Longton High School
Result of Amalgamation
- Aug. 31, 2010)
Phone:01782 *** ***
Headteacher: Mrs Jan Webber
see new Sandon Business and Enterprise College
241 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||124386|
|Inspection dates||14–15 October 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Brian Cartwright HMI|
|Type of school||Secondary|
|Age range of pupils||11–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||250|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Anthony Walley|
|Headteacher||Mrs Jan Webber|
|Date of previous school inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Box Lane|
|Staffordshire ST3 5PR|
|Telephone number||01782 599232|
|Fax number||01782 597539|
|Inspection dates||14–15 October 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and two additional inspectors. The inspectors visited 15 lessons, and held meetings with governors, local authority representatives, the National Challenge adviser, staff and students. They observed the school's work, and looked at key school policies, governing body minutes, recent school examination results and students' work.
Longton High School is expected to close as a separate institution at the end of the 2009–10 academic year. Educational provision for all current students will still continue on the site. Students and staff will become part of nearby Sandon School from September 2010. There are sharply reducing numbers of students; the number on roll has declined from 763 at the previous inspection. No Year 7 pupils were admitted in 2009. A high proportion of students have special educational needs and/or disabilities. The proportion of students who speak English as an additional language has risen to well above the national average. Many of these students are at an early stage in learning English. The proportion of students from minority heritage backgrounds is above average. The proportion of students eligible for free school meals is higher than average. A high proportion of students join the school part-way through a school year.
|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
Longton High School is maintaining a sound education for all of its students, despite the rapidly changing circumstances it faces. Much of the school's provision is good, with an outstanding focus on equality of opportunity and community cohesion. The headteacher personifies this ambition to overcome barriers to learning, and her leadership team, other staff and governors mirror her vision. This relentless focus on challenging inequality and barriers to learning has substantially improved overall outcomes for students compared with the previous inspection. The school accurately knows its own strengths and areas for development. The school has developed a very good curriculum for all students including a wide range of relevant vocational options in Key Stage 4. The school also systematically teaches personal development skills in all years. Students find these lessons relevant and interesting, and they are an effective part of preparing students for future adult life. The arts college specialism helps to engage students through studies that improve self-confidence and communication skills. Students' attendance remains low despite gradual improvement over time; this is a major factor preventing a small minority of students from reaching their potential.
Set against this good provision are the continuing low standards in the key subjects of English, mathematics and science at Key Stage 4. Inspectors agree with the school that most teaching is good, with nothing that is inadequate. But the participation and engagement of students in many lessons is not always high enough for them to make better than satisfactory progress. The very best lessons demand full engagement from students because teachers insist upon a response from each student. This is more common in some of the specialist subjects at Key Stage 4 and is also evident in the rising key subject standards at Key Stage 3. For older students a legacy of passive learning and missed opportunity for full participation in every lesson has limited their overall progress to no better than expected. The school is doing everything possible to counter this element of passivity, for example with intensive work on English and mathematics for the current Year 11. Additional resources from the National Challenge programme effectively support these interventions.
About 40% of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory may receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
The achievement and enjoyment of students is satisfactory, with much that is good. Students begin their secondary school journey with academic standards that are generally below national expectations. The Year 11 group who completed their courses in 2009 had exceptionally low standards on entry. Those students all made at least satisfactory progress, and almost all of them made good progress in subjects that matched their interests and skills. Overall measures of attainment matched national averages in many cases, and exceeded the school's previous best performance by a substantial margin. However, standards in the key subjects of English, mathematics and science remained below average at Key Stage 4 despite extensive intervention and support. Standards in these subjects at Key Stage 3 matched national figures, indicating good progress for younger students. In all lessons, students make at least reasonable progress, but some are reluctant to participate fully in lessons until explicitly directed to do so. Once they respond to that direction, learning accelerates and achievement becomes good. Students with special educational needs and/or disabilities make better than expected progress because of effective, personalised support.
The behaviour of students is satisfactory overall, and they are content with school life. The school is calm and orderly and students respond politely to questions from adults. In satisfactory lessons, students' concentration sometimes drifts away from their work, and not many students are willing to offer answers spontaneously to general questions directed to the whole class. This reticence to take some personal initiative in their learning is hampering progress for those students. More-able students will rise to more difficult challenges when asked to do so, but they sometimes choose to work at the same pace as the rest of the class. The school effectively supports students at an early stage of English language development. The school has faced considerable challenges recently in managing the arrival of students from Eastern Europe. It has been successful in recruiting bilingual teaching assistants. Students are very supportive towards new arrivals, as befits the school's excellent focus on inclusion.
This commitment of students to helping one another, and of working beyond the school to help develop other children's understanding of diversity, is unique. It is an outstanding example of students' involvement in community cohesion. Students have a good understanding of cultural and social issues in their locality and wider society, thanks to very good personal development programmes. Students told inspectors they felt safe in school, and were very confident that the school dealt swiftly and effectively with any instance of bullying. Some younger students felt that on occasions around the school corridors one or two individuals could be rude or boisterous. Incidents of more serious misbehaviour are infrequent and reducing, although fixed-term exclusions remain above the national average. Many students involved in these incidents are recent arrivals from other schools and have previously found school life to be challenging. The school has several examples of successfully improving the behaviour and attitudes of young people whose circumstances have made them hard to place in mainstream settings. Students enjoy the healthy food available in the canteen, and the majority take part in additional sporting activity during the week. Overall, attendance is improving but it is still too low for a minority of students. Efforts by the school to improve attendance are at times frustrated by families who remove their children from school for extended holidays during term time.
