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Wilmington Grammar School for Boys Closed - academy converter July 31, 2011

see new Wilmington Grammar School for Boys

Wilmington Grammar School for Boys
Common Lane

phone: 01322 *** ***

headteacher: Mrs Fiona Cottam Ba Ma H Diped


school holidays: via Kent council

Secondary — Foundation School

Education phase
Establishment type
Foundation School
Establishment #
Close date
July 31, 2011
Reason closed
Academy Converter
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 552660, Northing: 172195
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.428, Longitude: 0.19452
Accepting pupils
11—18 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Oct. 13, 2010
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Dartford › Wilmington
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Admissions policy
Main specialism
Engineering (Operational)
High performing leading options
Raising Achievement Partnership Programme (RAPP)
Investor in People
Committed IiP Status
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Trust school
Is supported by a Trust
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Dartford

Schools nearby

  1. Wilmington Grammar School for Boys DA27DA (889 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles Wilmington Enterprise College DA27DR
  3. 0.1 miles Wilmington Primary School DA27DF
  4. 0.1 miles Wilmington Academy DA27DR (890 pupils)
  5. 0.1 miles Wilmington Primary School DA27DF (206 pupils)
  6. 0.2 miles Wilmington Grammar School for Girls DA27BB
  7. 0.2 miles Wilmington Grammar School for Girls DA27BB (798 pupils)
  8. 0.3 miles Barn End Centre DA27DP
  9. 0.3 miles North West Kent Alternative Provision Service DA27DP (43 pupils)
  10. 0.4 miles North West Kent College of Technology DA12JT
  11. 0.4 miles North West Kent Behaviour Service DA27DP
  12. 0.8 miles Oakfield Infant and Nursery School DA12SW
  13. 0.8 miles Joydens Wood Junior School DA27NE
  14. 0.8 miles Joydens Wood Infant School DA52JD
  15. 0.8 miles Oakfield Community Primary School DA12SW (609 pupils)
  16. 0.8 miles Joydens Wood Infant School DA52JD (222 pupils)
  17. 0.8 miles Joydens Wood Junior School DA27NE (291 pupils)
  18. 0.9 miles Maypole Primary School DA27UZ (324 pupils)
  19. 0.9 miles Oakfield Junior School DA12SW
  20. 1 mile Dartford Science & Technology College DA12LY (773 pupils)
  21. 1.1 mile Wentworth Infant School DA13NG
  22. 1.1 mile Hextable Junior School BR87RL
  23. 1.1 mile Dartford West Boys' School DA12LZ
  24. 1.1 mile Dartford Grammar School for Girls DA12NT (1064 pupils)

List of schools in Dartford

Wilmington Grammar School for Boys

Inspection report

Unique Reference Number 118875
Local Authority Kent
Inspection number 358462
Inspection dates 13–14 October 2010
Report ing inspector Stephen Long HMI

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Grammar (selective)
School category Community
Age range of pupils 11–18
Gender of pupils Boys
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 911
Of which, number on roll in the sixth form 255
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Mr R Carlo
Headteacher Mr A Williamson
Date of previous school inspection 19 September 2007
School address Common Lane
Telephone number 01322 223090
Fax number 01322 289920
Email address reveal email: off…
Age group 11–18
Inspection dates 13–14 October 2010
Inspection number 358462


The inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and four additional
inspectors. A total of 42 lessons or part-lessons were observed, taught by 39 members of
staff. Inspectors observed the school's work and met with groups of staff, students,
governors and parents. They looked at students' work and assessment records, a range of
documents, including the school's strategic plans and evaluations, assessment information
and school policies. The team analysed 316 questionnaires from parents and carers, 107
from students and 44 from staff.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the

  • The impact of efforts to improve students' overall progress toward challenging GCSE
    targets and ensure more consistently effective teaching in all subjects.
  • The effectiveness of steps taken to improve the quality of sixth form provision.
  • The capacity of leaders and managers at all levels to monitor the quality of provision
    in their areas of responsibility and bring about improvements.

Information about the school

Wilmington Grammar School for Boys is smaller than most secondary schools. It has
specialist status for engineering. The proportion of students with special educational needs
and/or disabilities is well below that in most schools. Fewer students than in most schools
have first languages other than English, and the proportion from minority ethnic groups is
just below the national average. The school collaborates with four other local schools and
a college of further education in the provision of courses from Year 10 onwards. A small
number of female students are on roll in the sixth form. Most students live in favourable
socio-economic circumstances. The headteacher joined in January this year. During the
term before, the school was led by the deputy headteacher, after the departure of the last
headteacher at the end of the previous academic year. Since the last inspection, the
school has gained Sportsmark and Sports Partnership awards, National Healthy School
Status, and has become an Extended School, offering out-of-hours provision. A building
project is nearing completion to provide additional classroom space.

