Friday, 20 April 2012

"Twelve outstanding secondary schools"

I have visited some great secondary schools in Sheffield this year. Schools like Bradfield, Firth Park, Stocksbridge and Yewlands, who I am working with on the Cutlers "Made in Sheffield' Initiative. And I know that there are loads of great schools in Leeds. Schools like Carr Manor, Cockburn, Roundhay, John Smeaton, Morley High and David Young to name just six.
What you realise as you walk around these schools, talk to colleagues and students and watch what is going on, is that they are full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to release the potential and the magic in their students! Sad really but I was re-reading the OFSTED report, "Twelve outstanding secondary schools: Excelling against the odds, over Easter and it's easy to see that these schools, in Sheffield and Leeds, are working hard to embrace the characteristics OFSTED said that we need to build consistently across all our secondary provision.

In case you haven't read the report recently, the outstanding schools in the OFSTED sample succeeded for the following reasons.
  • They excel at what they do.
  • They prove constantly that disadvantage need not be a barrier to achievement.
  • They put their students first, invest in their staff and nurture their communities.
  • They have strong values and high expectations that are applied consistently.
  • They provide 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.
  • They are highly reflective and have carefully planned and implemented improvement strategies. 
  • 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.
So don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done or that it requires Academy status to create extraordinary provision. Brilliant things are happening in these schools and in schools like these across the country. We must share and constantly learn from these success stories and continue our relentless and uncompromising focus on building outstanding provision for every child and young person, in every school, serving every community across the country... whatever it takes!

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