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
Inspectors agree with the school's evaluation that teaching is good. There are many examples of outstanding teaching that captivate and enthuse students. Such lessons are fast paced, have a variety of learning activities, and demand full participation from every student in writing, speaking and physical actions. The learning ethos is good humoured and encouraging, so students are comfortable with trying their best without fear of failure. The best lessons have clear success criteria that students are thrilled to be able to achieve; when they do so they are very proud of their success. In lessons where progress is satisfactory, students have less demand made upon them. Here, teachers invite students to contribute to class discussion rather than require them to do so. Teachers are understandably anxious to ensure that the ground is covered, but in doing so lose the full attention of a minority of students; students, in turn, are not always that keen to learn. One student told us that lessons were 'boring' if the teacher spent a long time talking, but then another said such lessons were 'great' as students did not have to do any work. Both comments reflect the remaining weaknesses in teaching and students' attitudes to learning. Marking accurately identifies good work. Students get clear advice on how to correct or improve weaker work. However, only on rare occasions do students respond to that advice by making the corrections.
The curriculum has continued to develop effectively despite the large reduction in the numbers of students and staff. There are excellent partnership arrangements with other local providers, allowing a wide range of vocationally based subjects, including diplomas, to operate successfully. Students like these courses and do well in them as a result. In addition, arts college specialism has consolidated the school's existing good use of creative ideas for learning. It has provided modern information and communication technology that helps students with poor literacy and numeracy skills to express themselves better. The school is steadfast in its conviction that performing arts will improve students' self-esteem and confidence, and deliver useful qualifications for future study and work. One example of the impact of this creative curriculum is the halving of the proportion of students who leave school without engaging in further education, training or employment. It is now in line with national figures.
Good care, guidance and support are effectively ensuring that students' needs are being met as far as possible. Very good partnerships with other agencies are one reason for the good progress made by students with special educational needs and/or disabilities. A deputy headteacher is the special educational needs coordinator. This senior level of appointment reflects the importance placed by the school on inclusion. An expert director of inclusion manages the wide range of support services. The school can point to many examples of transformational change for the better in the lives of vulnerable young people in its care. The tracking of students' progress is thorough and, should students fall short of expectations, it triggers sustained intervention, including one-to-one tuition. The fruits are showing in key subject standards at Key Stage 3.
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||2|
The most impressive strength of this school is the determination of staff and governors to overcome barriers to learning. Their efforts are bearing fruit, with most outcomes for students improving rapidly. Everything connects back to the effective leadership and dedication of the headteacher. She personifies the high expectations shared by her staff, and she empowers her leadership team to take the initiative in developing solutions. For example, the arts college specialist leader has begun an approach to helping 'young mums' re-engage in education, through a performing arts course. The school is careful to ensure that students stay safe, and it is compliant with statutory child protection procedures.
The school is taking the initiative in reaching out beyond its own students to their wider families in order to raise local aspirations and tackle inequality. Governors are active in working with parents and carers to combat racist attitudes. School students of all backgrounds spend time in local predominantly White British heritage primary and secondary schools delivering sessions to try to break down local prejudice and eliminate tensions. Other students have composed a DVD on improving literacy that is now with 5,000 local children to help raise literacy standards in the authority. All these initiatives are indicative of exceptional effectiveness in tackling inequality and promoting community cohesion.
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||3|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||1|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||3|
Very few parents and carers responded to the Ofsted questionnaire. The school's own surveys of parents and carers report general satisfaction with the quality of education.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Longton High School 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 12 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 250 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||2||17||6||50||2||17||2||17|
|The school keeps my child safe||1||8||8||67||2||17||1||8|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||1||8||9||75||1||8||1||8|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||2||17||5||42||4||33||1||8|
|The teaching is good at this school||2||17||7||58||2||17||1||8|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||1||8||8||67||2||17||1||8|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||0||0||6||50||5||42||1||8|
|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)||1||8||7||58||3||25||1||8|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||1||8||8||67||2||17||1||8|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||1||8||8||67||2||17||1||8|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||3||25||6||50||1||8||1||8|
|The school is led and managed effectively||2||17||7||58||1||8||1||8|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||1||8||4||33||2||17||1||8|
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.
Thank you for your contribution to our inspection of your school. Your questionnaires and verbal comments were important parts of the evidence we collected. Your school continues to improve well, with many measures of performance rising strongly. The very good curriculum offered by the school is driving this improvement. It means you have many courses to choose that match your needs and interests. However, standards at Key Stage 4 in English, mathematics and science are still low. Overall, you are making satisfactory academic progress and the school is providing a sound education. The school is exceptionally good at helping students to overcome any barriers to learning that they face. The dedication of your headteacher and her senior staff to continue to improve outcomes for local people, including yourselves, is inspirational. The work you do as students to promote racial harmony and community cohesion with other schools is outstanding. The recent arts college specialism has effectively boosted progress in many vocational subjects, and is playing a major part in developing your self-confidence and communication skills.
Teaching is good, although in some lessons some students do not spontaneously take the opportunities they are given to fully participate, and therefore do not make good progress. In the best lessons, teachers insist that all students take part through answering questions, talking about their learning with partners, and doing individual written and practical work. Attendance is improving but for a minority of students is too low to ensure that they fully benefit from the good curriculum and teaching at the school. The school could improve further by:
Best wishes for your next steps in learning
|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.|