Princes Risborough School

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About Princes Risborough School

Name Princes Risborough School
Ofsted Inspections
Mr Simon Baker
Address Merton Road, Princes Risborough, HP27 0DR
Phone Number 01844345496
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1019
Local Authority Buckinghamshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are motivated to achieve and to be successful. They are positive about their future aspirations and enjoy school.

This is because leaders' high expectations for pupils are evident in many aspects of day-to-day life. The school is a calm, orderly place. In lessons, pupils are engaged and concentrate well.

They benefit from teachers' high levels of expertise. Pupils appreciate the support they get from staff, which helps them to learn well. Staff look after pupils' well-being and safety.

One pupil, reflecting the views of many, described the school as, 'a community where everyone is treated as an individual'.

Pupils learn to take responsibility ...for themselves and each other. Sixth-form students, for example, act as mentors to younger pupils.

Other pupils are specially trained 'ambassadors' who support the mental health of their peers. There are opportunities for pupils to volunteer and to serve others, both in school and beyond, for example at a local food bank. Pupils respect each other and the adults with whom they work.

Relationships are strong. This means that the majority of pupils are kind and considerate. However, when bullying happens or if pupils use any derogatory language, staff deal with this quickly and effectively.

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

Leaders, governors and trustees have an ambitious vision. This is having a clear impact in a wide range of ways because they work successfully to make this vision a reality. The curriculum is mostly very effective from Year 7 to the end of the sixth form.

Pupils achieve strongly overall. They behave well and the school invests in their wider development. Students in the growing sixth form receive the right education and guidance to support them for their next steps beyond school.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) have their needs identified accurately and early, including those in the specially resourced provision for pupils with SEND. Leaders rightly recognise that there are still aspects of the school that could improve further. For example, although leaders have successfully improved attendance rates, some pupils still miss school too often, including in the sixth form.

Pupils study a broad curriculum, acquiring much knowledge that they build on subsequently. Some subjects, such as English, are especially effective at supporting pupils' learning because the very well-designed curriculum is expertly taught in all key stages. Some other subjects are not quite at this level.

The impact that teachers' checks on pupils' learning have on pupils' subsequent achievement is stronger in some subjects than in others. Students in the sixth form follow a wide range of courses. However, a relatively low proportion of pupils study the full suite of English Baccalaureate subjects in key stage 4.

Although this is rising slowly, leaders have plans in place to address this.

The professional knowledge of staff is strong. Leaders prioritise developing the expertise of staff by providing high-quality training.

Teachers have very good subject knowledge. They also support pupils' reading in lessons, helping pupils to learn and use appropriate subject-specific vocabulary. The needs of pupils with SEND are mostly met precisely because of teachers' careful adaptations, ensuring high expectations of pupils with SEND.

Pupils who struggle with reading get the right help so that they can access learning fully.

Pupils value equality and diversity. While they appreciate the differences between people in society, their understanding of different religious faiths is uneven.

Pupils know what underpins healthy relationships. They do not tolerate any discrimination or harassment and rightly trust staff to tackle any such issues very robustly. Pupils have a very wide range of good-quality opportunities for their personal development.

Although this includes a high number of clubs covering the whole spectrum of pupils' interests, current participation rates are modest. Careers education, independent advice and guidance provide secure support for pupils' future choices. The ambitious reading programme means that pupils read 44 books from a wide range of cultures and periods by the end of Year 10.

Although this is contributing to pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural understanding, some pupils have not bought into it fully.

Trustees and governors are focused and knowledgeable. They evaluate the school's progress effectively.

They know what the school is doing well and what needs to improve further. For example, while staff feel highly valued, governors and trustees are putting into place an even more robust process for managing staff workload. They also recognise that although the vast majority of parents and carers are highly supportive of the school, some parents feel that communication from the school is not effective enough.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Knowledgeable, well-trained staff make sure that any concerns about pupils are identified and referred to leaders promptly. Pupils get the support they need and leaders monitor pupils closely.

Staff take swift and effective action if pupils raise concerns. Leaders liaise and communicate very well with external agencies when appropriate. Any allegations made about members of staff are handled appropriately.

Leaders make all of the right checks on staff before they start work at the school. Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe in their relationships and when online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Not all curriculum areas are as strong as the best.

Pupils do not achieve as well as they could, therefore. In particular, the proportions of pupils achieving well in the full suite of English Baccalaureate subjects are relatively low. Leaders' high ambitions for pupils' education, already evident in many aspects of the school, should be fully realised in practice.

• Some pupils miss too much school, including in the sixth form. Although improving because of leaders' actions to date, rates of persistent absence remain relatively high for these pupils. Leaders' continued work to tackle this issue needs to address it fully and effectively.

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