Ofsted October 2013
This is a good school. A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education, training or employment.
The achievement of pupils is good.
• Students’ academic achievement is good. Previous underachievement has been tackled extremely well.
• The proportion of students who gain five GCSE A* to C grades, including English and mathematics, is rising and has been above average for the past three years.
• The percentage of students gaining five or more passes at GCSEs at grades A* to C has risen steadily and has been above that found nationally for the past three years.
• The vast majority of students in all year groups make good progress – students enter Year 7 with broadly average attainment and they leave at the end of Year 11 with standards that are above average on several indicators.
• In all year groups, most students’ progress relative to their starting points is good – this includes students who are disabled or have special educational needs, students who are eligible for the pupil premium and also the most able students.
• There are many subjects that have shown sustained and rapid improvement and progress for all groups of students last year was good.
• Addressing any underachievement early has ensured that students who are eligible for the pupil premium funding achieve increasingly well – the progress from their starting points is good.
• The progress of the most able students and students who are disabled or have special educational needs is good in most subjects.
• Students who attend the school’s specially resourced language provision make good progress.
• The school has a very close focus on improving literacy.
• Basic skills of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology are integrated increasingly well into many subjects.
• The vast majority of parents felt that progress is good.
The quality of teaching is good.
• The quality of teaching is good overall and outstanding in some lessons.
• The quality of teaching has improved significantly, through well focused staff development.
• Teachers have high expectations and adapt the work well for the different abilities of their students.
• Teachers engage their students well with a series of tasks that makes them think deeply and learn well.
• Teachers ensure that the students get down to independent work as quickly as possible, reinforce literacy and numeracy skills and give students clear criteria for success.
• Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well in many lessons.
• Teachers generally mark students’ work thoroughly
• Most parents felt that their children were well taught.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
• Students enjoy school, feel safe and behave well.
• The inspectors found the students to be very polite and courteous.
• Students told the inspectors that the behaviour of most students is good and has been for some time, especially since the arrival of the headteacher.
• Students are very keen to be involved in their own learning and they work very well together in groups.
• Students say that there is hardly any bullying and any that does occur is dealt with swiftly and that there is always a peer mentor or an adult they can turn to.
• Students describe their school as very safe.
• The school has increased attendance to be in line with that found nationally.
• Most parents agreed that the school helps their children to behave well and almost all staff agreed that students’ behaviour is good.
The leadership and management are good
• The headteacher is a very effective leader.
• Significant improvements have occurred in students’ progress, behaviour and in the quality of teaching.
• Leaders have successfully improved learning by regularly observing the quality of teaching in lessons and by providing staff with training.
• Systems for checking how well students are achieving are extremely thorough – any student who is in danger of underachieving is identified early and helped to catch up well.
• Gaps between the performances of different groups of students are closing rapidly – this reflects the inclusiveness of the school and its intolerance of discrimination.
• The curriculum has been skilfully adapted to the needs and interests of the students and this has helped to widen the range of subjects in which the students do well.
• There is a wide array of clubs and visits, and the students told the inspectors how much they value the opportunity to visit cities such as Madrid and New York.
• The promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is particularly strong.
• The governing body works very closely with the school – it holds the school to account increasingly well for the performance of its students.
Hetton School was one of the 261 schools nationally who were successful in being part of the new Priority Schools Building Programme. Building is due to start in 2014/15 with the new school expected to be opening on the existing site in September 2015/16. In the mean time, an ongoing investment programme of refurbishment is continuing for the current buildings.
Mr Craig Knowles – Acting Headteacher