Sneyd Community School
- Aug. 31, 2011)
Phone:01922 *** ***
Headteacher: Dr Sean Sweeney
186 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||104252|
|Inspection dates||3–4 February 2010|
|Reporting inspector||Davinder Dosanjh HMI|
|Type of school||Nursery|
|Age range of pupils||11–18|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||618|
|Of which, number on roll in the sixth form||62|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||12 November 2008|
|School address||Vernon Way|
|Sneyd Lane, Bloxwich|
|Walsall WS3 2PA|
|Telephone number||01922 710298|
|Fax number||01922 473145|
|Inspection dates||3–4 February 2010|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and three additional inspectors. The majority of time was spent looking at teaching and learning, including the observation of 23 lessons and 10 short observations during a learning walk with a senior manager; 29 teachers were observed. Meetings were held with staff, groups of students and representatives of the interim executive board. Inspectors observed the school's work and looked at the school's action plan, the school's tracking data and a variety of documents and policies. They also scrutinised 83 parental questionnaires, 108 student questionnaires and 73 staff questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
Information about the school
Sneyd Community School is a specialist mathematics and computing college. It is smaller than the average secondary school and has a very small sixth form. The proportion of students eligible for free school meals is well above average. The vast majority of students are from White British backgrounds. The proportion of students identified with special educational needs and/or disabilities is similar to the national figure. An interim headteacher has been in post since November 2007.
When the school was inspected in November 2008, it was given a notice to improve. Significant improvement was required in pupils' achievement, in the quality of teaching and learning, and in the sixth form.
The local authority has taken the decision to close the school at the end of August 2012 so there will be no new Year 7 students joining the school. Current Year 9 students will be supported in a move to other schools before they start Year 10.
|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(3) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.
The school's leaders have faced a number of difficulties since it was given a notice to improve, which have hindered its progress. Key members of staff have left and a high number of students have transferred to other schools. The school has had to deal with a budget deficit, partly due to the falling roll, which has entailed making staff redundant. Attainment in 2009 showed a marked improvement on 2008 with the proportion of students who gained five or more GCSE passes at grades A* to C including English and mathematics increasing by eight percentage points. Despite this improvement, the figure remains well below the national average and below the Government minimum target of 30%. Students also make less than expected progress.
Under these difficult circumstances, the school's leaders remain positive and very committed. Faced with a legacy of underachievement, they have managed to accelerate students' progress and improve their attainment from a very low base despite severe staff shortages in English and mathematics and one third of staff employed on a temporary basis. Leaders have focused on ensuring that the drive for improvement continues by monitoring lessons and samples of work on a regular basis. Since the last inspection there have been improvements in the overall quality of education provided in the sixth form which is now satisfactory. The proportion of inadequate teaching has been reduced and staff supported to improve their practice. Care, guidance and support are now satisfactory. The school has established an effective system for tracking students' progress and subject leaders use this system very well to analyse students' results and target intervention.
The majority of students enjoy school and feel safe, but this is not always reflected in attendance which is low and declining. Behaviour is generally satisfactory, although a very small minority of students and staff raised some concerns about the management of poor behaviour. Some minor disruption occurs in lessons where activities are not challenging or engaging. Students' low levels of attainment, especially in basic skills, and their poor attendance demonstrate that they are not developing workplace skills adequately and are not prepared effectively for the next stage of their lives.
Teaching is satisfactory with an increasing proportion that is good. In the best lessons students are highly engaged and work is well matched to their different abilities; in others, work is not sufficiently demanding. Lessons are sometimes too dominated by teachers, and activities do not allow students to take responsibility for their own learning. There are limited opportunities across the curriculum for students to improve their literacy. The feedback given to students about what they need to do to improve is of inconsistent quality. The school's specialist status has not yet had a significant impact on raising students' attainment across the curriculum.
