It’s official — Downend School rated good

Published on: 31 Oct 2014

STUDENTS, staff, governors and parents at Downend School are celebrating after the education watchdog Ofsted rated the secondary school as good in all areas.

A team of four inspectors arrived at the school three weeks into the new academic year for a two-day visit.

They concluded that the school had seen big improvements in teaching, behaviour and attendance and had a strong capacity to improve further.

Ofsted judged the school to be good in the categories of leadership and management, behaviour and safety, teaching and learning and student achievement. Inspectors also said the sixth form was good.

They described head teacher William Roberts as inspirational and said he had developed an aspirational culture throughout the school.

“The headteacher and other leaders have an excellent understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. Governors make a powerful contribution to the school,” the report said.

“Students’ attitudes to learning are good and they conduct themselves well around the school.”

Ofsted noted that the school had very good systems for managing poor behaviour.

“The number of incidents has fallen significantly recently. Last year, the number of days lost through exclusions halved,” inspectors said.

They praised the broad and balanced curriculum, which they said provided clear options to suit students’ different abilities, interests and talents, with ample opportunities for students to pursue more academic, practical or vocational courses.

Careers and higher education advice was said to be impartial and individually tailored to students’ needs and interests.

“Guidance is particularly effective in the sixth form, where all students move on either to education, employment or training. The numbers of students who leave Year 11 without any clear destination are very low,” the report said.

Ofsted found teaching to be typically good and improving, which was leading to better achievement and progress for students. Inspectors agreed with the school’s forecast that the headline figure for the proportion of students gaining five or more A*-C GCSEs including English and maths was likely to be higher next year than the 2014 figure of 57 per cent.

Mr Roberts said: “We are delighted to have been graded ‘Good’ in every area of the school’s work. This is a fantastic endorsement of the collective effort that has been made by staff, governors, parents and students to improve standards at Downend. Change is often difficult, and the school community is to be commended on having risen to the challenge and proved just how much we can achieve.

“Of course, there is still much hard work to do, and we are already working on plans to continue improving our school in order to ensure we provide the best possible experience for every student.”

Students finished the term with a non school uniform day to congratulate them on being officially recognised as part of a “Good” school. The school also arranged an afternoon tea for staff to celebrate the inspection report.


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