No Notice Section 8 Inspection of Heworth Grange Comprehensive School

Focus: Behaviour and Safety

On Tuesday 3 March 2015 the school was subject to a no notice section 8 (one day) inspection by Ofsted. New powers were given to Ofsted recently to inspect schools without warning and to essentially check that previously ‘good’ schools are maintaining the standards apparent at their last inspection. These one day inspections usually focus on a particular area and in our case this time it was Behaviour and Safety.

One HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate) led the inspection and she spent all day, from 8.00am in the morning to 6.00pm at night in the school observing every aspect of our work. She watched numerous lessons and observed the students during all of their social times. This included being out and about in the school before the school day started, at break time, at lunch time and after school.

She also talked to a very large number of students about their experiences in the school and interviewed senior staff for an hour in the afternoon.

The conclusion of the inspection was as follows:

“Leaders and managers continue to take effective action to maintain the standards of behaviour and attitudes identified at the school’s previous inspection.”

In other words she was satisfied that standards are at least as good as they were at the previous inspection and the school retains its ‘good’ rating in all areas.

The full report is available to view on the Ofsted website, a link to which can be found below, but some highlights are as follows:

Actions taken by senior leaders continue to secure the calm and friendly atmosphere identified at the time of the last inspection in October 2012.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
All students wear their uniform and look smart. This is because there is a strict code of conduct for uniform and equipment and students are checked for compliance regularly.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
They (the students) settle down quickly and display positive attitudes to learning; responding appropriately to requests made by staff.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
The improved behaviour policy comprises a rewards and sanctions approach that is understood clearly by staff and students.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
Discrete staff presence at break times and in specific year group areas across school enables students to socialise with their friends safely.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
Again, well-supervised by staff, students are able to stay in school, move around the well-supervised grounds or attend a range of lunch time activities.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
Attendance is rising as a result of strategies such as additional individual targeted support to students at risk of non-attendance and disaffection; particularly those in Year 11.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
Work with primary school pupils and their parents is helping them to understand the high expectations of conduct and behaviour at Heworth Grange.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015
Leaders’ work to ensure teachers apply the school’s behaviour policy consistently and their high expectations of all in terms of respectful relationships. One student echoed this approach when she asserted that ‘this is a friendly school and people usually get along with each other’.
HMI Inspector, Ofsted March 2015

The principal area for development was to keep working hard to improve attendance rates. Every time I speak to parents I stress the importance of good attendance and this report reiterates everything I have said in the past about this. The government expects every child to attend school for a minimum of 95% of the time and the school is challenged if that is not the case with all of our students. Research also shows that if a student’s attendance falls below this mark then their academic performance will suffer. Therefore we will continue to monitor attendance very closely and will work with you if we begin to have concerns that it is not as high as it could be. I thank you once again for your support in helping us to get your children to attend school EVERY day.

In Conclusion

This was a forensic look at all aspects of behaviour and safety in our school. The conduct of the students, the relationships between students and between staff and students and the systems in place to ensure good behaviour and attendance were all looked at in great detail. Many students were spoken to and gave honest and candid accounts of their experiences in school. Furthermore we were given no time to prepare for this inspection at all. They saw us as we really are; it was genuinely a normal school day.

I hope you agree therefore that to have such a positive outcome, with so many very positive comments about our school and our students and to retain our ‘good’ rating, was a great achievement for everybody connected with Heworth Grange. Students, staff, parents and the local community can all be proud of our school.

As ever, we succeed because we work in a genuine partnership with you and for your continued support we express our sincere thanks.

Kind regards

Chris Richardson

Head Teacher