inspection, grade 3, (Requires Improvement), however behaviour and safety was recognised to have improved significantly, and is now graded as Good (grade 2). We have much to be proud of with our students’ positive attitudes towards learning and the manner in which they behave towards each other, and staff, being key highlights. We are also pleased that Ofsted judged our Sixth Form as ‘Good’, recognising the good progress our Key Stage 5 students make.
The inspectors agreed with our own evaluation that achievement is good in the sixth form and at KS3, but that it still requires improvement at KS4. Therefore the achievement judgement was graded as 3 (Requires Improvement). As many of you are aware, we have made a number of changes over the past two years and have established solid foundations which have led to significant improvements at KS3 and will lead to KS4 strong outcomes in 2014. The report clearly shows that the performance in core subjects such as Maths and Science continue to perform on or above the national average and that there has been considerable improvement in English where we have already embedded strategies to raise student attainment. It is reassuring that Ofsted have recognised these improvements and the successes of these strategies. We are confident that we can now develop and adapt these strategies further across all subject areas and that achievement at KS4 will improve significantly.
The inspectors commented on the high priority given to improving teaching and acknowledged that teaching is improving, however it was graded 3 (requires improvement) since KS4 outcomes need to improve further. This is a point we shared with families at our recent Parent and Carer evenings, and we are confident we will see significant improvements in Summer 2014.
‘The curriculum has been reviewed and redesigned so that it meets students’ needs well. So far, impact on achievement has been most keenly felt in the development of the sixth form, where progress is good – and in Key Stage 3, where standards are now rising. There is secure capacity for further improvement’.
We are delighted that Ofsted graded behaviour and safety as good (grade 2) recognising the students’ positive attitudes towards learning and the manner in which they behave towards each other, and towards the staff. Over the last two years we have made a number of changes to the Pastoral Support provided for students, and improving behaviour has been a key priority.
‘Students’ behaviour is good because of their very positive attitudes to learning which have had an increasing impact on their progress. Students show high levels of confidence. They are courteous to each other and respect each other’s opinions when answering questions in lessons. Movement around the school is calm and orderly. They show high levels for respect for staff.’ (Ofsted 2013)
This report reflects the journey we are on as a school community. I personally have had the experience of leading a school from Requires Improvement (grade 3) to Outstanding (grade 1), The Ofsted report refers to our newly formed leadership team, recognising their commitment to improving our school in all aspects, and the progress made over the last two years. The leadership team and I are confident that the changes over the past two years have created the foundation to accelerate improvement and progress to ‘Good’ or better in all categories within the next 18 months and beyond.
‘The headteacher has provided very strong and incisive leadership. The work of the committed senior leadership team is now beginning to bring about clear improvements in all aspects of the school’s work. For example, robust action has been taken over the last two years to improve the overall quality of teaching.’(Ofsted 2013)
We will be publishing information to all parents before half term with details of key next steps we are taking within our action plan and priorities over the coming months. Members of the Senior Leadership Team and the Governing Body are available to discuss any aspect of the Ofsted report in more detail; please do not hesitate to contact my Personal Assistant Karen Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make an appointment. There will also be an opportunity for parents and carers to join our next Parent & Carer Forum on Wednesday 23rd October, where we will be discussing our future plans. All are welcome to join us between 6pm and 7.30pm.
Please be assured that we value your continued support. We are clear on what needs to be done, and we will continue to focus on creating a stimulating learning environment, providing high quality, personalised education which will support, challenge and inspire our students throughout their time with us.