Wodensborough Community Technology College
Headteacher: Mr Stephen Lanckham B.Ed. (Hons)
997 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||104006|
|Inspection dates||30 September 2009–1 October 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Brian Cartwright HMI|
|Type of school||Comprehensive|
|Age range of pupils||11–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||1081|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr John Giles|
|Headteacher||Mr Ken Ellis|
|Date of previous school inspection||16 May 2007|
|School address||Hydes Road|
|Wednesbury, West Midlands|
|Telephone number||0121 556 4951|
|Fax number||0121 556 0134|
|Inspection dates||30 September 2009–1 October 2009|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and four additional inspectors. The inspectors visited 33 lessons, and held meetings with governors, staff and groups of students. They observed the school's work, looked at recent examination results, governing body minutes and other records relating to safeguarding. Inspectors looked at 244 parental questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
The school serves an urban area within the 'Black Country' of the West Midlands. The proportion of students eligible for free school meals is higher than average. There is a significantly higher proportion of boys than girls. The school hosts specialist provision for students with hearing impairment, students with autistic spectrum disorders and complex communication difficulties, and students with specific learning difficulties. This accounts for the higher than average proportion of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The school has been a specialist technology college for 16 years. It has maintained 'Investors in People' status, a National 'Gold' Healthy Schools award, and Artsmark and Sportsmark awards. The school has not offered sixth form provision for several years although remains designated as an 11-18 school.
|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
Wodensbourough Community Technology College provides a sound education for all of its students. Its distinctive characteristic is the exceptionally high quality of care, guidance and support for students of all backgrounds and needs. The headteacher personifies the patience and dedication of all the staff as they continually seek better ways to raise standards and improve the life chances of students. Their efforts show in gradually improving attendance and an increasing number of academic indicators that meet or exceed national averages. The school now has a much lower than average number of serious disciplinary incidents, which is another indicator of the schools sound capacity for improvement. A very large majority of students say they feel safe in school, and their parents agree. All students, including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, fully participate in all aspects of school life. This creates a very strong sense of community within the school, and leads the wider community by example. Students and staff from a wide range of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds work harmoniously together.
The long-established technology specialism has led to very strong science results. It has secured the use of information and communication technology by teachers and many students within and outside of lessons. There is a wide range of vocational opportunities linked to design and technology, for example the Edexcel National course in construction. As a result, the curriculum, particularly at Key Stage 4, is flexible and adapted well to student's needs and interests. However, there remains variability in the quality of teaching. Some teaching is outstanding, but in many lessons, teachers give the same task to every student irrespective of their prior knowledge or ability. Regular tests in different subjects ensure the school, parents and students have a broad picture of student progress towards end-of-year expectations. The day-to-day marking of work is variable in quality. Some examples give clear 'next steps' advice, but there are also some examples of perfunctory marking. It is rare to see evidence of students responding to the advice, for example, by doing corrections straight away. This inconsistency reflects some shortfalls in the impact of routine monitoring and evaluation of teaching.
About 40% of the schools whose overall effectiveness is judged satisfactory may receive a monitoring visit by an Ofsted inspector before their next section 5 inspection.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
The attainment of students when they enter the school in Year 7 is below average. All students make at least satisfactory progress through school. In the lessons seen by inspectors, students made at least adequate progress, with faster progress in lessons that directed tasks matched to students' abilities. Overall, however, academic standards by Year 11 are still lower than the national average in most subjects, with the exception of science. The curriculum provides a substantial number of vocational and work-based pathways leading to useful qualifications that have local currency. Some of these are not included in the overall academic performance data. At a subject level, boys are making satisfactory progress overall, with more able boys (who take 8 or more GCSE's) making good progress. Girls achieved well overall in 2008. The high proportion of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities includes a high proportion of boys, some with complex needs, almost all of these students made at least satisfactory progress.
Students enjoy school, and feel safe. One student wrote that, 'People are so friendly and the teachers are too'. They are confident that staff will deal with isolated examples of harassment. A small minority of students and parents did not agree that behaviour was good. However, behaviour in almost all the lessons seen by inspectors was good, as it was at break and lunchtimes. Students' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. The school works hard to develop these aspects through its personal, social and health education, its Citizenship programmes and through 'ethical studies' lessons and assemblies. Students experience cultural awareness projects such as 'Black History Month' and the Year 11 visit to Lourdes. The school explicitly seeks to counter prejudicial views that prevail in the wider community. Because of this provision and the school's high expectations of personal standards, students hold strong morals. They know the difference from right and wrong and students appreciate the values held by other races, cultures and beliefs.
About half the students regularly take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities during the week. Although they know how to eat well, a small minority do not think the school helps them to be healthy; this is partly a consequence of a high proportion of students leaving the site at lunchtimes. Many students participate in community-wide schemes such as environmental protection and preparing advisory information regarding Internet safety for use by other schools.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||2|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||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||2|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average; and 4 is low
During the inspection, the quality of lessons seen ranged from satisfactory to outstanding. Inspectors agree with the school that the overall quality of teaching and learning is satisfactory. In most lessons, relationships are positive and behaviour is good, reinforcing the positive attitudes of students towards their learning. In the best lessons, exciting tasks motivated students to attempt challenging activities, even where some students had significant learning difficulties. For example, in an information and communication technology lesson, the teacher prepared different resources in order to interest and engage the widely differing abilities in the class. The expectation was for all students to develop a chart from a spreadsheet, the learning resources varied in line with the abilities of the individual student and as a result all students made good progress. In the satisfactory lessons the expectations of teachers are lower and planning is not refined sufficiently. As a result the pace is slower and students make less progress.
