Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.
Ofsted report directly to Parliament and are independent and impartial. Ofsted inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
Message from Mr Browning - Headteacher 14th February 2020
Following our recent Ofsted inspection, I am very pleased to report that Sir John Thursby continues to be a good school.
We are delighted that the inspectors saw that students feel safe in school and that they have “good relationships with staff and that they are well cared for”. The inspectors identified that staff have “high expectations of what our students can achieve”, that “teachers have good subject knowledge” and that they “plan shorter series of lessons well”.
We are really pleased that the inspectors commented on the way that the new behaviour policy is having an impact in school and that the rewards we have put in place are liked by our young people. Ofsted did not see any concerning behaviour from students and acknowledged that bullying is dealt with appropriately at all levels. Ofsted were extremely positive about our safeguarding in school and how we “put pupils interests first”.
We are thrilled that Ofsted recognised the work that we do to ensure that our students experience life and culture beyond school through the large number of school trips that we organise for our students and the Arts Award that we run for Year 9 students.
As a school we have a two year Key Stage 3 (Years 7 & 8) and a three year Key Stage 4 (Years 9,10 & 11). Ofsted recognise that the curriculum in Key Stage 4 is “ambitious” with most students able to follow a highly academic curriculum, whilst still having the opportunity to study additional vocational qualifications. It is important to note that over 70% of our students study English, Maths, Science, a Modern Foreign Language and either Geography or History (key gateway subjects for college, university and employment) compared to 40% of students across the country.
Several years ago, like many other schools, we took the decision to start GCSEs early in Year 9. To improve student outcomes, the key stage 3 curriculum was shortened to two years. Ofsted were concerned that our two year Key Stage 3 curriculum meant that we did “not match the breadth and ambition of the National Curriculum” and that as a result there are gaps in students knowledge. As a school we were aware of this issue and had plans to review our curriculum next year. However, as a result of our inspection we are moving this review forward and are currently working on this with leaders and staff across school. Concerns raised regarding the long-term planning are also linked to Key Stage 3 and will be addressed in our review of the curriculum.
Our inspection confirmed the many strengths and positives of Sir John Thursby that we see every day. It also confirmed the areas for improvement that leaders had identified prior to the inspection and there are plans in place to address these areas.
Finally, can I thank all students, parents, staff and governors that make Sir John Thursby such a special place. We welcome the report from Ofsted as it will help us to continue our journey to become a truly great school.