South Devon UTC OFSTED report – Date of Inspection 30th and 31st January 2018
South Devon UTC Trust has now received our OFSTED report and we would like to share with you its findings. While grading the UTC a “requires improvement school” much of the report is very positive and would encourage you to read it in full when published next Monday 26th February, however I summarise the findings for you below.
OFSTED confirmed a lot of very positive comments about the UTC. They recognised that:
“As a result of the school’s extensive business links, all pupils found appropriate places in education, employment or training at the end of last year”.
These destinations ranged from our partner Russell Group University at Exeter, the Higher and Advanced Apprenticeships with employers such as MB Aerospace, Briggs and Forester, Tuckers and Volkswagen to name but a few. Students in year 13 this year have already secured offers for a range of Universities and apprenticeships at South West Water and MB Aerospace.
“The School Provides a nurturing environment where pupils feel secure and well supported.”
“Senior leaders are innovative and creative. They have successfully built a functioning school with a distinctive curriculum”
“Senior Leaders have a good understanding of the performance of the school and the areas that require improvement”.
“The school provides a distinctive curriculum which meets the aspirations of pupils well”.
“Pupils receive a well-organised programme of personal, social and health education and so experience a range of opportunities to learn about life in modern Britain. Pupils are respectful of different cultures and religions, and they understand our democratic processes and the importance of the law. For example, pupils clearly understand the importance of the concept of consent when sexual relationships are considered in the legal system. “
OFSTED went on to recognise the remarkable improvements in Engineering this year and identified that these now need consolidating.
OFSTED identified some areas for improvement – these are:
“Raise pupils’ achievements by improving the level of challenge for the most able students”
“Developing further pupils’ writing skills across the school”
“Addressing pupils’ misconceptions when they are identified in assessments”
“Increase rates of attendance”
“Ensuring the [new] middle leadership team further develop their skills through links with other schools and organisations”
“Using the monitoring of teaching more effectively to establish consistently high practice across the school.”
There are no issues here that we were not already aware of and have not begun to show considerable improvement on. In the body of the report the inspector commented on the “rigorous efforts with some success” in increasing attendance.
Clearly we will be redoubling our efforts to improve on all of these fronts. Essentially the report is saying we have everything in place, there have been many developments and improvements this year, and they just to be embedded further. It is good to remember that we have only been doing things for the second time since September, naturally we improve on this each year.
The report goes on to add:
“The mutual respect between pupils and teachers and the positive school climate help to promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Senior leaders consistently model positive attitudes and values. As a result, pupils accept each other readily, regardless of their background or circumstances.”
“Governors are committed to the vision of creating a new type of school with a distinctive curriculum. The governing body draws many of its members from the school’s strategic partners in education and industry. As a result, it is a skilled group which combines extensive experience with a passion for the school’s mission. These skills are deployed well, for example to inform recent improvements to the line management and performance management processes.”
“Senior leaders have been successful in developing teachers’ assessment of pupils’ work. Teachers use a consistent approach to assessment which is effective in highlighting gaps in pupils’ understanding.”
“Teaching in English is improving quickly. Across the school teaching develops pupils’ literacy skills in many subjects.”
“Teaching in key stage 4 science is well planned and uses practical work effectively to enthuse pupils. As a result, pupils are motivated to succeed and develop their scientific knowledge well.”
“Pupils are proud to be part of the school community”
The overall judgement of the report was “Requires Improvement”. As a UTC in only its 3rd year of operation, with one set of exam results that is where we are and is probably about right. We have an education adviser from the DFE attached to us who will monitor our progress in meeting the areas for improvement every term for the next 2 years, when OFSTED will return again. This will clearly be assisted by our process to join a Multi Academy Trust later this year. Governors and teachers are currently developing the action plan that automatically follows any OFSTED inspection.