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school? 3
The school's capacity for sustained improvement 3

Main findings

Wilmington Grammar School for Boys is a satisfactory school with strengths in the quality
of care and the curriculum it provides. Students' academic progress is satisfactory but
improving. Performance in examinations declined for two years after the last inspection.
Overall targets were missed and progress in some subjects, including mathematics, was
too slow. The new headteacher recognised the need for change and, working with the
staff, has set about raising the school's aspirations. Students' progress is accelerating and
the declining trend in attainment has been stopped and attainment is rising. Unvalidated
results of this summer's GCSE examinations show better progress than the year before.
Variations in performance between GCSE subjects are reducing and progress on vocational
courses is good. The school has a satisfactory but growing capacity to improve. There is
further to go to secure good progress in all subjects, and some weaker areas identified in
the last inspection, such as improving the sixth form provision, remain.
The good quality care provided means that students feel really safe and much enjoy
school. Their attendance is high and they are keen to contribute to the school community.
The good curriculum adds much to their enjoyment. It has been revised this year to better
meet students' needs. Changes such as a wider range of vocational opportunities are
popular with students. Specialist status is making a good impact on the numbers studying
engineering and on partnership work, especially with other schools. There are some good
initiatives to promote community cohesion but these are not systematic in preparing
students for life in a diverse community.
Effective strategies to improve teaching mean more lessons are good or better.
Nevertheless, some do not cater properly for students of differing ability, particularly the
more able, and the more effective teaching practices are not always shared between staff.
Assessment and tracking systems have been overhauled and are good. This helps to
identify underachieving students for whom intervention is provided, and contributed to the
gains made in summer examination results.
Leaders and managers are working increasingly well as a team to move the school
forward. The right priorities for improvement underpin overall development plans. These
are filtering down to layers of planning beneath, notably for subjects, but at this level are
not always focused on outcomes for students or how improvements will be checked. The
monitoring of teaching has brought benefits, although lesson observations are not always
focused sharply enough on less effective aspects of teaching or on learning, so as to
secure further improvement. Sixth-form leadership is satisfactory. However, the
monitoring of teaching quality and students' progress is not systematic enough to improve
provision. The governing body have honed their approach to checking academic progress
so as to avoid the problems of the past. Nevertheless, their wider monitoring of the impact

of their policies promoting equality of opportunity lacks rigour in identifying areas needing

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the quality of teaching by:
    ensuring all lessons are planned to challenge students of differing abilities
    sharing more effectively the good and outstanding practices in teaching which
    exist in the school so that they become the norm
    concentrating on specific aspects of teaching and paying more attention to
    learning when observing lessons and providing feedback to staff.
  • Improve the impact of school leaders by:
    ensuring improvement plans at all levels focus on better outcomes for students
    and that progress towards these is checked rigorously
    ensuring that the monitoring of sixth-form provision is more effective in bringing
    about improvement
    checking more systematically the impact of policies to promote equality of
    opportunity, so as to define areas requiring action.
  • Improve the promotion of community cohesion and the way it is evaluated so that
    students are better prepared for life in a diverse society.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils 3

Students much enjoy school and have positive attitudes to learning. Their achievement is
satisfactory and improving. Although their overall attainment by the end of Year 11
exceeds that seen nationally, since they begin with high starting points on entry their
progress is only satisfactory and some do not gain the top GCSE grades they should. In
lessons, students behave well. They make rapid progress when tasks engage them and
encourage them to think. However, some lessons do not exploit students' potential, and
the pace of learning is more pedestrian. Those with special educational needs and/or
disabilities make satisfactory progress overall. They too perform better in lessons where
teachers plan to meet their specific needs and involve them actively in learning. Students
say they feel well cared for and are confident to turn to adults if they need help. They
make a good contribution to school life, for example by taking on responsibilities that
include membership of the new 'student leadership team' and the 'eco team', which helps
maintain and improve the school and local environment, and by taking a lead in raising
money for charity. Most students understand well how to lead healthy lives, as reflected in
attaining National Healthy School Status. They are keen to participate in sport-related
activities and most know what constitutes a good diet, although some find difficulty in
sticking to it. Students develop good social and teamwork skills which, together with their
high attainment in literacy and numeracy, prepare them well for the future. Their moral
development is good and they learn to make the right decisions as young adults. Spiritual
and cultural development are satisfactory but more limited because some opportunities
are missed by the school to broaden and consolidate their experience of a range of
cultures and faiths.

