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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Glowing Ofsted inspection for William Howard School in Brampton

Staff, parents and pupils of one of north Cumbria’s biggest secondary schools are celebrating after receiving a glowing report from Government inspectors.

Brampton’s William Howard School, which became an academy last summer, is one of the first in the area to be inspected under new criteria introduced by the education watchdog Ofsted last month.

Inspectors have judged the secondary school’s overall effectiveness to be ‘good’, which means it has ‘very positive features’ and serves its pupils well.

Headteacher Lorrayne Hughes is also delighted that the achievement of the school’s 1,551 pupils is judged to be ‘outstanding’ – the highest level of praise Ofsted inspectors can give.

Three other areas – quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management – were judged to be ‘good’.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Hughes drew attention to a range of highlights picked up by the five-man inspection team.

Some of the school’s strengths include:

Pupils get significantly better results at the end of Year 11 (15-16) when compared with other schools nationally;

Teaching is good overall, including in the sixth form, with some outstanding;

Attainment over the last three years has been high and the proportion of pupils securing five grade Cs or above at GCSE including English and maths has remained significantly above average since 2009;

The strength of the curriculum is reflected in the outstanding achievement of pupils;

Improvements in leadership and management since the last inspection.

Inspectors also note that the school is aware of its weaknesses and have plans in place to address such areas.

Mrs Hughes, who inspectors say has been “very successful in driving improvements in many areas”, said: “This is the first time that William Howard School has been judged ‘outstanding’ for achievement; the school continues to go from strength to strength.

“I am extremely proud of the work put in by all members of the school community to earn this.”

Ofsted inspectors have asked that the school looks to increase its proportion of good and outstanding teaching. They say this can be done by ensuring that lesson planning is improved, teachers provide more classroom opportunities to engage with pupils and help them become independent learners, and that marking of pupils’ work is more consistent across the school.

Leaders at the school were given two days’ notice of the inspection.

During their two-day visit, the Ofsted team observed 57 lessons, listened to pupils reading, watched an assembly, observed pupils’ behaviour during breaks and lunchtimes, joined registration periods and held meetings with school staff, pupils and governors. Inspectors also reviewed a series of school documents and considered 145 questionnaire responses from parents.

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