Not outstanding, but Spalding Grammar still a good school

Headmaster Steven Wilkinson
Headmaster Steven Wilkinson
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Spalding Grammar School has slipped from ‘Outstanding’ to ‘Good’ in a report published by schools inspectorate Ofsted this week.

After visiting the 985-student school on November 5 and 6, inspectors gave it a ‘good’ grading for effectiveness of leadership and management and quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

It also scored a ‘good’ for outcomes for pupils and study programmes for 16- to 19-year-olds, wheareas personal development, behaviour and welfare was rated as outstanding.

The report said the school was ‘good’ because:

* New headmaster Steven Wilkinson has had a significant effect on raising teachers’ and pupils’ expectations.

* The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is good.

* Pupils achieve well and attainment at GCSE is above the national average.

* Due to the its effective use of additional funding for disadvantaged pupils, the gaps between the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and their peers has closed rapidly.

* Subject leaders rigorously check the quality of teaching and use assessment information to identify pupils that are falling behind.

* Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding.

* Pupils’ personal development and welfare are well developed.

* It offers a wide range of enrichment activities which help prepare pupils to be good citizens.

* The tutoring system enables older pupils to act as good role models for younger pupils.

However, they said the school lost its ‘outstanding’ rating issued in December 2011 because:

* Pupils with weak literacy skills do not always receive the support they require.

* Although improving, outcomes for pupils in sixth form are not yet outstanding as some teaching does not take into account the needs of all learners.

* The most-able pupils do not achieve as well as they should, particularly in English.

* Leaders do not have a strategic overview of the performance of groups of pupils to ensure that the most-able pupils and disabled pupils and those with special educational needs achieve as well as they should.

In order to improve, inspectors said the school needs to develop a timely and strategic whole-academy oversight of performance information in order that leaders are able to ensure that:

* The most-able pupils achieve the highest possible outcomes across all subjects, with particular focus on English.

* All teachers use the information concerning the individual needs of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs to ensure that they all make as much progress as possible.

* Further increase the rate of progress in sixth form by embedding the recent developments to improve pupils’ outcomes.

* Develop a cohesive whole-school approach to supporting pupils.

Inspectors observed 31 lessons, of which eight were sixth form lessons. The lead inspector conducted two joint lesson observations with the headmaster. Inspectors also observed an assembly.

Inspectors held meetings with senior leaders and subject leaders.

In an email to parents, headmaster Mr Wilkinson, who only joined the school in September, said: “I am pleased that the inspection team was able to sense many of the excellent features that make this school what it is.

“I am pleased as well that, in those areas where they felt the school to be in need of some improvement, the inspectors acknowledge that steps are already in place to bring it about.

“We have been set a challenge.

“We have already begun to address it and I am confident that, working together, we will be able to meet it.”