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SUMMARY of OFSTED INSPECTION


For the full Ofsted Report Click Here

The school was inspected by four inspectors led by Mr C. Henderson. This is a summary of the full inspection report.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL

Hethersett VC Middle School is situated in an attractive, expanding village just south of Norwich. It has 271 pupils on roll, 138 boys and 133 girls, which is broadly average for a school of its type. The number of pupils has increased since the last inspection. Most pupils come from the local village or from the nearby village of Little Melton. It is an area with high employment levels. Most children come from supportive homes and parents are interested in their children's education. Attainment on entry overall is above the national average. The pupils are mainly of white, United Kingdom or European ethnic background; only 1.1 per cent come from ethnic minority groups which is below the national average. There are 71 pupils on the register of special educational needs, three with specific statements of need, which is below the national average. 8.5% of pupils are entitled to free school meals which is below the national average.

HOW GOOD THE SCHOOL IS

Hethersett VC Middle School is a good school with many very good aspects. Pupils achieve high standards, both in academic and personal development. A clear and positive direction is given to the work of the school by the leadership of the headteacher, supported very effectively by a strong team approach and an influential governing body. The high quality of teaching and a caring supportive school ethos encourage pupils to adopt an enthusiastic and positive approach. The school gives good value for money.

What the school does well


Attainment in English, mathematics and science is above the national average

It has a strong sense of community with very effective teamwork, focused on raising standards.

Pupils have a positive, enthusiastic attitude. They are keen to learn, take pride in their work and achieve high standards in many subjects

Relationships are excellent. Pupils are confident, courteous and behave very well

Teaching is consistently good throughout the school

The headteacher provides very effective leadership, supported very well by a broad range of expertise on the governing body and a dedicated staff team.

Good management and financial planning ensure that the school gives good value for money.

Links with parents are good and contribute well to children's learning

The curriculum is enhanced by a very good range of extra-curricular activities



What could be improved

Improve the standards in information technology and provide more opportunities for pupils to use their skills to support work in other subjects

Ensure more consistent use of teacher assessment to enable pupils to know what is expectedd to achieve higher levels of attainment

Extend the recent good developments in assessment procedures, particularly in relation to school and pupil target-setting

Ensure that teachers' lesson plans link clearly identified learning objectives to the use of assessment


The areas for improvement will form the basis of the governors' action plan

HOW THE SCHOOL HAS IMPROVED SINCE ITS LAST INSPECTION

The school has made good progress since the last inspection in November 1996. Significant improvements have been made to the management of the school and these are contributing substantially to improving standards. The quality of management planning and financial control has been greatly improved. The role and contribution of the governing body in managing the school has been increased. Subject co-ordinators are more involved in monitoring and evaluating the standards of teaching and learning. Good improvements have been made to the quality of the learning environment, particularly through building development and refurbishment. These have contributed to raising the morale of the school community and the development of an effective team approach.

STANDARDS

The table shows the standards achieved by 11 year olds based on average point scores in National Curriculum tests.

 

compared with

Performance in the following subjects:

all schools

similar schools

 

1997 1998 1999

1999

English

B.........C........B

B

Mathematics

B.........C........C

C

Science

B.........D........C

C


KEY

well above average - A

above average - B

average - C

below average - D

well below average - E


These teste results show that while standards in English have generally remained above average, those in science and mathematics are slightly lower than three years ago. Similar schools are those which have a similar percentage of pupils entitled to free school meals. The 1998 results show a dip in attainment levels, although that particular year group included an increased number of pupils with special educational needs.

The 1999 results imporved on the previous year with an increased number of pupils achieving the nationally expected level 4. The school has set targets for this year of 78 per cent of pupils to achieve level 4 or above in English and mathematics and is on course to achieve and possibly exceed them. These realistic targets are based on current school assessment data.

Additional literacy and numeracy support targeted on areas of weakness will promote improvement. Inspection evidence show that standards in English continuye to be above average, with reading skills being particularly well developed. Attainment in mathematics and science is imporving and standards are above the national average at the end of Key Stage 2 and by the time the pupils leave the school in Year 7. Good quality teaching and the effective implementation of literacy and numeracy strategies are promoting imporvements. Pupils achieve high standards in a range of curriculum subjects, for example music, history and design and technology, although pupils' skills in information technology are not consistently developed. Pupils with special educational needs are supported well and make good progress.

