|Name||Alexandra Park School|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Outstanding|
|Inspection Date||15 November 2011|
|Address||Bidwell Gardens, London, N11 2AZ|
|Religious Character||Does Not Apply|
|Number of Pupils||1683 (51% boys 49% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||15.2|
|Academy Sponsor||New River Trust|
|Percentage Free School Meals||12.6%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||32.9%|
Information about the school
Student numbers have been steadily rising and the school is now well above average in size. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is above average. The large majority of the students are from a wide range of minority ethnic backgrounds. One-third of the students speak English as an additional language. This is a much higher proportion than usually found. The proportion of students identified with special educational needs and/or disabilities is well above average. Their needs are mostly associated with moderate learning difficulties, often related to literacy. The proportion of students with statements of special educational needs is also well above average. The school has recently been awarded International School status and is one of only 30 National Space Schools. The school has dual specialisms in science and mathematics, and it is also a Training School. It converted to Academy status in October 2011. The current headteacher has been appointed since the school’s previous inspection.
Alexandra Park School is an outstanding school. The decisive and inspirational leadership of the headteacher and a highly effective leadership team has enabled Alexandra Park School to continue its journey of rapid improvement since its last inspection. It is a reflective and self-critical organisation which lives its aim to ‘put learning first’ through its every action. Students are highly motivated learners who make rapid progress from their starting points through outstanding teaching, an excellent curriculum and exemplary care, guidance and support. Attainment is high and rising by Year 11 and in the sixth form. Well-established and highly effective systems have supported the improvement of teaching and learning. A significant amount of teaching inspires the students and moves their learning forward at a rapid pace. The school has recognised that students could have more opportunities to use their information and communication technology skills to support learning across subjects. The recent focus on making better use of assessment to support learning is implemented successfully in most classrooms. Much skilful questioning engages and challenges the students, which the school has identified as practice it can disseminate into all lessons. The rich and diverse curriculum provides many memorable experiences within and beyond the school day. Courses are added and programmes adapted to meet the needs of individuals and groups of students so that everyone has a chance to be successful. Students feel exceptionally safe in school because, ‘bullying is certainly not tolerated here’ as one said and issues they raise are dealt with seriously. Behaviour is good and improving because of the consistent way it is handled. The students play a major role in school and community life such as through their representation on the Safer Neighbourhood Panel or organising campaigns on sustainable development. Their excellent spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is reflected in their great consideration towards each other. Promoting equality of opportunity and tackling discrimination are central to the school’s operation. The staff team works tirelessly to identify and break down potential barriers to learning for individuals and groups of students. Its success is based on knowing its students as individuals and building trusting relationships so that action can be tailored sharply to meet their needs. Very effective support built on warm and constructive relationships with staff enables pupils with a statement of special educational needs to make excellent progress towards their targets even if at times the steps are small. The well-led and very effective governing body undertakes its responsibilities in an exemplary manner, particularly in relation to safeguarding the students and planning for greater community cohesion. This includes extensive partnership work and the strong and productive relationships with home. A key factor in the school’s continual improvement is the pivotal role played by the team of highly effective middle leaders following a concerted approach to improving their expertise through focused professional development. Sophisticated and accurate self-evaluation is based on a searching analysis of performance. This helps leaders devise exceptionally well-focused plans that have been instrumental in driving improvement forward at pace and securing outstanding outcomes. Leaders and governors do not tolerate complacency and will not allow the school to rest on its laurels in their pursuit of excellence. The rapid progress in recent years and the commitment of governors and leaders to drive up standards further give the school an outstanding capacity for sustained improvement.