School shows rapid improvement
DOWNEND School has improved rapidly over the last year, inspectors say.
A team from the watchdog Ofsted, led by Her Majesty's Inspector Peter Limm, visited the large South Gloucestershire comprehensive inMarch and rated it satisfactory in all areas.
Mr Limm said head teacher Will Roberts had "developed a strong ethos of improvement" since he started at the 1,371-pupil school last September.
Students at Downend enjoyed school and felt safe. They "spoke very highly of the guidance and assistance they had received which helped them to improve their performance and their learning", the report said.
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Ofsted also praised the school's "new policy of 'zero tolerance' of poor behaviour".
Inspectors saw many strong lessons, and were impressed by the "good subject knowledge" of teachers, and the "comprehensive programme of training, coaching and support which helps teachers secure good progress for students".
They also praised the "good provision for students' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development".
Ofsted recognised that Downend School recorded its best set of results in 2011.
"Since his appointment the head teacher has successfully built on the strengths of the school, with an unrelenting focus on raising achievement and providing improved provision for all students," the report said.
"[The school] has made rapid improvement over the past year after a period of steady improvement since its last inspection."
The Post-16 centre at Downend was singled out for recognition, with a "clear trend in improved outcomes and provision for students".
Mr Limm said staff had shared vision for the work of the school and school leaders had high aspirations for the future.
To improve further, he said, the school needed to increase the rate of students' progress in maths, increase substantially the proportion of good teaching and ensure middle leaders could evaluate data better.
Mr Roberts said: "We are really pleased that the strengths of Downend School have been recognised by Ofsted, and that they have endorsed our plans to further improve the experiences of students at Downend in the future".
Chairwoman of governors Sue Sheath said: "The governors at Downend have congratulated staff and students on the achievements recognised in this report.
"We are all working closely together to continue Downend's strong upward journey".