phone: 0121 4642400
headteacher: Mrs Elaine Kenney
1750 pupils capacity: 102% full
1780 girls 100%
Last updated: June 18, 2014
Secondary — Community School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Community School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 408461, Northing: 281334
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 52.43, Longitude: -1.877
- Accepting pupils
- 11—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Nov. 20, 2013
- Region › Const. › Ward
- West Midlands › Birmingham, Selly Oak › Billesley
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Science (Operational)
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.3 miles The Dame Ellen Pinsent School B130RW (123 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Wheelers Lane Junior School B130SJ
- 0.4 miles Wheelers Lane Infant School B130SJ
- 0.5 miles Billesley Junior School B130ES
- 0.5 miles Billesley Infant School B130ES
- 0.5 miles Kings Heath Boys Mathematics and Computing College B130RJ (504 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Wheelers Lane Technology College B130SF (611 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Billesley Primary School B130ES
- 0.5 miles Wheelers Lane Primary School B130SF (678 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Billesley Primary School B130ES (449 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Dunstan's Catholic Primary School B147LP (372 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Bishop Challoner Catholic College B147EG (1175 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Kings Heath Junior School B147AJ
- 0.7 miles Kings Heath Infant and Nursery School B147AA
- 0.8 miles St Bernard's Catholic Primary School B139QE (403 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Kings Heath Primary School B147AJ (723 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School (NC) B130EU (249 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Moseley School B139UU (1300 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Elmgreen School B139PX
- 0.9 miles Reach School B147BB (48 pupils)
- 1 mile Colmore Junior School B146AJ (391 pupils)
- 1 mile Colmore Infant and Nursery School B146AJ (412 pupils)
- 1 mile Moseley Church of England Primary School B139EH (206 pupils)
- 1 mile Queensbridge School B138QB (696 pupils)
Brook Lane, Billesley, Birmingham, B13 0TW
|Inspection dates||20–21 November 2013|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| The proportion of students who achieve five |
Students make good progress overall in
Teachers have good subject knowledge,
Most lessons proceed at a fast pace and this
The sixth form is good. Most students make
good GCSE grades at A* to C, including
English and mathematics is above average.
English and mathematics, and some make
which helps them to set appropriately
challenging and interesting work for students.
ensures that students learn quickly and make
good, and sometimes outstanding, progress.
good progress in a wide range of subjects.
| The overwhelming majority of students have |
Leaders and managers, including subject
Governors know the school’s strengths and
good attitudes to learning. They are well
behaved, polite and courteous, feel safe at
school and attend regularly.
leaders, have improved teaching and
maintained good levels of achievement for
almost all students. They have an accurate
understanding of the school’s performance.
areas for improvement. Consequently, they
provide an effective level of challenge and
| A minority of lower ability students, some of |
A small minority of students do not always
whom are supported by the pupil premium,
do not achieve as well in English as they do
in other subjects.
show the good attitudes to learning that are
shown by the very large majority of students.
| Not all teachers check the progress of students |
Marking is not always clear enough to help
in their lessons and modify activities to match
their understanding and needs.
students improve their work.
|Inspection report:||Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||2 of 10|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 52 lessons, seven of which were jointly observed with senior leaders. The
inspection team also made several short visits to other lessons to check on the progress and
behaviour of different groups of students.
- Meetings were held with four groups of students from all year groups. Other meetings were held
with governors, senior leaders and staff, including those responsible for leading subjects.
- Inspectors analysed the 70 responses to the online questionnaire, Parent View, and the 70
responses to a staff questionnaire.
- Inspectors observed the work of the school and looked at a number of documents, including
those relating to the monitoring of teaching and the targets set for teachers to improve their
work. They also looked at records relating to attendance, behaviour, bullying and safeguarding,
the school’s improvement plan and data on students’ progress.
- The lead inspector held two separate discussions with a representative from the local authority
and a consultant who works with the school.
|Richard Sutton, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Justine McNeillie||Additional Inspector|
|Kerin Jones||Additional Inspector|
|Neil Morris||Additional Inspector|
|Elizabeth Needham||Additional Inspector|
|Inspection report:||Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||3 of 10|
Information about this school
- The school is much larger than the average-sized secondary school with a sixth form.
- The large majority of students are from minority ethnic heritages. The proportion of such
students in the school is almost four times higher than average, as is the proportion who speak
English as an additional language. At around half the students, the largest group is of Pakistani
- The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs supported
through school action is slightly higher than average. The proportion supported at school action
plus or with a statement of special educational needs is below average.
