Ofsted inspection visit – Feb 2019

Ofsted inspectors visited our school on Wednesday 6 February 2019. As is the process with short inspections, the outcome of the inspection is reported to us in a letter from the Lead Inspector. We were delighted that the inspection confirmed that the school continues to provide a good education for its students.

The letter notes in particular that pupils continue to make good progress and that the school leadership team is “focused, passionate, and committed to continuous school improvement”. Importantly, inspectors acknowledge that our school has addressed areas that needed to improve during their previous inspection in June 2015. The report makes for very positive reading, with highlights including:

  • Working closely with AET, the introduction of a new, more challenging curriculum for children in Years 7 – 9 and new approach to assessment. This has resulted in an improvement in the quality of teaching and learning. Progress of all pupils in Maths in these year groups in particular is improving.
  • Even when pupils’ attainment is below the national average, pupils have made strong progress from their significantly below average starting points.
  • Our new approach to managing behaviour has had a positive impact, with most lessons having a calm environment in which pupils’ attitudes are positive.
  • A strong culture of safeguarding, with senior leaders knowing our pupils very well and ensuring that safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose.
  • Our relationships with external agencies are strong, and we share information effectively and in a timely way. Staff receive appropriate training and know the signs to look out for and what to do if they have concerns.
  • The vast majority of pupils feel safe and know who to go to if they have any concerns. They are confident that staff deal effectively with any issues.
  • Our use of aspirational targets and how we monitor pupils’ progress through a comprehensive assessment system.
  • The quality of careers information, advice and guidance. The report points to our carefully designed careers programme, led by an experienced careers adviser. This includes themed assemblies; alumni speakers; work experience opportunities for all pupils in Year 10; and trips to universities, post-16 providers and employers. As a result, the number of last year’s Year 11 pupils not in education, employment or training is below the national average.
  • Improved governance, following the introduction of a new model put in place by AET. The report notes that our new chair has considerable experience in school improvement and as a result, we are well placed to bring about further improvement and achieve the high standards that we aspire to.

This is all very encouraging. However, we are determined to build on this and make the further improvements that are needed and over the coming period we will be focused on increasing attendance – both by reducing persistent absence and improving the punctuality of all pupils.

We will also continue to work hard to improve the quality of teaching even more so that our pupils are performing at a consistently high standard across all subjects.

Overall, the Ofsted report is very good news for Firth Park, and we are very proud of the work that all of us have put in to ensure that we continue to provide a good quality education to our students. This report shows that we are well on our way to achieving that, and we will continue to work hard with all stakeholders to make that vision a reality.

Please click the link below to view our latest Ofsted report.

Ofsted Lead Inspector's findings letter Feb 2019