A Good School With Outstanding Features!

Higham Lane is celebrating following the publication of the 2013 OFSTED Inspection Report, which judges the School as GOOD WITH OUTSTANDING FEATURES!

Highlights of the Report sees OFSTED praising students’ exceptional attitudes to learning and good progress; teachers’ consistently good teaching that shows staff know their students well; and the School’s strong leadership at all levels.

In addition, students’ active contribution to the everyday running of the School is also emphasised in the report.

Inspectors judged the Behaviour & Safety of students as outstanding and commented that: ``Students show exceptional attitudes to learning in lessons and are keen to achieve their best. There is a highly positive atmosphere in the School, and behaviour is outstanding.’’

Inspectors judged Achievement as good and noted that: ``Students make good progress in many subjects across the School and the percentage of students who leave the school with five GCSEs including English and mathematics is significantly above the national average. Students who are disabled or have special educational needs make good progress as a result of additional support and tuition.’’

The Quality of Teaching was also judged by inspectors as ``consistently good throughout the School’’ and inspectors noted that ``teachers know their students well.’’

Phil Kelly, Headteacher, commented that ``The School is delighted that the quality of our teachers’ planning, questioning and marking and feedback has been singled out for praise, along with the contribution of teaching assistants, which is a great compliment to our staff and the senior and middle leaders who have led training on this key aspect of our work.

``We are now looking to build upon these very positive comments by increasing the amount of outstanding teaching the learners experience, ensuring that all learners are challenged in every lesson and further embedding our recently introduced Marking and Feedback Policy, by offering those students who require it, further guidance and time to respond to teachers’ written comments on how to improve their work.’’

The School’s Leadership and Management at all levels received praise, with inspectors recognising the ``strong leadership by the Headteacher, supported well by senior, subject and pastoral leaders,’’ which ``enables all staff to be involved in the continued improvements in teaching and achievement.’’

Governors were singled out for praise by the OFSTED team for displaying a ``good awareness of the strengths of the school, and where it is improving.’’ Inspectors felt that governors’ ``regular visits enthusiastically encourage leaders’ work on teaching and students’ achievement.’’

Students’ contribution to the success of the School received special praise within the report, with inspectors commenting: ``Students show great respect to all staff, and have a thirst for knowledge and an eagerness to learn that create a highly positive atmosphere for learning. Students set themselves high expectations of engagement and participation in lessons, and do not tolerate any potential disruption to their learning.’’

The active contribution of students in the everyday running of the School was also praised, with OFSTED, noting that: ``Students take an active role in influencing their school environment and learning. For example, the Junior Leadership Team and Student Voice representatives regularly speak to governors, and through discussion, offer their opinions and influence decisions.’’

Of particular note was OFSTED’s recognition of the School’s sporting achievements where students ``have achieved national and regional recognition for their sporting efforts.’’ This praise is a recognition of the School’s netball teams’ regular qualification for the National Finals and its successful record in football and other sports in local and regional competitions.

Inspectors noted that the School’s future looks extremely bright due to its strong leadership, accurate self-evaluation and careful planning for the future: ``Leaders have an accurate awareness of the School’s strengths and where it is developing, and have detailed plans to ensure that it is constantly improving. The Headteacher’s incisive and inclusive approach to leadership means that every leader is aware of their responsibilities and embraces the opportunities to make an impact, as reflected in students’ good achievement over time.’’

Mr Kelly continued: ``We are very pleased with this report. Everyone recognises that the bar in education has been repeatedly raised over the past two years, with increased expectations by the Department for Education regarding  the quality of provision offered by schools and in particular regarding students’ progress. OFSTED’s recognition of the consistently good progress our students make in their learning is a testament to the high quality teaching they receive at Higham Lane.

``This is an exceptionally positive report, but we are not complacent and are fully aware of how the School needs to move forward to become an outstanding school as we prepare to offer Post 16 education from September 2015.

``Our achievements, as reflected in this inspection report, are a great compliment to our superb staff and wonderful students. We receive fantastic support from our governors, parents and carers and I know they will feel great satisfaction and pride in reading this report.’’

A copy of the 2013 Higham Lane School OFSTED Report, in PDF format, is attached below.

  1. HLS OFSTED Report October 2013