The Howard School Closed - academy converter Sept. 30, 2014
phone: 01634 *** ***
principal: Mr Paul Morris Ba Hons Diped
1725 pupils capacity: 87% full
1475 boys 98%
30 girls 2%
Last updated: Sept. 30, 2014
Secondary — Foundation School
- Education phase
- Establishment type
- Foundation School
- Establishment #
- Close date
- Sept. 30, 2014
- Reason closed
- Academy Converter
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 580562, Northing: 165928
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.364, Longitude: 0.59228
- Accepting pupils
- 11—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Nov. 28, 2013
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South East › Gillingham and Rainham › Rainham Central
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Admissions policy
- Main specialism
- Sports (Operational)
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- The Howard School ME80BX (1505 pupils)
- 0.1 miles Rainham School for Girls ME80BX
- 0.1 miles Rainham School for Girls ME80BX (1577 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Margaret's Infant School ME89AE (315 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Margaret's CofE Voluntary Controlled Junior School, Rainham ME89AE (349 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Rainham Mark Grammar School ME87AJ
- 0.5 miles Bryony School ME80AJ (172 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Rainham Mark Grammar School ME87AJ (1241 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Thames View Junior School ME87DX
- 0.6 miles Thames View Primary School ME87DX (444 pupils)
- 0.6 miles St Thomas of Canterbury RC Primary School ME86JH (236 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Medway Education Trust ME89AB
- 0.7 miles Twydall Junior School ME86JH
- 0.7 miles Twydall Infant School ME86JS
- 0.7 miles Twydall Primary School, Nursery and Children's Centre ME86JS (550 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Miers Court Primary School ME88JR (412 pupils)
- 1 mile Meredale Infant School ME88EB
- 1 mile Fair View Community Junior School ME80NU
- 1 mile Fair View Community Infant School ME80NU
- 1 mile Park Wood Junior School ME89LP (356 pupils)
- 1 mile Meredale Independent Primary School ME88EB (70 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Featherby Junior School ME86BT (337 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Park Wood Infant School ME89LP (269 pupils)
- 1.1 mile Danecourt Community School ME86AA (150 pupils)
The Howard School
Derwent Way, Rainham, Gillingham, ME8 0BX
|Inspection dates||28–29 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 principal’s vision, determination and |
Good and sometimes outstanding teaching
Students’ attainment has risen steadily over
Students develop good basic skills, including
The sixth form is good. Students are attaining
steady hand have ensured that the school
has made significant improvements since the
helps all groups of students to achieve well
from their starting points in Year 7.
the last three years. Their achievement in
English is exceptionally strong.
reading, communication and numeracy skills,
which equip them well for the next stage of
their lives beyond school.
higher results year on year across a range of
courses in this rapidly growing sixth form.
| The school’s sports specialism makes an |
Students behave well in lessons and around
Leaders, managers and governors have an
exceptionally good contribution to students’
social development and physical well-being.
the school. They show consideration and
respect for others, so that they feel safe in
accurate view of the school’s strengths and
areas for further development. The school is
improving because they prioritise development
effectively where it will have the greatest
impact on students’ achievement.
| Across the school, but particularly in the sixth |
In a few lessons, work does not challenge
form, students are not given enough
opportunities to be actively involved in lesson
activities to help them to gain the skills to
manage their own learning.
students’ thinking well enough.
| Students do not always reflect enough on their |
The school has not always identified gaps in
learning by responding directly to teachers’
students’ knowledge and understanding early
enough to ensure that gaps are closed quickly.
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 56 lessons, some of which were joint observations with members of the
senior leadership group.
- Meetings were held with four student groups, including a sixth form group, school leaders and
staff, as well as with representatives of the governing body and from the local authority.
- Inspectors observed the school’s work and looked at a range of documents, including those that
show how the school checks on how well it is doing, plans for future development, and students’
progress data. They scrutinised students’ work, information about how the school cares for and
protects students, records relating to behaviour and attendance, and minutes of recent
governing body meetings.
- The inspection team took account of 31 responses to the online Parent View survey, together
with questionnaires completed by staff.
|Helen Hutchings, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Michael Elson||Additional Inspector|
|Noureddin Khassal||Additional Inspector|
|Jane Ladner||Additional Inspector|
|David Smith||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- The Howard School is larger than most secondary schools. It is a boys’ school which admits girls
into the sixth form. It has held a sports specialism since 2007.
- Most students are of White British heritage, with a wide range of other backgrounds represented
in small numbers. The proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is
- The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional
government funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, those who are
looked after by the local authority and children of service families) is average.
- Around one in six students in Years 7 and 8 benefit from the nationally funded catch-up
- The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs supported through
school action is high, and the proportion supported at school action plus or with a statement of
special educational needs is above average.
- The school no longer enters students for any GCSE examinations before the end of Year 11.