- The proportion of students supported through the pupil premium, which is additional funding
given to schools for certain groups such as students in local authority care and those known to
be eligible for free school meals, is much higher than average.
- The school does not use any alternative provision.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
for students’ attainment and progress.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Improve teaching so that it is consistently good and more is outstanding by ensuring that:
marking and feedback are always precise enough to help students to improve their work
all teachers check the progress that students are making during lessons and modify the work
if it is too easy or too hard
teachers encourage all students to develop the same good attitudes to learning in their
lessons that are consistently shown by the great majority.
- Raise achievement in English by checking on students’ progress regularly to make sure that:
lower-ability students consistently make the progress that is expected of them
the achievement of students supported by the pupil premium in this subject is always
|Inspection report:||Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||4 of 10|
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students join Swanshurst School with average levels of attainment. By the time they leave Year
11, most students have made good progress in a range of subjects and some have made
excellent progress. As a result, the proportion of students who achieve five good GCSE grades at
A* to C, including English and mathematics, is above average.
- More-able students achieve well; the proportion gaining the highest grades is high at GCSE and
it has improved considerably at A level.
- The progress made by the vast majority of students accelerates as they move up the school. In
Key Stage 4, most students make rapid progress and this ensures that they are very well
prepared for further study, employment or training.
- In the recent past, the school has entered some students early for parts of their GCSE
mathematics and English examinations. This has been an effective strategy as it has ensured
that students achieve their potential.
- The school spends the pupil premium in a variety of ways; for example, on additional staff so
that students benefit from working in smaller classes. Students of all abilities who are supported
through the pupil premium achieve significantly better than similar students nationally and many
do as well as other students in the school. For a minority, however, gaps remain between their
attainment and their classmates. These are closing rapidly in most subjects but the gap in
English for this minority has not closed in the past two years. This year, eligible students in Year
11 achieved, on average, two-thirds of a grade below other students in English, as they did in
mathematics, although in this subject, the rate of improvement was greater.
- Disabled students and those who have special educational needs, students from minority ethnic
heritages and those who speak English as an additional language make good progress overall.
This is because teachers have an accurate understanding of these students’ needs and plan
lessons carefully to ensure these groups of students can access learning as easily as the others.
- Achievement is the sixth form has improved steadily in recent years and is now good. This is
because teaching has improved and leaders have put in place good systems for checking
students’ progress so that they can quickly identify any student who falls behind. Consequently,
a much higher proportion of students than previously are passing their examinations, particularly
in Year 12, many of who achieve the highest grades.
- The school uses the Year 7 catch-up funding to provide smaller classes for students who joined
the school with below average attainment in English and mathematics. This is proving to be an
effective strategy in mathematics because students are making good progress but, in English, it
is sometimes less effective because individual less-able students do not always make as much
progress as their performance elsewhere suggests they should.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is good overall and is sometimes outstanding. Most lessons proceed at a brisk pace
and ensure that the large majority of students make rapid gains in their knowledge, skills and
understanding. This is the main reason why students make good progress.
|Inspection report:||, Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||5 of 10|
- Good teaching in the school is typically characterised by teachers who have very good subject
knowledge which helps them to plan interesting, creative and appropriately challenging tasks for
the vast majority of their students. In the very best lessons, teachers help students to take
responsibility for their learning while, at the same time, making sure that activities are pitched at
the right level for each student. For example, in a Year 11 drama lesson, the teacher skilfully
used different types of questions to help the students develop an in-depth understanding of their
work at a high level.
- A particular strength of Key Stage 4 and sixth form teaching is the very good knowledge that
teachers have of examination requirements. Consequently, most teachers are able to help
students to improve their work so that they gain good grades.
- The teaching of disabled students, those who have special educational needs and those from
minority ethnic groups or who are learning English as a second language, is good. This is
because teachers have a detailed understanding of the specific needs of these students and they
are skilful in planning work which helps them to learn effectively.
- In general, the quality of marking and feedback is good because it helps students to improve
their work. At times, however, it is not as helpful as it should be. This is the case when teachers’
comments give students insufficiently precise guidance on what they need to do to improve their
- Occasionally, individual teachers do not check sufficiently on the progress that each student is
making during lessons. This means that work is not changed when students are finding it too
hard or too easy and, on occasion, this leads to individual students losing concentration and
going off task.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- Students behave well, both in lessons and at break times, and they appreciate how much
behaviour has improved in recent years. The vast majority are consistently polite, courteous and
well mannered in lessons and around the school.
