Lord Williams’s School

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About Lord Williams’s School

Name Lord Williams’s School
Website http://www.lordwilliams.oxon.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Jon Ryder
Address Oxford Road, Thame, OX9 2AQ
Phone Number 01844210510
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 2229
Local Authority Oxfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud to attend this school. Staff have high expectations for pupils.

Pupils get off to a flying start at the lower school. Lessons build on prior knowledge learned in primary schools. In the popular sixth-form, students study a wide range of academic and vocational courses.

Older pupils take on positions of responsibility, for example, on the student leader programme. There are many opportunities to complete voluntary work. The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme is highly successful, with over 200 pupils taking part each year.

This enables pupils to develop talents and interests as well as building positive character traits.

Pupils feel safe ...at school and they know they have someone to talk to if they have worries. Pupils say that bullying is not tolerated here.

They told inspectors, 'It is ok to be yourself here as we celebrate differences'. Some parents and pupils told inspectors that they feel that staff do not deal with bullying effectively.

The behaviour of pupils is good.

Pupils engage well in lessons. Sixth-form students are mature in their approach to independent study.

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

Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum that prepares pupils for life beyond school.

In most subjects, curriculum sequencing enables pupils to build on prior learning. However, the curriculum in some subjects, including mathematics, does not prepare students well for further study in the sixth form. Teachers have strong subject knowledge.

They use this to enthuse and inspire pupils in lessons and beyond. Occasional low-level disruption in lessons occurs as a result of inconsistencies in teaching. Leaders are aware of this and are taking steps to support teachers to eradicate this.

The large sixth form provides access to a wide range of qualifications for students of all abilities. Students follow either an academic route or study a range of vocational and academic qualifications.

In most subjects, teachers use assessment to identify gaps in pupils' knowledge or skills.

Subsequently, lesson activities enable pupils to overcome misconceptions or gaps. Pupils who are disadvantaged or who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) achieve well. Teachers receive specialist training to support learning and tailor lessons to individual pupils' needs.

There is a focus on support for weaker readers at key stage 3. Individually tailored plans effectively help pupils to quickly catch up with reading skills. At key stage 4, leaders recognise that not enough pupils currently gain qualifications in the English baccalaureate.

Leaders are working hard to address this by increasing the number of pupils who study modern foreign languages.

Leaders have crafted a thorough programme of personal development. Careers education enables pupils to make informed choices about their future in education, training or work.

Pupils learn about democracy and debating in 'Learning for Life' (L4L). A comprehensive programme of social, moral, cultural and spiritual education prepares pupils for life in modern Britain. The wide-ranging personal, social and health education (PSHE) programme teaches pupils, among other things, about keeping healthy and safe.

Assemblies, tutor time, the physical education programme and visiting experts all contribute to high-quality delivery of the PSHE programme. A plethora of extra-curricular clubs enriches the curriculum. Leaders are aware that they need to continue to encourage pupils to re-engage with these activities, especially as uptake in some activities is low due to the pandemic.

There is a specialist resource provision on site for pupils with specific SEND needs. These pupils benefit from both individual support and learning alongside their peers. Some pupils with SEND have modified timetables to help them overcome their own individual challenges, for example, one student in the sixth form told inspectors how the school is helping her realise her career ambitions when she leaves school and goes on to study at university in her chosen field.

Staff provide high-quality pastoral support, with well-trained staff dedicated to supporting pupils with academic and health matters. One parent, typical of many, told inspectors, 'the school shows genuine care for our child'. Students in the sixth form mentor younger pupils and take on extra responsibilities, such as completing supervisory duties at lunchtime.

Trustees and governors support the school effectively and provide appropriate challenge in most matters. Parents are positive about the school. Staff are proud to work here, and support staff appreciate the opportunities for career progression and professional development.

Leaders balance staff well-being with a focus on improving standards for pupils.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The school has an effective system for identifying pupils who may need early help, or who are at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Dedicated pastoral staff, alongside safeguarding leaders, ensure that pupils receive appropriate and timely help. Safeguarding concerns are managed efficiently and effectively. Leaders meet regularly and review cases and concerns, taking valuable learning from complex cases to further protect and safeguard children.

Leaders have created an appropriate safeguarding curriculum to educate and prepare pupils for life as young adults. The L4L programme equips pupils with age-appropriate knowledge and skills, including teaching them about current issues such as online sexual abuse and sexual violence.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Curriculum thinking in some subjects, for example, in physical education, is not as well developed as in others.

The carefully constructed sequence of learning, that enables pupils to know more and remember more, is not as finessed as leaders want it to be. This means pupils do not always learn how to do more or remember more as a result of the teaching they experience. Subject leaders should continue to refine their curriculum thinking in these subjects so that pupils are able to remember key knowledge and learn new skills more effectively.

• Leaders understand that although they have policies and procedures in place to address bullying, some parents and pupils do not understand fully how bullying is addressed by the school. As a result, not all pupils and parents are as clear as they need to be of the school's processes. Leaders and staff need to take further steps to ensure that all pupils and parents have a stronger understanding of the school's response to bullying.

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