Charles Darwin School

Name Charles Darwin School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 24 October 2013
Address Jail Lane, Biggin Hill, Westerham, Kent, TN16 3AU
Phone Number 01959574043
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1282 (48% boys 52% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.1
Local Authority Bromley
Percentage Free School Meals 12.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 3.2%
Persisitent Absence 12.7%
Pupils with SEN Support 11.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Charles Darwin School converted to become an academy school in April 2011. When its predecessor school, with the same name, was last inspected by Ofsted, it was judged to be good. The headteacher was appointed in September 2011. The school is larger than the average secondary school. The school meets the current government floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. The vast majority of students are of White British heritage. Approximately a tenth are from minority ethnic groups. A very small proportion of students, less than a quarter of the national average, speak English as an additional language. The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs who receive support at school action is slightly below national average. The proportion of students who are supported at school action plus, or who have statements of special educational needs, is above the national average. At Key Stage 4, fewer than ten students attend off-site provision at Skills Xtra as part of the curriculum. This provides students with work-related skills in preparation for their future career choices. The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional funding for students known to be entitled to free school meals, looked-after children and those from service families) is below average. Currently, there is one service family child and the number of looked-after children is low. Less than one fifth of Year 7 students are eligible for catch-up funding, which is for pupils who did not achieve the expected level in reading and/or mathematics at the end of primary school.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. Exam results are good in an increasingly wide range of subjects; students make good progress. Teaching is typically good and sometimes outstanding. Teachers have high levels of commitment and strong subject knowledge which underpin effective learning. Teachers and students have high levels of mutual respect. This has resulted in a positive learning atmosphere across the school. Behaviour is good in lessons and during social time. Students are well cared for and feel safe. The governors, headteacher, senior leaders and other leaders and managers are ambitious and driven in their pursuit of excellence. Their efforts are evident in terms of good-quality teaching, resulting in good achievement. Attendance has improved continuously since the academy opened. The need to use fixed-term exclusions has reduced and the exclusion rates are low compared with schools nationally. The sixth form is good. Good teaching results in extremely well-motivated students and good achievement. Students are very well prepared for higher education, training or employment. It is not yet an outstanding school because : The proportion of lessons where the teaching is outstanding is too low. Although expectations and challenge have risen significantly, some teachers do not provide all students with opportunities to extend and develop their thinking. There are still a few weaknesses in teaching and learning and not all actions taken by all leaders result in rapid improvements.