Headteacher: Mrs Julie Tridgell
1053 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||126465|
|Inspection dates||14–15 October 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Peter Sanderson HMI|
|Type of school||Comprehensive|
|Age range of pupils||11–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1208|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||11 June 2008|
|School address||Akers Way|
|Swindon SN2 2NQ|
|Telephone number||01793 528800|
|Fax number||01793 430394|
|Inspection dates||14–15 October 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and four additional inspectors. The inspectors visited 38 part lessons, and held meetings with governors, staff and groups of students. They observed the school's work, and looked at the school's self-evaluation and planning documents, policy documents, students' books, 178 parental questionnaires, and staff questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
Nova Hreod School is a larger than average secondary school that moved into new buildings in April 2007. Most students are of White British heritage and the number of students whose first language is not English is well below the national average. The number of students eligible for free school meals is similar to that found in most schools. The proportion of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is above the national average. The most commonly identified of these needs relates to moderate learning difficulties and emotional and behavioural difficulties. The school achieved specialist status in science and mathematics with computing in 2006.
The school was given a Notice to Improve at its last inspection. Significant improvement was required in relation to teaching, learning and achievement.
|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
In accordance with section 13 (5) of the education act 2005, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector is of the opinion that the school no longer requires significant improvement. Nova Hreod now provides students with a satisfactory standard of education and is improving rapidly. The new headteacher has provided the school with outstanding leadership since her appointment 14 months ago and she has instigated a number of changes that are leading to significant improvement. Improved systems for setting challenging targets and tracking students' progress have been established. The data collected are now used well to identify individuals or groups of students who are underachieving and they are provided with effective support. Line management systems are robust and staff are being held accountable for students' outcomes. Staff's expectations of students' attitudes, behaviour and progress have been raised and there is a developing culture of high challenge in the school. There is now a justified sense of pride in the school's successes and an enthusiasm to build on them.
There was a significant rise in Year 11 examination standards in 2008 and provisional results indicate a further large rise in 2009. Standards are now close to the national average although there is variation in the standards students reach in different subjects. Students are making satisfactory progress in their learning. Many are regaining ground that they had lost in previous years. However, rates of progress are not yet consistently good in all subjects across the school. Good improvements in teaching and learning have underpinned the rising standards. Teaching and learning are now satisfactory. A significant proportion of lessons are good and some are outstanding, but there is still variation in the quality of teaching, which has an impact on the progress students make across the school. Teachers are not always providing students with sufficiently challenging activities, particularly the most able. Some marking of work gives clear and helpful advice to students about how to improve. However, this good practice is not yet consistent across the school. As a result, although students know their targets and how well they are doing they are less clear about the next steps in their learning.
Students are appreciative of their new building and there is a welcoming ethos in the school. They enjoy school and attendance levels have improved since the last inspection and are now above average. Behaviour in lessons and around the school is satisfactory and improving rapidly due to the consistent application of the school's behaviour for learning policy.
Strong leadership and management have underpinned the improvement since the previous inspection, and leaders have a good capacity to sustain this level of effectiveness. This is evident in good systems of self-evaluation, a good plan to tackle identified weaknesses and a good recent track record in improving teaching and students' achievement. The school's specialist school status has made a satisfactory contribution to the school's improvement. Resources have been used to improve information and communication technology (ICT) facilities across the school and this has had a positive impact on teaching and learning. Work in the school's specialist subjects has led to an improvement in standards in these areas. However, the specialism has had less impact on improving standards and progress across the school.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
The progress made by students in lessons is improving. Students made good or even better progress in a number of lessons observed during this inspection; however this was not consistently the case as in a number of lessons progress was satisfactory. Students are beginning to catch up the ground that was lost in their earlier years at the school and the progress they make from Year 7 to Year 11 is now satisfactory. Standards at the end of Year 11 have risen significantly during the past two years and the school's tracking data indicate they are due to rise again in 2010. Standards are now broadly average and the school attained its statutory target for the percentage of students attaining five or more A* to C grades including English and mathematics in 2009. However, there is variation in the standards students reach in different subjects. For example, in 2009 students attained standards close to the national average in English and mathematics but below average in history and geography. Standards are rising in the school's specialist subjects of mathematics, science and ICT but challenging targets in these subjects were not attained in 2009. The progress made by nearly all groups of students is similar. However, the number of the higher A* and A grades attained in 2009 was less than expected and inspectors observed that some lessons do not sufficiently challenge more able students.
Students are developing personal skills well. Their spiritual, moral, cultural and social development is good and is well supported by a range of opportunities provided by the school. Students have a good knowledge of how to lead a healthy lifestyle, the 'Stellar Diner' offers a range of healthy foods and a large number of students participate in after-school sporting activities. The school has attained the healthy schools and sportsmark awards in recognition of its work in this area. The school has a number of links with the local community providing students with the opportunity to become involved in a range of activities such as becoming sports leaders in local primary schools and visiting elderly people's homes at Christmas. The school council is active and students' views are actively sought and responded to. The curriculum and links with local business and industry help develop students' enterprise and work-related skills well. However, their satisfactory development of literacy and numeracy skills means that their preparation for the world of work or the next stage in their education is satisfactory.