These are the grades for pupils' outcomes

Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning 3
Taking into account:
Pupils' attainment¹
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress 3
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
and their progress
The extent to which pupils feel safe 2
Pupils' behaviour 2
The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les 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:
Pupils' attendance¹
The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 3


The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4

is low

How effective is the provision?

Teachers have confident subject knowledge. They enjoy good relationships with students
and manage behaviour well. Most lessons start with a clear explanation of the tasks to be
completed, although sometimes with too little discussion of their purpose to capture
students' attention fully. In a growing number of lessons, especially at Key Stage 4, the
better assessment information now available enables activities to be planned which ensure
students work towards their targets. This includes questioning and tasks set at different
levels so as to challenge students of differing ability. However, this is inconsistent, with
work in some lessons too easy or too hard for students, and some teachers do not use
discussion to assess progress or share ideas. The improved assessment system means
students are now clearer about their attainment levels and targets. This is especially true
among older students, for whom there is more regular reference to targets in lessons and
in marking. However, the overall quality of marking is variable in guiding improvement,
notably at Key Stage 3. Curriculum developments this year mean students have good
progression routes, depending on their abilities and interests. There are growing
opportunities for fostering independent learning skills, for example through Personal
Learning and Thinking Skills lessons in Year 7. There is an increasing range of options for
gifted and talented students such as the 'F1 Challenge'. Specialist status underpins much
collaborative work with other schools; for example, the school takes a leading role in
providing the Diploma in engineering and is active in sport-related partnerships. Good

advice and guidance mean students make appropriate option choices for Key Stage 4 and
the sixth form. A wide range of extra-curricular activities, some linked with Extended
School status, add to students' enjoyment. Students are well known and cared for as
individuals. Their transition into the school is good. Vulnerable or at-risk students are
identified properly and receive good support in their time at school, which includes work
with external agencies and encouragement to sustain high attendance. Exclusions are rare
and those finding difficulty in managing their behaviour are skilfully helped to do so.

These are the grades for the quality of provision

The quality of teaching 3
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships
The effectiveness of care, guidance and support 2

How effective are leadership and management?

The headteacher is committed to improving the school. He is supported increasingly well
by a restructured senior team with clear areas of responsibility. They have a broadly
accurate view of provision and use assessment information with growing precision to set
targets and check the school's progress. Middle leaders, such as heads of subjects, have
also been restructured and are gaining effectiveness, although their impact on their areas
of responsibility is variable. Whole-school improvement plans provide challenging high-
level targets and logical timelines for actions, for example prioritising the need for a
reliable assessment system. Most subject development plans reflect whole-school
initiatives but do not always include explicit targets relating to outcomes for students, or
groups of students. This reduces the focus on making an impact where it really matters.
Expectations of all staff have been tightened so that accountability is clear. Staff
development is increasingly well linked to key areas such as leadership and teaching,
albeit with some opportunities missed to share effective approaches to teaching.
Safeguarding students is a high priority. Procedures are reviewed and updated regularly.
The inclusion of all students is reflected in policies promoting equality of opportunity.
However, checking that all groups of students benefit equally across the full range of
outcomes is underdeveloped. The governing body are keen to support the school and
enjoy a good flow of information from the senior leadership team. They understand the
school's strengths and weaknesses and are taking sensible steps to improve their use of
assessment data as a monitoring tool. Communication with parents is good and has
improved with a new reporting system and the imminent launch of on-line reporting. The
promotion of community cohesion is satisfactory. There are strengths in the harmonious
nature of the school's internal community and links with the local area, for example with
youth and senior citizens groups. However, evaluating the impact of the work done on
students' understanding of diverse communities, both nationally and globally, lacks the
precision needed in planning further developments.

These are the grades for leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambit ion and driving
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the
school so that weaknesses are tackle d decis ively 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
discriminat ion
The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures 2
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion 3
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money 3

Sixth form

From broadly average starting points at age 16, sixth-form students' progress is
satisfactory so that overall attainment is in line with the national average by the end of

AS- and A-level courses. However, the quality of teaching, while satisfactory, is variable

and leads to inconsistent progress in different subject areas. Students enjoy their time in
the sixth form and their attendance is high. They make a good contribution to school life,
for example taking a lead role in organising events in school and setting a good example
to younger students through their behaviour. The curriculum benefits from collaborative
arrangements with the neighbouring girls' school so as to offer a good range of courses.
Care for students' personal development is good. Academic monitoring and guidance is
satisfactory but is not always sharp enough to identify underachievement so it can be
addressed or to engage students fully in moving their own learning forward. Information
and guidance about the next stages in their education are good and the majority of
students go on to higher education in institutions of their choice. Leadership of the sixth
form has been effective in sustaining good care for students and has maintained
satisfactory academic progress. An improvement plan has been drawn up this year,
suitably focused on boosting students' progress and developing the curriculum further.
This, alongside clearer expectations of the role of sixth-form leadership, has the potential
to improve provision. However, monitoring the quality of sixth-form provision by observing
lessons and/or reference to assessment information is not consistently prosecuted with the
determination required to secure good progress in all subjects.

