18 June 2012
Dear Parents and Carers
Following our inspection in June 2012, Ofsted’s full report is now available to download from the link below, along with the letter to students from the lead inspector, Edward Wheatley.
The Ofsted framework is now more demanding and rigorous than at the last visit so we are delighted that the inspectors graded the school as good in every category, indicated that we are excellent or outstanding in many aspects of the school’s work and stated that “the school is showing a strong capacity to improve further”. We would encourage you to read the report in full and some extracts are shown on the reverse of this page.
The inspectors gave us four key areas for further improvement, all focussed on improving the quality of teaching:
- “Make sure all teaching reflects the best seen by ensuring:
- work is always matched to students’ learning needs and provides sufficient challenge
- all students know their targets, and how to achieve them
- marking is regular and that students follow the advice provided
- questioning and discussion engages all students in expressing their own ideas and understanding, and encourages independent learning.”
We endorse the inspectors’ view of these areas for further improvement and they are all areas that we will continue to focus on to raise the quality of teaching even further within the school.
As you know, at our last inspection in 2009 we were judged outstanding overall, largely as a result of the work we were doing then to establish the Braintree Sixth Form as an educational centre for the whole town. Despite an overall judgement of good now, the school has moved forward on a number of fronts in the last few years, specifically:
- GCSE results improved from 55% achieving five or more A* - C grades, including English and mathematics in 2008 to 66% in 2011;
- the successful establishment of Braintree Sixth Form and a very pleasing first set of A Level and IB Diploma results in 2011;
- a renewed focus on improving the quality of teaching across the school, which is reflected in many comments in this most recent Ofsted report.
As we have already told them, our students were a credit to the school and themselves. It was a potentially difficult stage of the term as the inspection coincided with Year 11’s last two days in school before study leave. However, students in all year groups responded magnificently, both in terms of their enthusiasm for learning in lessons and in their excellent behaviour around the school.
It remains our firm objective to be judged outstanding in every area against these new and more demanding Ofsted criteria and we look forward to working together with you to achieve this ambition for your children.
Chair of Governors
Selected comments from the report
“Achievement is improving and variations in attainment between subjects over recent years have reduced significantly, due to changes in staffing and leadership.”
“Students of all abilities make good, and sometimes excellent, progress from average starting points.”
“Teaching is good, and in about one third of lessons, it is outstanding.”
“Parents and carers are generally pleased with the quality of teaching and feel that their children’s learning needs are met.”
Behaviour and safety
“Students’ behaviour is good, and sometimes excellent. Their attitudes to learning are good and frequently outstanding.”
“The school has very good procedures to care for students, and to provide support for those students and their families whose circumstances may make them vulnerable.”
Leadership and management
“The headteacher and senior leaders provide very clear direction for improvement and all leaders have an accurate view of the areas the school must focus on in order to continue the rise in levels of attainment.”
“As a result of improvements in students’ performance, and the actions taken to sustain these, the school is showing a strong capacity to improve further.”
“Its members are well informed about the school’s strengths and weaknesses and hold it to account.”
Paragraph from the letter to students
“The following things are particular strengths of the school. Teaching is often excellent. Most lessons are interesting, challenging and well matched to your needs. You enjoy learning, and many curriculum activities encourage your enthusiasm for learning. The staff and governing body know what is needed to make the school improve further, and they are acting quickly to make improvements happen. Your behaviour is good and often excellent. Your attendance levels are above average. You feel safe, and you know how to stay safe. You know about the different forms of bullying and are confident that if bullying happened, it would be sorted out rapidly. The school takes good care of you.”
The link below is to the Ofsted Dashboard for this school: