Saturday, 28 February 2009

The OFSTED publication 'Twelve Outstanding Secondary Schools Excelling Against the Odds' is worth reading...

The report looks at schools serving 'poorer communities' facing problems including drugs, racism, violence and gangs. These schools have been rated as outstanding in at least two OFSTED inspections. These schools focus on the right things; maintaining the right culture and ethos, securing consistently good teaching and ensuring that behaviour is well managed.

The outstanding schools in the sample succeed for the following reasons.

  • They excel at what they do, not just occasionally but for a high proportion of the time.
  • They prove constantly that disadvantage need not be a barrier to achievement, that speaking English as an additional language can support academic success and that schools really can be learning communities.
  • They put students first, invest in their staff and nurture their communities.
  • They have strong values and high expectations that are applied consistently and never relaxed.
  • They fulfil individual potential through providing outstanding teaching, rich opportunities for learning, and encouragement and support for each student.
  • They are highly inclusive, having complete regard for the educational progress, personal development and well-being of every student.
  • Their achievements do not happen by chance, but by highly reflective, carefully planned and implemented strategies which serve these schools well in meeting the many challenges which obstruct the path to success.
  • They operate with a very high degree of internal consistency.
  • They are constantly looking for ways to improve further.
  • They have outstanding and well-distributed leadership.
The report concludes that every school can be a great school if we focus on the right things. If you want to read the report visit the OFSTED website at

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