Inspectors praise Calder High
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
“Calder High is a good school.” This is the judgement of the Ofsted inspection team who said that our local comprehensive has a number of “outstanding” features including an excellent curriculum and an “exceptional” range of additional activities.
Headteacher, Stephen Ball, has told the Hebden Bridge Web that he is pleased, but not at all surprised, by the outcome. “Ofsted recognised that our own understanding of our many strengths and the areas for improvement was outstanding and so the inspection report held no surprises for us”.
The Inspectors wrote a letter to students at Calder High after the inspection. They wrote as follows:
"Thank you very much for the very enjoyable two days that my colleagues and I recently spent inspecting your school. It was made all the more pleasant by your behaviour and attitude towards us. We were impressed about how willing you were to talk about your school and it was interesting to hear your views.
"We found your school to be good and it has improved since the last inspection. The curriculum is now outstanding which means that you have an excellent range of subjects that you can choose from as you travel through the school and into the sixth form. Your personal development is good and you are being given the skills to grow into successful and confident young adults. You said that behaviour has improved since the introduction of the 'Behaviour for Learning' policy, but you would prefer if it was more consistently applied by all staff. Also, although you enjoy your lessons, sometimes you find the lessons not challenging enough for your abilities. This means that you don't make as much progress as you could in some lessons.
"As a result I have asked the school to improve in two areas.
"You can help with this by using the school council to pass on your views to the leadership of the school about how they can improve in these areas.
"Finally, I would like to wish you all the best for the future in your school and thank you again for your very warm welcome."
Schools are graded according to four grades:
Grade 1 Outstanding
For the most part, the inspectors gave Calder High grade 2. For example, overall effectiveness of the school, achievement and standards, personal development and well-being, quality of provision and leadership and management were all awarded grade 2.
Curriculum and other activities was awarded grade 1. The Inspectors wrote "The success of the curriculum is seen by the rising attendance and improving standards. As a specialist technology college, all students take at least one technology subject. However, good timetable planning allows all students to be able to choose up to three technology subjects or to take three separate science courses. A wide range of work-related opportunities promotes the future well-being of students. This is further enhanced by technology, enterprise and enrichment days. There is a rich programme of field studies, cultural visits and extra-curricular activities, especially in sport and the performing arts."
However, effectiveness of the sixth form was awarded grade 3. The Inspectors wrote "Attainment on entry is broadly average. Students reach standards which are in line with national averages at the end of their time in the sixth form. There is a significant variation in subject performance. However, achievement overall is satisfactory." Mr Ball has responded that the school has given total support to plans to make the sixth form one of the most successful and vibrant in the area. The introduction of new courses, clear student and staff expectations, a rich extra curricular programme and the chance to be involved in volunteering work at home and overseas has led to a real expansion in recruitment and considerable optimism about the future, says the Head.
Mr Ball has told us that he recognises that the report is an important milestone on a journey to real excellence. He said that the school is now seen to have some genuinely “outstanding” characteristics for the first time and his ambition is to build on this so that by the time of the next inspection the school is recognised for excellence across all areas of its activity.
“Over the next few months attention will turn to making sure that the really good and outstanding practice observed in so many classes becomes more consistent and that the pockets of less demanding and stimulating teaching are eliminated,” said Mr Ball.
See full report
Previously on the Hebweb