Testbourne Community School

Name Testbourne Community School
Website http://www.testbourne.school
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 11 November 2010
Address Micheldever Road, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7JF
Phone Number 01256892061
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 861 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 19.2
Local Authority Hampshire
Percentage Free School Meals 4.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1.7%
Persisitent Absence 11.5%
Pupils with SEN Support 10.6%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

The school is smaller than the average secondary school, though numbers have risen as a result of planned expansion over time. It has specialist status in the performing arts and the Artsmark Gold award. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is lower than average. Although the proportion of students with a statement of special educational needs is lower than average, there is an average proportion of students on the register of those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The school has International School status. For its provision in information and communication technology (ICT) and sport, the school has been awarded the ICTmark and Sportsmark.

Main findings

In this outstanding school, excellent leadership and management have resulted in significant improvements since the last inspection. Attainment in GCSE examinations has risen and is now high. The personal development of the students throughout the school is excellent. Rigorous self-evaluation and meticulous planning have ensured that the school now has an outstanding curriculum which motivates and engages students in their learning. The school’s ’rainbow pathways’ provide them with an excellent range of courses to fit their needs and aspirations. Exceptionally good partnerships with other providers and agencies underpin the curriculum and the excellent care, guidance and support. Students feel entirely safe and secure in school. They fully appreciate the school’s insistence on promoting ’Rights, Respect and Responsibility’ and make an excellent contribution to the school and the community. They are proud of their school, confident in their teachers and show this through excellent behaviour around the school and in lessons. A very high proportion of those parents and carers who responded to the questionnaire expressed their full confidence in the school. Rigorous monitoring of the students’ progress and careful identification of particular groups and individuals have enabled the school to put in place extra support for them. An extensive range of strategies include: mentoring; extra classes; careful tracking of individual progress; and provision of support with completion of coursework. Consequently, students make good progress from their starting points to reach high standards. The provision for gifted and talented students is exemplary in its rigour, planning and application, resulting in high achievement for this group of students throughout the school. Teaching is securely good overall and occasionally outstanding, but its quality is suppressed below the excellence of other aspects of provision by the persistence of elements of satisfactory practice, sometimes evident even in lessons which are good overall. In particular, the quality of assessment, notably marking, is inconsistent. Although there is some excellent practice, notably in the most successful subjects such as English, marking varies considerably within and across departments in terms of regularity and quality. Books are sometimes left unmarked for too long and some comments give no indication of precisely why a piece of work is judged good or not, or of how it could be improved. This lack of clarity in marking sometimes leads to lesson planning which does not address the specific needs of individuals and groups in classes. Although many aspects of teaching are good, the quality of questioning is inconsistent, with too much that simply seeks correct answers from volunteers rather than probing students to extend and explain their conclusions. The excellent quality of leadership and management in driving the school forward has been the key to the improvements made since the last inspection. Leaders have used rigorous and accurate self-evaluation, identifying areas for improvement and planning carefully to bring these about. Staff enjoy working in this supportive and forward-looking environment, playing their part well in bringing about positive change. Along with the rise in achievement and the excellent quality of personal development, outstanding self-evaluation and planning show that the school has an excellent capacity to make even greater improvement in the future.