PUPILS' ATTITUDES AND VALUES

Aspect

Comment

Attitudes to the school

Pupils are very enthusiastic and keen to succeed. They are very positive in all they do and take pride in their presentation of work.

Behaviour, in and out of classrooms

Behaviour is very good both in classrooms and throughout the school

Personal development and relationships

Excellent relationships throughout the school promote very good personal development. Pupils are willing to accept responsibility and show respect for each other and for adults

Attendance

Attendance is broadly in line with the national average. There is a good prompt start to the day


TEACHING AND LEARNING

Teaching of pupils

aged 8-11 years

aged 11-12 years

Lessons seen overall

Good

Good


Inspectors make judgements about teaching in the range excellent; very good; good; satisfactory; unsatisfactory; poor; very poor. "Satisfactory means that the teaching is adequate and strengths outweigh weaknesses.

The quality of teaching is consistently good throughout the school and is a significant factor in promoting high standards. Fifty nine per cent of lessons observed were good and a further 21 per cent were very good. There was no unsatisfactory teaching. The teaching of literacy and numeracy is good and ensures good progress in developing pupils' skills. Teachers manage their classes very well. They are well prepared and use a good range of teaching strategies to interest pupils and focus their attention. Assessment information is not always consistently used to ensure that the learning activities are closely matched to pupils' needs.

OTHER ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL

Aspect

Comment

The quality and range of the curriculum

The curriculum is broad and relevant and caters well for the wide range of abilities, although opportunities for information technology are not consistently developed. A very good range of school trips and extr-curricular activities enhances opportunities for pupils.

Provision for pupils with special educational needs

The provision is good. Support staff are used very well to enable these pupils to make good progress towards their learning targets

Provision for pupils' personal, including spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Very good moral and social provision. Clear behavioural expectations and Christian values foster pupils' understanding of their moral and social responsibilities. Good provision for spiritual and cultural development, although aspects of non-European cultural beliefs and traditions are not always fully developed.

How well the school cares for its pupils

Staff know their pupils well and provide good quality care and support. Assessment procedures have been developed to monitor pupils' attainment in literacy and numeracy, although these are not yet being consistently used in other subjects

How well the school works with parents

The school has good links with its parents. It works closely with them to keep them well informed and involved in their children's learning



HOW WELL THE SCHOOL IS LED AND MANAGED

Aspect

Comment

Leadership and management by the headteacher and other key staff

The school is very well managed. Clear, effective leadership by the headteacher gives positive direction to the work of the school. A very good team approach encourages all staff to contribute to raising standards.

How well the governors fulfil their responsibilities

A very effective and influential governing body works closely with the management team to focus on school improvement. Their involvement has imporved significantly since the last inspection.

The school's evaluation of its performance

The school uses an increasing range of assessment data to monitor pupil performance and target areas for improvement. The management team and subject co-ordinators monitor standards of teaching and learning and identify areas for further development.

The strategic use of resources

Good management planning is supported very well by good financial planning. The school closely monitors and compares its expenditure levels to apply the principles of best value very well. It provides good value for money. Staffing levels are good overall and fully meet the demands of the curriculum. Resources are adequate overall, although those of information technology are in need of further improvement and more frequent use. The accommodation is adequate overall. Improvements and refurbishment have contributed to creating an attractive learning environment.



PARENTS' and CARERS' VIEWS OF THE SCHOOL


What pleases parents most

What parents would like to see improved

Their children like school

The school has high expectations of work and behaviour

The school is managed well

Teaching is good and helps their children to make good progress

The school responds well to questions and quickly sorts out any problems.

Their children are encouraged to take part in a range of activities outside of lessons.

Further improvements to the school building and site, especially to the swimming pool, design and technology block and aspects of security



Parental responses from the 121 questionnaires returned (50 per cent) and from the 28 parents (12 per cent) who attended the meeting were very supportive. There were very few concerns. Inspectors' judgements confirm the parents' positive views of the school. The governors have made significant improvements to the school building and the management plan indicates that further improvements are planned, particularly to the design and technology room.

OTHER INFORMATION

The governing body is responsible for drawing up an action plan within 40 days of receiving the inspection report, showing how the school will tackle the improvements needed. The action plan will be circulated to all parents at the school.

The contractor appointed for OFSTED for this inspection was TWA Inspections Ltd, 5, Lakeside, Werrington, Peterborough PE4 6QZ.