Light Hall School Specialist Mathematics and Computing College
- July 31, 2011)
Phone:0121 *** ***
Headteacher: Mr V Scutt
see new Light Hall School Specialist Mathematics and Computing College
1225 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||104112|
|Inspection dates||2–3 December 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Deborah James|
|Type of school||Secondary|
|Age range of pupils||11–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1226|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mrs J Ulliott|
|Headteacher||Mr V Scutt|
|Date of previous school inspection||6 December 2006|
|School address||Hathaway Road|
|Solihull, West Midlands|
|Telephone number||0121 744 3835|
|Fax number||0121 733 6148|
|Inspection dates||2–3 December 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by six additional inspectors. The inspectors visited 44 lessons, and held meetings with staff, groups of pupils and the chair of governors. They observed the school's work, and studied a range of school documentation, including the school's improvement plan, minutes of governing body meetings, department monitoring evidence and records of students' progress. Inspectors also reviewed responses to questionnaires returned from students, staff and 280 parents and carers.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following aspects.
Light Hall School is larger than average. The majority of students are of White British heritage and very few students do not have English as their first language. The number of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. The school has been a specialist college for mathematics and computing since September 2003. The school has gained the Artsmark award and the Healthy Schools Standard.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
Light Hall is a good school that has improved in several key areas since its last inspection. Improvements in the quality of teaching and monitoring of students' progress have led to improved achievement. Care, guidance and support are now outstanding. The school treats each student as an individual and ensures that they are able to make the best of the opportunities offered by the school. The school has excellent systems and procedures for safeguarding students' welfare. These improvements since the last inspection demonstrate that the school has a good capacity to improve further.
Students are particularly successful at GCSE, attaining results well above the national average. They leave school prepared well for the transition to college or other training. Attainment in science has improved considerably this year, but remains below other subjects. The school has successfully implemented strategies to improve boys' achievement and the gap between boys' and girls' attainment is beginning to close. Since the last inspection the school has introduced an effective tracking system that monitors students' progress against suitably challenging targets. Students that are not making as much progress as they could are quickly identified and appropriate support strategies are put in place.
Although teaching is good overall, it ranges from satisfactory to outstanding. The most rapid and secure learning occurs when expectations are clear and students engage in challenging tasks that enable them to think independently. An effective strategy seen in many lessons was when students were encouraged to work in collaboration with their peers. However, a significant minority of lessons were only satisfactory. This was because, despite clear learning intentions, students were not given enough scope to explore ideas using interesting resources. The quality of marking and feedback is inconsistent, both across and within departments. The most effective marking gives students clear written information about what they have achieved and how they can improve.
The headteacher and senior leaders are fully aware of the school's strengths and areas for development. There has been tangible progress made in tackling inconsistent practice across departments through the introduction of structured self-evaluation processes. However, these have only recently been introduced and their effectiveness is not evident across all departments.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
Students join the school with above average attainment. By the time they leave, the majority have attained high standards at GCSE. Attainment is particularly good in English, mathematics, religious education and Spanish. In 2008, attainment in all science subjects was below the national average, but results increased considerably in 2009, following the implementation of effective improvement strategies.
Most students make good progress. A small group of boys did not make the expected progress in 2008 and the school has now put in place a number of strategies, including a more flexible curriculum that is already helping to re-engage boys in their learning. Students work diligently in lessons, seeking to produce their best work. They are interested and enthusiastic when stimulated by good teaching resources. A new integrated humanities course in Year 7 has a strong focus on equipping students with the skills they require to be effective learners. Students' good behaviour in lessons further supports their learning. They respond well to requests from staff and behave considerately towards each other.
Students are positive and friendly, and keen to talk about what they are doing. They enjoy school, participate well in a wide range of extra-curricular activities and take up a number of positions of responsibility. For example, older students act as peer readers and sports leaders. Students have the opportunity to participate in an active school council. They are prepared well for their future through personalised provision that meets their different needs. The parent of a Year 11 student particularly welcomed the opportunity the school gave her son to attend college one day each week. This provision helped him to decide on a suitable career path. Although students have opportunities for spiritual development in several subjects, including English and art, this is not consistent across the wider curriculum.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||2|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||2|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||2|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
Teaching has improved since the last inspection with most lessons now enabling students to make good progress. Teachers often select contexts that are relevant and interesting, so that students are keen to explore them. For example, students writing a job application letter were motivated by the posts of 'scarecrow' or 'heir to the throne'. As a result, their discussion of possible content was imaginative, persuasive and perceptive. Students respond well to a range of activities within lessons and enjoy opportunities to work collaboratively. In many lessons teachers make effective use of information communication technology. For example, through the use of interactive whiteboards to enthuse, motivate and promote discussion, or by encouraging students to use computers for research, analysis or expression of ideas. Lessons are usually planned to take account of students' different abilities. Students learn well when teachers adjust planning to accelerate or revisit coverage of ideas in response to students' understanding. Teachers give helpful individual guidance in lessons, although occasionally there is a tendency for teachers to give the answer or do the task, rather than develop students' understanding through questioning.