These are the grades for the sixth form

Overall effectiveness of the sixth form 3
Taking into account:
Outcomes for students in the sixth form
The quality of provision in the sixth form 3
Leadership and management of the sixth form 3

Views of parents and carers

Responses to the questionnaire were supportive of the overall effectiveness of the school.
A very large majority of parents and carers who responded felt their children were making
enough progress in their learning. They took a more positive view of this aspect of the
school's work than inspectors did after the team had spent time in lessons. Parents and
carers were appreciative of the quality of care provided, and felt that their children
enjoyed attending school and felt safe while there.

Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's questionnaire

Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Wilmington Grammar School for
Boys 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 316 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total,
there are 911 pupils registered at the school.
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%.

Statements Strongly
Agree Disagree Strongly
Total % Total % Total % Total %
My child enjoys school 142 45 165 52 4 1 2 1
The school keeps my child
132 42 178 56 1 0 0 0
My school informs me about
my child's progress
115 36 171 54 14 4 1 0
My child is making enough
progress at this school
131 41 161 51 6 2 1 0
The teaching is good at this
117 37 179 57 3 1 0 0
The school helps me to
support my child's learning
85 27 190 60 22 7 0 0
The school helps my child to
have a healthy lifestyle
85 27 195 62 9 3 0 0
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
117 37 157 50 7 2 0 0
The school meets my child's
particular needs
134 42 161 51 6 2 0 0
The school deals effectively
with unacceptable behaviour
134 42 161 51 6 2 0 0
The school takes account of
my suggestions and concerns
112 35 166 53 14 4 2 1
The school is led and
managed effectively
76 24 185 59 10 3 0 0
Overall, I am happy with my
child's experience at this
174 55 133 42 1 0 1 0


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding 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 of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 58 36 4 2
Primary schools 8 43 40 9
Secondary schools 10 35 42 13
Sixth forms 13 39 45 3
Special schools 33 42 20 4
Pupil referral units 18 40 29 12
All schools 11 42 38 9

New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that inspectors now
make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 and are the most
recently published data available (see Please note that the sample of schools
inspected during the autumn and spring terms 2009/10 was not representative of all schools national ly, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Secondary school figures include those that
have sixth forms, and sixth form figures include only the data specifically for sixth form inspection

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their learning,
development or training.
Attainment: 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.
Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
Overall effectiveness: 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 school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils.
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships.
Progress: 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.

15 October 2010
Dear Students

Inspection of Wilmington Grammar School for Boys, Dartford DA2 7DA

This letter is to thank you for your help during the school's recent inspection and to give
you our judgements, although you might like to read the full report. The school provides a
satisfactory standard of education overall but has some strong features.

  • You reach high standards by the end of Year 11; however, the overall progress
    made is only satisfactory because you join with standards which are above those in
    most schools. The school is working on this and progress is accelerating.
  • Many of you said you enjoy school. Your attendance is very high and you told us
    that the staff take good care of you and can be relied on if you need help.
  • The school does a good job in helping you lead healthy lives and enabling you to get
    involved in school life, through things like serving on the school council.
  • Teaching is satisfactory overall, although there are increasing numbers of good and
    outstanding lessons.
  • The curriculum is good and you told us that you enjoy the range of subjects on
    offer, including the widening range of vocational opportunities.
  • Provision in the sixth form is satisfactory. Students make the expected amount of
    progress, enjoy their time there and set a good example.
  • The headteacher and the staff are working hard to improve the school. Leaders and
    managers are becoming more effective in moving the school forward and the
    governors are checking the impact made on you with increasing accuracy.

I have asked the headteacher to add the following to his plans for the future.

  • Improve teaching, particularly to ensure that in all lessons there are activities which
    challenge all students, taking into account your varying degrees of ability.
  • Check that leaders and governors focus development planning closely on improving
    outcomes for students, improve further the monitoring of teaching throughout the
    school and check more systematically that all of you are benefiting equally from the
    school's provision.
  • Improve the way the school prepares you for life in a culturally and religiously
    diverse national and global community.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Long
Her Majesty's Inspector


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