Teachers use regular assessments of the progress of students to provide support for those who underachieve. However, the quality of marking varies too much. At its best, detailed written feedback gives clear guidance on what students need to do to improve. In contrast, some marking is infrequent, with little comment to aid improvement and students are not expected to complete or improve sub-standard work.
The Key Stage 3 curriculum includes a high degree of support for individual literacy and numeracy alongside cross-subject projects and the development of thinking skills. This flexible and individually focussed approach continues at Key Stage 4. Extensive and imaginative partnerships with other agencies and providers further enhance the curriculum for older pupils. Many students therefore gain worthwhile vocational experience and qualifications whilst still at school. As a result, the proportion of Year 11 students who do not continue into education or employment with training has halved since the previous inspection. Students with specific learning needs are successfully included in lessons, because the specialist planning to meet those needs is effective.
The school knows each of its students very well, and is very successful in meeting their needs, however challenging some of those needs can be. A student felt much better about themselves since recently transferring into the school. The school goes the extra mile to compensate for the barriers to learning faced by many of its young people, with catch-up sessions, a tailored curriculum, and excellent partnerships with support agencies. Students with special educational needs or disabilities benefit from the good quality support provided by teaching assistants. The working ethos of the school is warm-hearted and welcoming, and is particularly so for vulnerable learners; their peers are very good at including such students into everyday school life. The school provides good quality information to parents and students about how well they are progressing towards challenging targets.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||2|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
The school's primary motivation is about inclusion. From the governors through to administrative staff, everybody is committed to ensuring learners are given every opportunity to reach their potential irrespective of background and need. Senior leaders have made accurate evaluations of the school's main strengths and weaknesses, and developed adequate plans to raise standards further. The headteacher's commitment to equality of opportunity has also ensured a successful programme of staff development, including the training of new teachers and support staff. As a result, the school has been able to maintain a stable staff despite local difficulties in recruitment and retention. The school has maintained 'Investors in People' status and is rightly proud of this affirmation of the high quality training and development of staff.
Leadership and management of teaching and learning are satisfactory. Senior leaders in the school monitor accurately the quality of lessons and students' work. However, middle managers do not use the results of their own quality assurance activities to diagnose strengths and weaknesses to the same extent. As a result, priorities and strategies to improve the teaching within their own faculties are less clear.
Safeguarding procedures are effective, because the school is alert to the well-being of all learners, and expert in addressing any needs that arise. The school exceeds the minimum requirements for safe recruiting and vetting of adults working with children. Governors have an adequate understanding of school performance although have relatively few links with school managers on a day-to-day basis, other than at headteacher level. Nevertheless, the governors continue to drive successful partnerships with the local community and their vision underpins the effective work of the school in promoting community cohesion.
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||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||2|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||3|
The large majority of parents who returned the Ofsted questionnaire are happy with their child's experience at the school. During the first inspection day 168 questionnaires were recorded in detail and the analysis shown in the following table. A further 76 questionnaires were received on day 2. A very small minority of parents felt that the school did not deal with unacceptable behaviour, but inspection evidence shows that the school is effective at managing the rare instances of poor behaviour. A few parents also thought the school did not help their children to have a healthy lifestyle. A few parents mentioned their disapproval of the off-site arrangements for lunch. The school does provide cooked meals and sandwiches, and supervised spaces for children to eat packed lunches. The school also requires parents to give written approval for children to leave the site at lunchtime.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Wodensborough Community Technology College 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 244 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 1081 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||36||21||109||65||15||9||5||3|
|The school keeps my child safe||31||18||119||71||12||7||4||2|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||32||19||104||62||22||13||4||2|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||32||19||124||74||3||2||4||2|
|The teaching is good at this school||31||18||121||72||10||6||3||2|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||30||18||108||64||20||12||5||3|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||17||10||123||73||19||11||3||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)||27||16||118||70||9||5||3||2|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||26||15||125||74||8||5||2||1|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||37||22||91||54||25||15||7||4|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||19||11||114||68||14||8||5||3|
|The school is led and managed effectively||29||17||120||71||9||5||4||2|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||45||27||110||65||7||4||3||2|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
2 October 2009
Inspection of Wodensborough Community Technology College, Wednesbury, WS10 0DR
Thank you for your warm and friendly welcome to my inspection team and myself during our recent visit to your school. The most impressive feature of your school is the outstanding level of care you receive, and you as students play a crucial part in looking after each other. It means nobody is left out of classroom and social activity, and explains why almost all of you enjoy school so much. The school does take account of your views, and gives you an important role in the wider community.
Wodensborough is giving you a satisfactory education overall. Almost every student makes the academic progress we expect, given the variety of different talents and abilities you each have. The curriculum is very varied, and allows you to choose a wide range of courses including good vocational pathways. Your performance in science is particularly strong. The quality of teaching and learning is satisfactory, with many examples of outstanding practice. At its best, teachers set you tasks that match your individual abilities well, yet demand all of your attention. Teachers are always willing to help you, and we agree with you that the working relationships between staff and students are enjoyable, good humoured and supportive.
The school checks your academic progress regularly, and will help you if you fall behind. We think that your progress would further improve if the school made better use of how it monitors the quality of teaching to further improve your lessons so that from the start you are all set challenging tasks that take account of your different abilities and knowledge. The majority of the time, your work is marked to praise your efforts. When teachers identify errors and make suggestions on how to improve your work we have asked them to make sure that you do the corrections or repeat the work to a higher standard.
Best wishes for your 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.|