The curriculum shows evidence of innovation and personalisation to meet the needs of all students including a small group of low attaining students who find it difficult to engage with their learning. The new skills-based curriculum in Year 7 appears to be effective in motivating and engaging students but the school has yet to monitor and evaluate the impact of this key change. Further curriculum development is planned to give students in Key Stage 4 a broader range of pathways. Partnership arrangements, driven by the school's information communication technology specialism, are a strength of the curriculum.
Students and their parents are confident that the school is preparing them well for their future. Students are known as individuals and a strong pastoral structure supports intervention when necessary. For example, students have access to a number of important external support agencies including a weekly counselling session. Evidence was seen of the excellent provision made for students who had diverse and challenging needs. Very effective transition arrangements ensure that students who join Year 7 settle into their new school quickly and smoothly. The appointment of a primary specialist, who works with the most vulnerable students further enhances this transition. A parent commented that their child left Light Hall with excellent results due to 'the support they received and the pastoral care that maintained their self esteem'.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||2|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
The headteacher and senior leaders provide the school with clear and effective strategic leadership and direction. Their vision to improve achievement for all students through improved teaching, a more appropriate curriculum and high quality individual support and intervention is shared by staff and governors. There are clearly defined roles and responsibilities throughout the school and subject leaders are held accountable for the performance of their departments. However, there is still some variation in the performance of departments and the understanding of effective teaching and learning is not consistent across the school. Self-evaluation has identified appropriate areas for improvement and suitable plans have been put in place. However, the lack of sufficient measurable success criteria is likely to make it difficult for leaders, including governors, to monitor the success of the school's actions.
All requirements for the safeguarding of students were in place at the time of the inspection. The school has thorough and robust systems for assessing risk and ensuring the health and safety of staff and students. Its outstanding practice in this area has been shared through partnerships with other schools. Partnerships are used effectively to support students' learning and wellbeing with particular strengths at transition and in support of the most vulnerable students. Equality policies are in place, although the gender equality policy is insufficiently detailed. Nevertheless, the school has accurately identified the inequality between the achievement of boys and girls and put in place effective action to address this issue. The school is building a cohesive community and has a good understanding of its context. Students from different backgrounds get on well together and the school is developing its outreach work in the local community.
Governance has improved since the last inspection. Governors know the school well and continue to provide support. They are increasingly challenging the school to explain outcomes and actions.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||2|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||2|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||2|
Less than a quarter of parents and carers returned the inspection questionnaire. Of these parents and carers, the overwhelming majority are happy with their children's experiences in the school. They agree that their children enjoy school and feel safe. A few specific concerns were raised about poor behaviour or instances of bullying, but inspectors found that behaviour around the school and in lessons was good and any instances of bullying were dealt with effectively. Parents and carers expressed confidence with the way that the school is led, the quality of the teaching and the progress being made by their children.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Light Hall to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school. The inspection team received 280 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 1226 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||91||33||170||61||19||7||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||79||28||193||69||3||1||1||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||71||25||172||61||20||7||5||2|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||68||24||180||64||14||5||1||0|
|The teaching is good at this school||61||22||187||67||17||6||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||51||18||185||66||30||11||2||1|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||37||13||191||68||39||14||1||0|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||54||19||188||67||7||3||4||1|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||54||19||186||66||16||6||2||1|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||62||22||168||60||22||8||6||2|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||34||12||182||65||26||9||5||2|
|The school is led and managed effectively||59||21||183||65||10||4||2||1|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||90||44||90||44||9||4||2||1|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
4 December 2009
Inspection of Light Hall School, Solihull B90 2PZ
Thank you for the warm welcome you gave the inspection team when we visited your school recently. We enjoyed being in your lessons and talking to you and were impressed with the maturity with which you answered our questions. Yours is a good and improving school and you are rightly proud of it.
These are the main findings of the inspection.
The standards you reach at the end of Year 11 are high and prepare you well to move onto further education or training.
The majority of you make good progress and although there is still some difference in the progress of boys and girls the gap is closing.
Most teaching is good and you are given opportunities to think independently and work in collaboration with other students.
Staff take considerable care to make sure you are looked after well and supported through school.
Your school is led and managed well but not all departments monitor their work as effectively as others.
We have asked the school to make the following improvements.
Work with your teachers to make sure that more of your lessons are good or outstanding, with better marking and a greater range of engaging activities.
Monitor your performance closely in all subject areas and intervene quickly if you are not making good progress.
We would like you to help your school by continuing to work hard and behave well.
Thank you again for helping us with the inspection of your school. We wish you every success in the future
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|