The capacity of the school to secure future improvement is very fragile. There are appropriate plans in place to tackle the continuing departure of teachers and senior leaders. However, although the school is accurate in the evaluation of its weaknesses, the rate of improvement is not consistent across the school and examination results in some subjects remain low. While teaching is improving, too much remains no better than satisfactory and is therefore not addressing the legacy of underachievement fast enough. The school continues to receive significant external support due to the difficult circumstances it faces.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
Overall attainment in GCSE examinations is low. All groups underachieve, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. In the lessons observed by inspectors, students' progress was as expected, but their progress over time, as seen in many workbooks, was not always good enough.
Students say that they feel safe at school and that staff work hard, and successfully, to tackle bullying. Students treat the school facilities well and show respect for staff. Most students make healthy choices about the food that they eat, and many take part in extra-curricular activities. Their understanding of the dangers of smoking, drug-taking and alcohol is satisfactory, but they are less sure about sexual health risks and pregnancy. Students make a satisfactory contribution to their local community, for example by fund-raising for local charities. After a period of improvement, attendance has now fallen to below average. Students enjoy school when they are challenged in lessons and they are effectively supported in their learning. Students' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 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||3|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||3|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||3|
|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||3|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
Where teaching was judged to be good or better, teachers used highly effective questioning to enable students to make progress and employed a wide variety of learning activities. For example, in English several students said that teaching was brilliant and that they enjoyed learning. There are examples of high-quality marking. In science, marking is diagnostic with comments from the teacher which clearly give advice about what the students need to do to get to the next level. However, elsewhere marking is frequently cursory, providing very little information about a student's performance, current working level or grade, or how to improve.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum is well balanced, while at Key Stage 4 an alternative curriculum has increased the engagement of disaffected students. Students can take a range of examination pathways from 12 GCSEs to a combination of GCSEs and vocational qualifications. Information and communication technology is increasingly used to enhance teaching. There are a number of extra-curricular programmes, including booster classes and coursework sessions in virtually all subjects, and a range of sporting activities, including weight training. Trips abroad include skiing, and the creative arts are prominent with high-profile performances and choirs.
Students speak highly of the advice and guidance that they receive from the careers service. Students say that they feel supported to make choices about their next steps and that they have been well prepared for a move to another school. The school has a wide range of support in place for students. Participation in the education business partnership gives students access to a range of work experience opportunities and mock interviews in Year 11. There are robust procedures in place for keeping students safe during work experience. The provision for children who are looked after is satisfactory. The school has a range of successful behaviour management strategies to identify and support students who are exhibiting challenging behaviour. The recent provision of mentoring and coaching by dedicated staff appears to be having an impact on outcomes for some of the most vulnerable students.
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||3|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||3|
Despite the turbulence faced by the school, the headteacher has maintained effective day-to-day management while seeking to resolve staffing issues and accommodate the fall in student numbers. Staff remain proud to be part of the school and continue to ensure students have valuable support. Only a very small minority raised concerns about the leadership of the school and the closure. The comprehensive raising achievement plan provides a detailed overview of recent actions with some reference to impact and future plans. The school remains in the intensive support category of the Black Country Challenge. Although senior leaders are accurate in their assessment of the quality of teaching and learning, too much teaching remains no better than satisfactory. While a range of professional development has taken place for teachers, it has not yet had a significant impact.
Governance of the school is at a transition point; the intentions of the interim executive board, which contains some members of the former governing body, are to raise the level of challenge while supporting the school prior to its closure. The interim executive board monitors the school, effectively discharges its statutory duties and understands the school's strengths and weaknesses.
The school's relationship with parents is generally positive. Additional information evenings have taken place for gifted and talented students, which have been well attended. The school has a wide range of partnerships which support students effectively in their personal development and well-being. In particular, the alternative curriculum is leading to better attendance, improved behaviour and reduction of fixed-term and permanent exclusions. Safeguarding procedures meet statutory requirements. The school has satisfactory systems in place for monitoring these and gives high priority to those students potentially most at risk.