- Relationships in the school are extremely positive because teachers promote these effectively
with students. Consequently, students show a good level of mutual respect for each other and
- Older students value the opportunities they are given to take positions of responsibility. For
example, some Year 11 students are prefects. The level of respect shown by younger students
for the authority that these prefects have is impressive.
- Bullying is rare at the school. Students are confident that, on the occasions when bullying does
occur, staff will deal with matters quickly and effectively. Students have a good understanding of
the various forms in which bullying can occur, including cyber-bullying.
- Students feel safe at school and they have a good understanding of safety matters, including e-
safety. They are fully equipped with the skills needed to manage risk in various situations,
should this be necessary.
- Students attend school regularly and arrive on time.
- Most students have good attitudes to learning, try their best and show a determination to
succeed and achieve their personal best. The overwhelming majority willingly work together in
lessons and support each other well. Just occasionally, individuals fail to match the high
standards set by the rest, and this is why behaviour and safety are not outstanding.
|Inspection report:||, Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||6 of 10|
|The leadership and management||are good|
- All leaders and managers, including subject leaders, communicate high expectations of what all
students and staff are capable of achieving. Consequently, the achievement of students is good.
- Leaders provide teachers and managers with good-quality training and development so that
teaching continues to improve. For example, staff from different departments regularly work
with each other so that they can improve their teaching.
- All teachers are set targets to improve their teaching and guide decisions about pay increases.
Good-quality training enables them to work towards achieving their targets, and so further
improve their teaching skills and the achievement of students.
- As a result of leaders’ thorough systems for checking and monitoring its performance, the school
has an accurate awareness of its own strengths and weaknesses. This informs the improvement
plan, which is suitably focused on the most important areas for improvement. However, the
school has not resolved the issue of some students’ comparatively weaker achievement in
English as successfully as it has in other subjects.
- The good leadership of the sixth form has resulted in improved examination results. Sixth form
leaders have a strong ability to maintain these improvements as they have ensured that the
systems for checking students’ achievement are consistently and systematically applied in all
- The school has reviewed its sixth form provision to ensure it will be able to meet the
expectations of the new 16 to 19 Study Programme and provide appropriate courses for
students who are now required to stay in school until the age of 18. Currently, this applies to
very few students in the school: the attainment profile of this year’s entry group into the sixth
form is not markedly different to that of previous year groups.
- The curriculum gives students exciting opportunities to develop their skills and understanding.
Numerous extra-curricular activities also help students to develop wider interests beyond the
usual lessons, and attendance at these is good. Particular strengths of the curriculum are the
wide and diverse opportunities which students have to develop their spiritual, moral, social and
cultural awareness and understanding. For example, each year the school holds its ‘Veterans
Day’ which involves both the school and wider community. Students value this as it helps them
to explore and learn about a wide range of issues. Consequently, they are engaged in their
studies and are keen to succeed.
- Students receive good, independent advice on their career and employment options, both in the
main school and in the sixth form, and are well prepared for life after school.
- The school has been largely successful in improving the opportunities available to different
groups of students so that all have the chance to achieve well by the time they leave.
- The local authority has provided an appropriate level of support and challenge to the school.
Most recently, the local authority supported the school in working with other schools and also
supported improvements in the sixth form. This support has been appropriate.
|Inspection report:||, Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||7 of 10|
- The governance of the school:
The governing body has a good and appropriately detailed understanding of the school’s
strengths and weaknesses. Governors understand students’ achievement data well and this
enables them to provide a good level of challenge and support to the school.
Governors monitor the use and impact of the additional pupil premium and Year 7 catch-up
funding. They are aware that this is helping to improve the achievement of most eligible
students and they are also aware of the continuing need to prioritise improvements in English.
Governors are aware of the methods used to set targets for teachers and how these are
monitored and linked to pay increases. They make sure that the school fulfils its
responsibilities regarding safeguarding; all staff have been checked as required and are
trained appropriately to keep students safe and free from harm.
|Inspection report:||Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||8 of 10|
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes |
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well |
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it |
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school is |
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
|Inspection report:||Swanshurst School, 20–21 November 2013||9 of 10|
|Unique reference number||103514|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Comprehensive|
|Age range of pupils||11–19|
|Gender of pupils||Girls|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1789|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||298|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||24 September 2008|
|Telephone number||0121 4642400|
|Fax number||0121 4642401|