‘Governors, parents, staff and students are very proud and supportive of their school.’
A two day inspection of Park View was carried out on 5 and 6 December 2012 by six representatives from Ofsted. During the visit, 44 lessons were observed, work was scrutinised and representatives of the leadership team, the staff and the student body were interviewed. In addition, parents/carers were invited to complete an on-line survey, thus allowing all stakeholders to contribute their views. It was, in all respects, a more searching inspection than we have had before. It was carried out using the new Framework, one which had been introduced in September and which had been designed by the Secretary of State and the Chief Inspector of Schools to raise the bar considerably in terms of the standards expected from institutions.
‘Students are a real asset to the academy.’
The resultant report makes very pleasing reading as it captures the spirit of the school. Despite the weather conditions being deplorable during the visit, the inspectors were impressed by the behaviour and attitude of the students, describing them as ‘calm, helpful and courteous’ and reporting that they had seen no disruptive conduct around school. Similarly, it was reported that the students ‘come ready to learn, keen to do well and apply themselves to tasks with diligence to complete them.’ This was exemplified by their performance in lessons where they showed themselves to be ‘especially skilled at working with others to move learning forward, in different types of groups, presentations and role plays…They are able to stay on task to completion and report back in a respectful atmosphere that teachers create.’ This section of the report concluded, ‘‘The clear message from staff is that behaviour is exceptional…Parents in their survey feel the same, as did the students’
‘There are very positive working relationships between staff, including support staff, and students that contributes to good progress.’
The Inspectors were particularly impressed by the interviews they carried our young people. They asked probing questions about the academic work which the students did as well as the degree to which they were cared for. They reported that the comments received were universally positive. In particular, they highlighted that the students ‘were quick to find examples of good progress resulting from helpful feedback’, that they ‘take great pride in their work’ and that they make good progress in the ‘respectful atmosphere that teachers create.’ Socially, ‘they feel safe in school‘ because ‘bullying is rare, tackled effectively and prevented from happening again,’ The inspectors praised the way students talked of themselves, their aspirations and the part they play in the community, concluding that their ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong.’
‘The academy aims to give every student the chance to excel.’
The report recognises the quality of teaching within the school. 40 out of the 44 lessons observed were graded Good or Outstanding, with none judged to be inadequate. The report details that the ‘Strengths of teaching include questioning to check, reinforce and extend understanding. Teachers have good subject knowledge of their subjects and set appropriate homework….They set tasks that stretch able students and develop skills of learning independently.’ In addition, ‘Teachers encourage students to explain, use evidence and justify their views, to taking learning to higher levels’ and ;marking and oral feedback in class are good.’ It was felt that ‘The range of subjects taught and out of school activities is rich and varied’ and that ‘students can achieve well in a broad range.’ It was noted that a ‘strong point is that there are no major subject areas trailing behind’.’ Inspectors concluded that a major contributory factor to the excellence observed was that ‘Senior leaders and governors keep support, care and challenge in good balance to create a positive workplace where people can do their best.’
It goes without saying that we are delighted with the report, feeling that it very much captures the spirit of Park View. We have always attempted to strive for excellence in all aspects of our work whilst never losing sight of the individual: we were delighted that this was highlighted as a strength. As one of the Inspectors said to me, ‘This is one of the happiest schools I have been in’ whilst recognising the good progress made by all.
The level of support we received from our parent body was astonishing, with the Ofsted survey showing that 95% agreed that their child was happy in the school; 100% that their child felt safe; 95% that their child was well looked after and 93% that they would recommend the school to another parent. We could not have asked for more from either them or from our students, who were quite simply superb throughout the visit.. As a school, we are exceptionally proud of the calibre of young person we attract and use every platform we can from which to praise their accomplishments and achievements. It is, therefore, a source of real joy that Ofsted appreciated their quality: the report is a fitting testament to them.
Mr I Veitch (Headteacher)