A clear analysis is undertaken of the performance of all groups. The school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination in a variety of curriculum areas and through assemblies. Very few incidents of racist behaviour are reported. The school has a detailed action plan in place to develop the promotion of community cohesion and greater engagement with the local community and beyond, but the evaluation of this is in the early stages.
Overall, in view of the inadequate achievement of students, the budget deficit, and the high number of staff on temporary contacts, the school does not provide adequate value for money.
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||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||3|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||4|
The sixth form shows significant improvement since the last inspection, not least in students' performance at GCE A level. Based on their starting points when entering the sixth form, and as measured by examination outcomes, students make satisfactory progress. Most lessons also show students make satisfactory progress. Sometimes, there is too much teacher input and too few opportunities for independent learning, although in the best lessons teachers use challenging questions which require students to think, discuss and apply their prior learning to new situations. Teachers' subject knowledge is generally very good.
The school offers a satisfactory range of subjects to suit the needs of students. The allocation of time for courses in the sixth form is one hour short of that recommended for level 3 courses, which contributes to students' weak performance at GCE AS level. A satisfactory range of enrichment activities includes sports, visits to universities, trips to plays and overseas, and music and drama activities. Tracking procedures, which monitor the progress of students against targets, are much improved. Students feel well supported and have regular dates on which their progress is reviewed.
These are the grades for the sixth form
|Overall effectiveness of the sixth form|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for students in the sixth form
The quality of provision in the sixth form
Leadership and management of the sixth form
Views of parents and carers
Parents and carers who responded to the inspection questionnaire, although relatively few in number, are generally very positive about the school. Most parents and carers feel that the school keeps their child safe and that their child enjoys school. A very small minority disagrees that their child is being well prepared for the future, that the school takes account of suggestions and concerns and that the school is led and managed effectively. Parents were very supportive during the closure debate, and there has been disappointment arising from the recent decision to close the school. A number of individual parental concerns were discussed with the headteacher, who continues to respond to these.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of students registered at Sneyd Community 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 83 completed questionnaires by the end of the
on-site inspection. In total, there are 618 students registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||28||34||51||61||3||4||1||1|
|The school keeps my child safe||35||42||45||54||2||2||0||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||32||39||45||54||5||6||0||0|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||30||36||47||57||4||5||1||1|
|The teaching is good at this school||23||28||55||66||4||5||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||19||23||53||64||7||8||2||2|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||22||27||53||64||7||8||2||2|
|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)||24||29||44||53||20||12||0||0|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||21||25||55||66||7||8||0||0|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||28||34||42||51||6||7||3||4|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||22||27||50||60||8||10||0||0|
|The school is led and managed effectively||29||35||43||52||9||11||0||0|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||33||40||43||52||4||5||2||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.
5 February 2010
Inspection of Sneyd Community School, Walsall WS3 2PA
Thank you for making the inspection team so welcome at your school. We all enjoyed talking with you and you helped us to find out about the school.
We found that the school has improved in some respects since the last inspection but at present it does not provide you with a satisfactory standard of education. We have therefore placed the school in 'special measures'. This will mean the school gets additional support and further visits will be made by inspectors to monitor the progress it is making. The school leaders have faced many difficult challenges arising from the decision to close the school including staffing changes and a falling roll. Staff at the school are determined to carry on providing you with effective support.
The positive changes made to the school include the improvements in the quality of education in the sixth form, the care and support you receive and the teaching, all of which are now satisfactory. Most of you, and your parents, think the school is a safe place. Behaviour is satisfactory and the curriculum enables you to study a range of courses. Examination results at GCSE, while improving, are still too low and the progress you are making is not as good as it should be. Your attendance is low overall. Leaders recognise the weaknesses in the school and are taking appropriate action.
We have asked the school to make the following improvements:
The headteacher and school staff are already working hard to improve these areas.
We wish you well in 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.|