- The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations
for students’ attainment and progress.
- Currently no students attend any alternative off-site provision.
- Inspectors were aware during this inspection that a serious allegation of a child protection
nature was being investigated by the appropriate authorities. While Ofsted does not have the
power to investigate incidents of this kind, actions taken by the school in response to the
incident were considered alongside the other evidence available at the time of the inspection to
inform inspectors’ judgements.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Ensure that more teaching is good and outstanding, and eliminate the small amount of teaching
that requires improvement, to further raise students’ achievement, particularly in the sixth form,
giving students more opportunities to manage their own learning and to work actively in
making sure that work is always challenging to stretch students’ thinking
increasing the effectiveness of marking by giving students more help to reflect on and respond
to teachers’ written advice.
- Use the information from the assessment of students’ progress to identify and address any gaps
in students’ understanding and skills as early as possible.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students join the school in Year 7 with below-average attainment in English and mathematics.
There are fewer higher-attaining and more lower- and middle-attaining students than nationally.
All groups make good progress so that students’ attainment, as measured by the proportion
gaining five GCSE A* to C grades including English and mathematics, is in line with the national
average, and above average when measured across a wider range of subjects.
- Students’ achievement has been rising steadily since the previous inspection, and the
improvement trend is stronger than found nationally. Improvements in English have been
striking and attainment is significantly above the national average. In 2012, the latest year for
which validated comparative data is available, the progress made in English was in the top 5%
of schools nationally. Results were similar in 2013.
- Attainment and progress in mathematics and science are also rising but not as rapidly as in
English. Senior leaders have taken robust action to address performance in subjects which had
been weaker than others. This resulted in students making similar progress in most of their
GCSE subjects in 2013 so that performance across subjects is more even than had been the case
previously. This ensures that students are prepared well to move into further education,
employment or training by the end of Year 11.
- Many students, including girls, join the school’s sixth form having taken their GCSE examinations
elsewhere. Overall, students make good progress from their starting points. Attainment in
vocational courses is above average, and in line with national averages at A level. Until recently,
some students embarked on AS courses with GCSE grades which did not effectively prepare
them for study at this level. This led to below-average attainment at AS, with some students not
progressing to A level. The more stringent entry requirements and rigorous matching of the
curriculum to students’ needs and GCSE attainment is beginning to show in improved outcomes.
In 2013, three quarters of students exceeded the challenging targets set for their attainment at
both AS and A level.
- A whole-school emphasis on developing students’ communication skills means that they are
confident and articulate in sharing their opinions. Reading is promoted well, such as in tutorial
sessions, and students’ good literacy skills are evident in the quality of their written work.
- The school uses extra national funding well to reduce gaps in students’ skills. For example,
students in Years 7 and 8 who receive additional help in the school’s literacy unit make excellent
progress in developing their reading, spelling and numeracy skills. Many make enough progress
within six months so that they do not need any additional help beyond that given by teachers in
other lessons or occasional support in tutorial sessions. Consequently, almost all students have
the necessary literacy skills for effective GCSE study in other subjects.
- Similarly, the school steadily reduces the attainment gap between students eligible for the pupil
premium and others as they move through the school. In 2012, there was a gap of around half a
grade in English and a third in mathematics, where the national difference was over a grade in
both. The gap in 2013 was similar to the previous year, showing the school’s success in ensuring
equality of opportunity for all.
- Disabled students, those who have special educational needs and those who speak English as an
additional language make at least the same good progress and sometimes better progress than
their peers. This is the result of the high expectation teachers have for students’ achievement,
whatever their starting points, and the help given by skilled teaching assistants in lessons and
focused intervention programmes.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- The quality of teaching in most lessons observed by inspectors was good or better. However, a
small minority of teaching required improvement, which is in line with the school’s self-
evaluation. These lessons were across the school and not within any particular subject.
- Teachers have good subject knowledge and they are enthusiastic about the training organised in
the school to help them to hone their skills further.
- Typically, teachers explain the intended learning and tasks clearly, and check closely on progress
through the lesson. They question students effectively to steer them forward in the learning. In
the best lessons, teachers give students time to reflect on their achievements and plan their next
steps towards the end of the lesson so that students develop their own skills of reflection and
taking responsibility for their own learning.
- When teaching is particularly successful, teachers plan activities which require students to apply
earlier learning, for example, by working in groups to share learning or in undertaking tasks
which mean that they are actively involved. For example, in a very successful geography lesson,
activities included ‘teaching’ one another so that students reinforced their knowledge and
understanding when exploring possible conflict between tourism and the environment. In a few
lessons, teachers talk for a long time, reducing the opportunity for students to work
independently to consolidate and learn by doing things for themselves.
