Debden Park High School

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About Debden Park High School

Name Debden Park High School
Ofsted Inspections
Head of School Dr Andrew Hogan
Address Willingale Road, Debden, Loughton, IG10 2BQ
Phone Number 02085082979
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1053
Local Authority Essex
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of outstanding as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection. However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now.

The school's next inspection will be a graded inspection.

The head of school is Andrew Hogan. This school is part of The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), which means other people in the trust also have responsibility for running the school.

The trust is run by the chief executive officer, Karen Roberts, and overseen by a board of trustees, chaired by Gaenor Bagley. There is also an executive headteacher, Helen Gascoyne, who also responsible for this school and has some trust-wide responsibilities.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy as they build strong relationships with peers.

Sixth-form students mentor younger pupils. They engage in conversation with the younger pupils around the school. Almost everyone feels comfortable and safe.

Pupils know there is always a staff member they can turn to. They look forward to coming together as a community at events such as the Christmas performance.

Pupils know that staff want them to achieve their best.

They study a broad and interesting curriculum. Pupils benefit from teachers who have strong subject knowledge. Pupils get lots of helpful guidance to ensure that they are able to make well-informed choices about their next steps.

Sometimes, pupils do not get precise enough guidance about how to improve their work. This means they do not always achieve as well as they might.

Pupils want to come to school.

Attendance is strong. Pupils understand that lesson time is for learning. Any disruption is extremely rare.

Where it does ever happen, teachers deal with it quickly and effectively. Pupils really value how positive behaviour and achievements are celebrated. They also take great pride in the leadership roles they have such as 'The BE team' and 'Debden Hearts'.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The school has ensured that pupils study a curriculum that is well matched to their needs. Pupils receive high-quality careers guidance that supports them effectively to make informed choices. For example, pupils who have early aspirations to study medicine are guided to study triple science at GCSE.

Trips and wider experiences enhance the curriculum. For example, pupils visit Epping forest, so they can draw on experiences that enhance their writing.

The planned curriculum is effective.

The school has ensured that, in each subject, pupils' understanding of important knowledge builds over time. Teachers are typically subject experts. They provide clear explanations and use examples effectively.

Pupils understand the most important knowledge. However, on occasion, teachers do not give precise enough guidance where there are gaps in pupils' understanding, or opportunities for pupils to improve further. This means that, although pupils typically achieve well, some do not achieve as well as they might.

The school has prioritised increasing the take-up of languages at GCSE. This means the number of pupils who enter the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is currently low, but increasing year on year. The EBacc is an academically ambitious range of subjects, which provide a broad foundation of knowledge, that pupils can take at GCSE.

Reading is sharply prioritised. Pupils have regular reading lessons where staff model reading and build pupils' reading ability. Teachers promote and develop subject-specific vocabulary across the curriculum effectively.

Those pupils at the earlier stages of reading receive effective, tailored support to help them overcome existing barriers to reading.

The school ensures that pupils with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have their needs identified effectively. Strategies to support pupils' needs are captured in plans that pupils, teachers and parents review.

Teachers use these plans to support pupils with SEND to access the curriculum and achieve well.

Sixth-form students are supported to become confident young adults. The school provides a wealth of opportunities for students to enrich and deepen their experiences.

These opportunities prepare them for their next steps. For example, 'The BE' student leadership team is actively involved in changing and improving the school. Students identified well-being as a whole-school priority and have contributed to assemblies and growing pupils' awareness of mental health.

Leaders have prioritised promoting good attendance, so pupils attend well. Pupils treat each other with tolerance and respect. They have positive attitudes to learning.

Any disruption to learning is rare.

The school offers a wide range of opportunities that extend the curriculum. Most pupils attend a well-developed 'period 7' offer.

This enriches pupils' wider experiences well. For example, pupils get to make pizza while learning Italian phrases. Pupils learn about relationships and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a well-planned programme of personal, social and health education (PSHE).

Pupils have regular opportunities to participate in musical and expressive arts performances. These bring the school together as a community.

The trust has ensured that responsibilities for governance are well understood and work effectively.

In partnership with the trust, governors challenge and support leaders effectively. For example, they come and see things at the school first-hand, so they can ask well-informed questions in meetings. Leaders are highly considerate of staff workload and well-being.

Staff genuinely feel there is a supportive culture where they can share practice and develop professionally.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school has not ensured that pupils always get precise enough guidance in some subjects about how to address gaps in their understanding, or how to improve the quality of their work further.

As a result, pupils do not always embed what they have learned well enough, or have enough clarity about what they need to do to close gaps in their learning. The school needs to ensure that all teachers accurately and precisely identify any gaps in pupils' understanding, and that all pupils receive precise information about what they need to do to either close these gaps or improve further, so that they achieve as well as they might.


When we have judged a school to be outstanding, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in January 2017.

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