Bishop Heber High School

Name Bishop Heber High School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 11 April 2011
Address Chester Road, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8JD
Phone Number 01948860571
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1306 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.5
Local Authority Cheshire West and Chester
Percentage Free School Meals 5.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1.8%
Persisitent Absence 6.1%
Pupils with SEN Support 7.2%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

This is a broadly average-sized school which has held specialist language college status since 1997 and which serves a large rural area. The school is fed by over 30 primary schools and more than a third of students come from the out-of zone areas of Shropshire, North Wales and other areas of Cheshire. The percentage of students known to be eligible for free school meals is below average. The proportion of students from minority ethnic groups is well below that usually found and there are very few at early stages of learning English. There is an above-average percentage of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities and this has doubled since the previous inspection. Bishop Heber is an accredited Healthy School and holds the Artsmark Silver and International School awards.

Main findings

This is an outstanding school, with an outstanding sixth form. Students achieve exceptionally well in their academic studies and benefit from an excellent curriculum and from outstanding care, guidance and support in everything they do. In their words, ’Whenever we are experiencing difficulty and whenever we are unhappy, the staff always have the time to help us. We are so proud of them and we are so proud of being students at "The Heber".’ Parents and carers agree and add, ’The very enthusiastic staff, who are expertly led, have created the ideal learning environment in which our sons and daughters thrive.’ Students enter Year 7 with generally above-average levels of attainment and make good and improving progress across the school to reach high standards by the end of Year 11. For example, GCSE results in English Language in 2010 were the highest in the school’s history, with every student reaching an A* to G grade and with the percentage of A* and A grades almost three times the national average. There were similar successes in a range of other subjects and most underperforming departments at the time of the previous inspection have produced much improved results over a three-year period. Students behave well and have an outstanding understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle. Specialist language college status permeates every aspect of school life and there are strong international links within Europe and as far afield as China. Students are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage in their education and also for the world of work, partly as a result of the excellent range of partnerships with local business, industry and further education. Teaching is good and improving apace. Teachers know their subjects well. The use of assessment data has improved significantly since the previous inspection and is now good. However, teachers recognise that lesson activities do not always meet the individual learning needs of their students as closely as they might. This is why some students’ progress, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, is good rather than outstanding. Marking is completed but not every subject provides students with written advice on how they can improve their work. Academic guidance is good overall and is exemplary in Key Stage 4 and in the sixth form. The school is now looking to embed this outstanding practice into all years within Key Stage 3. Staff speak highly of the senior leadership team and of the outstanding way in which it motivates teachers, support and administrative staff. ’Our voices are always listened to and our contribution to school life is valued highly’, is a typical comment. The school has an accurate awareness of its strengths and areas for development and both academic and pastoral staff are actively involved in gauging performance and in action planning for improvement. High standards, outstanding student achievement and significant improvements since the previous inspection demonstrate that the school has an outstanding capacity to sustain improvement. It provides outstanding value for money.