- Teachers give the development of literacy a high priority, for example by emphasising subject-
specific language and correcting spelling and grammar. In a Year 11 art lesson, the exploration
of ‘graduation’ and ‘gradation’ signalled high expectations and developed students’
understanding of the characteristics of Cubism quickly.
- While tasks in lessons give students good opportunities to extend their knowledge
systematically, now and then the work does not stretch students’ thinking to deepen their
learning and develop their problem-solving skills.
- The recently introduced assessment policy is becoming embedded in teachers’ practice.
Students’ work is marked regularly and helps them to understand what they have achieved and
what still needs to be improved. Some teachers require students to make a response to the
advice given or to carry out an additional short task to consolidate their understanding, but this
practice is inconsistent across the school.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- Students are positive about school life and the range of opportunities available to them.
Behaviour in lessons and around the school is good, and older students speak of improvements
since they joined the school.
- Teachers motivate students well and manage behaviour in lessons consistently so that there is
minimal loss of time through chatting or low-level disruption. The opening of the school’s
internal exclusion unit has had a positive impact on reducing the level of exclusions because
students who have identified behaviour difficulties are given good-quality support, for example
by volunteer mentors. When they find it necessary to spend time in the unit, the facility ensures
continuity in their learning.
- Students say that they get on well together and feel safe in school. They appreciate that any
form of harassment or discrimination is not tolerated and that the few incidents of racial,
homophobic or cyber-bullying are taken seriously and dealt with effectively by the school.
Students are aware of the potential risks they face and how to keep themselves safe, such as on
social media internet sites.
- Attendance is average overall, and the previously high level of persistent absenteeism is
- Students have good opportunities to develop leadership skills and make a contribution to school
life, for example through the school council or as ambassadors, and ensure that students’ views
are heard. Students respect each other’s backgrounds and points of view so that the school
operates as a cohesive society. Their understanding of the wider world is promoted well, for
example, in the recent work to achieve the UNICEF Rights Respecting status.
- The sports specialism makes a strong contribution to students’ spiritual, moral, social and
cultural development. Engagement in and enjoyment of sport is high, promoting students’
physical well-being and understanding of health-related issues.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The principal, supported by able senior leaders, has judged the pace of change expertly to
ensure that developments are considered and introduced effectively. Staff understand the part
they play in school improvement and staff morale is high. Staff and governors have an accurate
understanding of the school’s effectiveness.
- The most recent key priority of developing the sixth form has resulted in a curriculum which is
matched well to students’ needs, and improvements in teaching are leading to better
- The curriculum has an effective mix of academic and practical subjects which motivate and
contribute to good achievement in the main school and in the sixth form. Changes made over
the last two years have ensured that those capable of following a broader academic curriculum
at GCSE do so and have raised their achievement and readiness for sixth form study.
- Excellent enrichment and extra-curricular clubs, including additional modern foreign languages
and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, broaden students’ horizons. Personal development is
enriched through links with local emergency and army services, and the new public services
course further promotes personal development.
- The school’s programme for improving teaching and learning is effective and the structured
programme matched to different career stages enjoys the confidence of teachers. The school’s
records show that this is having a positive impact on raising the quality of teaching across the
school. Arrangements to check on staff performance have been changed to reflect higher
expectations, with targets for improvement closely linked to incentives and rewards. These are
seen to be challenging but fair.
- The school has recently introduced a new system to collect and analyse more information about
students’ progress. While the school has been successful in helping students to close gaps in
their knowledge and skills by the time they take GCSE, previously assessment information lacked
sufficient detail for teachers to pick up gaps in all subjects at the earliest possible stage.
- The local authority has provided effective support for the school’s self-evaluation, including
reviewing sixth form and special educational needs provision, which the school has used as the
basis for further development. The principal’s strengths are recognised as a Local Leader in
Education (LLE) and, together with other senior leaders in the school, he has worked closely
with the local authority to give support for schools experiencing particular challenges.
- The governance of the school:
Governors have a clear strategic overview of the school’s work. They know its strengths and
areas for improvement well, and use this information to support and challenge senior and
middle leaders in equal measure. They ask questions about students’ achievement and know
how well the school is doing in relation to schools nationally. They know what the school has
done to improve teaching and learning, the sixth form and behaviour and to build leadership
capacity at middle and senior leadership level. Governors have the necessary expertise to
oversee the school’s finances and work, and undertake their statutory duties conscientiously.
They are very aware of how the pupil premium funding is used and understand the impact this
is having on reducing the attainment gap. They have been fully involved in ensuring that
successful teaching is rewarded and that underperformance is tackled. Governors ensure that
the arrangements to ensure the safety of students and staff meet requirements and are kept
under constant review.
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.
|Unique reference number||118929|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Secondary|
|Age range of pupils||11–19|
|Gender of pupils||Boys|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1,514|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||280|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Date of previous school inspection||25–26 November 2008|
|Telephone number||01634 388765|
|Fax number||01634 388558|