|Name||Southend High School for Girls|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Outstanding|
|Inspection Date||08 December 2011|
|Address||Southchurch Boulevard, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 4UZ|
|Number of Pupils||1186 (3% boys 97% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||17.4|
|Academy Sponsor||Southend High School For Girls Academy Trust|
|Percentage Free School Meals||4.3%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||9.8%|
|Pupils with SEN Support||0.2%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||Yes, our catchment area data is FREE|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
Information about the school
Southend High School for Girls is broadly average sized. It is a grammar school and its sixth form takes students from other schools, including some boys. Most students are from a White British heritage, and a broadly average proportion is from minority ethnic backgrounds. No students are in the early stages of learning English. The proportion of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities is low and the proportion known to be entitled to free school meals is below average. The school is a specialist languages college. The school has Healthy Schools status, International School award and the Eco-School award.
Southend High School for Girls is an outstanding school. All aspects of the school’s work are excellent and the great majority of parents, carers and students are extremely pleased with the quality of education and the care, guidance and support it provides. One parent or carer wrote, ‘The school has provided my daughter with an excellent education. More than that, it has a warm, friendly and supportive ethos that has allowed her confidence to grow over the years.’ Attainment is high and especially so in English. Students are extremely articulate and write with a high level of maturity and sophistication. While performance in mathematics in recent examinations was high, it was slightly below that of English. The school has dealt with this successfully, as it does with any slight variations between subjects, and attainment in mathematics is now much the same as in English. Levels of attainment are high in sciences and modern foreign languages. In science, recently adopted courses mean that students have studied science to greater depth than previously and have reached higher levels of attainment than in recent years. Students’ progress is outstanding and has generally been sustained at this level for some years. Students of all abilities make outstanding progress, and where students do need particular support, it contributes extremely well to their excellent progress. Teaching is excellent, never less than good and effective in promoting outstanding progress and sustained high levels of attainment. Lessons are interesting; briskly paced, and contain challenging work that is closely matched to what students need for academic success. Teachers’ questioning is exceptionally good. They challenge students’ perceptions, and expect them to explain and justify their thinking. Assessment of students’ progress is particularly good, and used exceptionally well to set on-going and examination targets, the great majority of which are fully understood by students. Teachers’ marking is usually excellent giving students outstanding guidance on how to improve their work. However, a small proportion of students commented on this otherwise exceptional situation; occasionally the link, between targets and how marking informs students about their successes, is lost and next steps in learning and how to reach them are not clear. The curriculum is excellent and provides a very wide range of subjects to support students, achievement of academic excellence. It is enriched with a wide range of visits, conferences, special focus days (flexible Fridays) and opportunities for students to choose activities they want to engage in. The range of out of school activities is excellent and extremely well supported by students. The academy has specialist language status and promotes languages in other subjects extremely well. It encourages links with other schools and international links exceptionally well, and provides excellent opportunities for students with English as an additional language to study their home language. Students thoroughly enjoy school. Their behaviour is excellent and attainment levels are very high. Students feel safe at all times, know how to keep themselves safe, and readily tell others about their concerns if they arise. Their contributions to the school and wider community are excellent. Their understanding of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle is outstanding and almost all take part in the extremely wide range of competitive or non-competitive physical activities. Students hold the school in very high regard. One said she found staff inspirational, and another that the school had ‘helped her grow into a woman.’ The quality of care, guidance and support is outstanding. Parents and carers are well-informed about students’ progress and have ready access to staff for further information. One student, reflecting the views of others, said that ‘the school has done everything for me and my family.’ Students from all backgrounds and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities are supported exceptionally well. Advice for higher education and careers opportunities is exceptionally good, and valued highly by students. Leaders and managers have an exceptionally clear view of how effective the school is and what needs to be done to sustain the high levels of provision. They act fast to implement improvements. The work to improve the quality of teaching is excellent and is aided by the very professional approach of all staff in evaluating their own and other’s work. Significant improvements have been made in how the school records and uses assessment information to track students’ progress and plan work that is always challenging. The governing body is extremely well informed and works closely with senior staff to drive improvement and to maintain outstanding provision. Given the effectiveness with which the school sustains very high standards and improves provision where it can, the capacity to sustain further improvement is excellent.