School bridges the gap with vision and determination
BRISTOL's first all-age state school has won the endorsement of the learning watchdog Ofsted.
The first inspection of the Bridge Learning Campus in Hartcliffe has found that education provision for children aged 11 to 16 is improving rapidly.
The Ofsted team reported that students were enthusiastic about their £37 million building and that new methods of teaching and learning were beginning to show good results.
The inspectors praised the "vision, drive and determination" of chief executive Mark Davies and his staff and the outstanding role played by governors.
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"The chief executive and the governors have successfully led a number of extremely significant changes since the last inspection that have raised the aspirations and expectations of both students and staff," they said.
Lead inspector Peter Sanderson praised the innovative, creative and effective curriculum, which he said met students' needs well and was leading to raised standards.
The rise in GCSE results last summer was well above the national average, he said.
The inspectors noted that the school's set-up, with older pupils taught in two phases, Years 6 to 8 and Years 9 to 11, was working well.
"The flexibility of the curriculum in these years, allowing students to follow accredited courses in one, two or three years depending on their ability, is beginning to show positive benefits," the report said.
The link with City of Bristol College, which is also on the campus, was also highlighted.
The inspectors said students enjoyed school and their behaviour around campus was good. This was leading to improved attendance levels, which are now around the national average.
Students were said to respond well to lively, enthusiastic teaching. The quality of teaching overall was rated as good.
Pastoral support for students was said to be strong and the school was described as welcoming and inclusive with a good knowledge of its community.
The campus's secondary section, which has 667 students, was judged to be satisfactory overall, with a good capacity to improve.
The inspectors said teaching would be even better and attainment would be raised further if all staff planned work matched to students' abilities and ensured consistent feedback to students. Subject leaders were asked to reduce variations in progress.