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
The leadership team have taken very effective steps to significantly reduce the amount of inadequate teaching that was seen during the last inspection. Much of the teaching is now good or better but there is also much teaching which remains satisfactory. There are good relationships in lessons and students become willingly involved in the activities provided for them. Teachers have good subject knowledge and lessons are generally well planned using a common planning format. In the best lessons, activities are pitched at the right level for all students in the class, students are actively involved in a range of activities and learning proceeds at a high pace. Questioning is also used very effectively to check and develop students' learning. However, in a number of lessons teachers talk for too long, use a limited range of teaching strategies and the pace of learning is satisfactory. Not all teachers are making effective use of assessment information to plan lessons that sufficiently challenge all students, particularly the more able. Some teachers mark work well and give very effective feedback to students about how to improve their learning. However, this is not consistently the case across the school. The leadership team is aware of these issues and has good plans in place for further improvement. The quality of teaching in the school is improving quickly.
The curriculum has been developed well and offers a broad range of experiences to students of all ages and abilities. In Years 10 and 11 a wide range of both academic and vocational courses are offered to students. A strength of the curriculum is the partnership with other schools and the local authority in developing diploma courses for these year groups. There is also the opportunity for more able students to start GCSE courses in science and mathematics in Year 9. The school's specialism contributes adequately to students' enjoyment of the curriculum. A growing number of activities to link learning between subjects, such as the science and English walks studying nature and poetry, was described by a student as, 'the best fun we have had in school'. However, the school still needs to better co-ordinate the development of students' literacy and numeracy skills across all subjects. The range of enrichment activities and trips offered to students is very broad, and participation in these activities is good. These contribute positively to students' personal development.
Students feel safe in school and they are confident staff will deal effectively with any concerns that are raised with them. The school has particularly well organised support systems for students with emotional, social and confidence problems. Staff also work very effectively with a wide range of external agencies to ensure that students whose circumstances make them vulnerable are well cared for and supported. The organisation of in-class help for students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is currently under review in order to better target and improve the effectiveness of this support. Students enjoy school and attendance levels have improved since the last inspection because of robust systems to monitor absence and to stress the importance of frequent attendance. Good and helpful careers advice is given to students regarding future course and career options.
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 outstanding leadership of the headteacher, with the support of an increasingly effective senior leadership team, has brought significant improvements to teaching and learning and students' achievement. The weaknesses identified at the previous inspection have been addressed and the school is improving rapidly. The senior leadership team is committed to ensuring that all students achieve well. The progress of all groups of students is carefully tracked and effective strategies are now being put in place to tackle underachievement. Systems of self-evaluation are robust, and good plans are in place to drive further improvement. A new line management structure has been established and middle leaders are increasingly being held to account for students' progress. However, variation in teaching and students' achievement across the school indicate that not all middle leaders are equally effective at driving improvement. The governors, through the standards committee, are effective in supporting and challenging the school and make an important contribution to the raising achievement agenda.
Safeguarding procedures in the school are secure and checks on staff are robust and fully meet government requirements. Child protection procedures are fully in place and the school works effectively with outside agencies to ensure the safety of students.
The school makes a good contribution to community cohesion through its links with the local community and other countries. For example, very good use has been made of links with District Six in Cape Town, South Africa to develop students' cultural awareness. Students' understanding of the diversity of faiths, ethnicities and cultures found within the UK are developed satisfactorily through the curriculum and through links with a school in Reading.
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||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||3|
The very large majority of questionnaires received from parents/carers were supportive of the school. Some parents raised a concern about how staff deal with unacceptable behaviour. However, inspectors judged that teachers manage students' behaviour well, and that behaviour is satisfactory and improving rapidly.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of students registered at Nova Hreod 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 178 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 1,208 students registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||60||34||108||61||10||6||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||66||37||109||61||1||1||0||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||62||35||95||53||13||7||1||1|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||55||31||109||61||8||5||1||1|
|The teaching is good at this school||37||21||117||66||12||7||3||2|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||40||23||102||57||26||15||2||1|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||30||17||114||64||19||11||2||1|
|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)||55||31||101||57||9||5||0||0|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||50||28||109||61||11||6||2||1|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||52||29||80||45||27||15||6||3|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||31||17||109||61||18||10||3||2|
|The school is led and managed effectively||56||32||106||60||7||4||5||3|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||66||37||96||54||9||5||3||2|
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.
16 October 2009
Inspection of Nova Hreod, Swindon, SN2 2NQ
Thank you for being so welcoming when we came to inspect your school recently.
We very much enjoyed our discussions with you. Now that we have finished the inspection, we wanted to let you know our findings.
We think your school has significantly improved since its last inspection. It now provides you with a satisfactory standard of education and is improving rapidly. We are very pleased to let you know that we have removed the 'Notice to Improve' that was given to the school 16 months ago. The following points are the key strengths of your school.
The standards you reach at the end of Year 11 have significantly improved over the past couple of years and are now broadly average. In order to raise standards to above average, we have asked the leadership team to make a couple of important improvements. In some of your lessons, teachers provide all of you with tasks that are challenging and engaging. In these lessons, you make good progress. We have asked the leadership team to make sure that more of your lessons are like this. We have also asked them to work closely with middle leaders to reduce the variation in progress you make between different subjects.
You can help to make these improvements by continuing to be actively involved in activities arranged for you by staff.
I wish you all good luck for the future.
Her Majesty's Inspector
|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 email@example.com.|