The Costello School

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About The Costello School

Name The Costello School
Ofsted Inspections
Head Teacher Ms Kirsty Protheroe
Address Crossborough Hill, London Road, Basingstoke, RG21 4AL
Phone Number 01256321263
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1186
Local Authority Hampshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

New leadership has transformed this school since the previous inspection. Parents, pupils and staff enthuse about the many improvements. As one parent said, 'I cannot wait for my other children to get to Costello,' before adding, 'the headteacher inspires parents and children.'

Leaders and teachers help pupils to develop their own unique talents beyond their chosen subjects. Learning is enriched and extended through the huge array of interesting clubs, trips and visits on offer. There is something for everyone here.

Staff work together to raise pupils' aspirations and then support them to achieve their goals.

Pupils' well-being and their pastoral c...are are at the heart of how leaders provide education. Leaders are well aware of how recent times have impacted on many in the school community.

Leaders' caring and compassionate support is enabling staff and pupils to thrive.

Pupils understand and respect the school's behaviour system of consequences and rewards. Good relationships between staff and pupils ensure typically calm, respectful behaviour across the school.

Any form of deliberate unkindness or bullying is rare. There are trusted adults pupils can turn to should they have any concerns. Pupils enjoy school and feel happy and proud to be here.

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

In 2018, the school joined the Bohunt Education Trust (BET), and the new headteacher took up post. Working together, leaders swiftly introduced the trust's ethos of 'enjoy, respect, achieve' while encouraging pupils to become 'game changers' here. Staff and pupils have embraced these raised aspirations, which now underpin everyday life at Costello.

Leaders have significantly improved pastoral support for vulnerable pupils and the quality of education for all pupils, especially the most able.

Costello's ambitious curriculum ensures that pupils access all the national curriculum subjects and their choice of a wide range of relevant vocational subjects. With increasing numbers of pupils opting for modern foreign languages, the proportion of pupils taking the suite of subjects known as the English Baccalaureate is rising.

BET's comprehensive training and coaching programme for teachers has improved curriculum planning across all subjects. English and mathematics have improved significantly. Here, subject leaders know just what they want pupils to learn and in what order, and teachers explain subject matter and check pupils' understanding well.

There is similarly strong practice in the vocational subjects too.

In some subjects, teachers regularly use assessment to check what pupils can remember. However, checking whether pupils can connect and link different aspects of a subject occurs less frequently.

In Years 7 and 8, pupils have too few opportunities to practise their extended writing skills. Consequently, some pupils are not sufficiently stretched, while others find the work too hard. Occasionally, some pupils call out or become passive.

Inspiring leadership of the provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and disadvantaged pupils ensures that these pupils flourish. Teachers are well equipped with useful information to support pupils' learning. Leaders, teachers and support staff work together as a tight-knit team to meet these pupils' pastoral and academic needs very well.

Behaviour is typically good throughout the school; most pupils are respectful and well mannered. They are keen to learn, and they actively engage with the tasks set by their teachers. Staff have access to useful information and training to help them set clear expectations and manage pupils' behaviour well.

The provision for pupils' personal development is exceptional at Costello. High-quality personal, social and health education equips pupils to become respectful citizens in 21st century Britain. Pupils benefit from over 50 artistic, sporting and activities-based clubs, as well as cadets and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which staff willingly provide.

Leaders ensure that all pupils benefit from regular trips and visits to enrich their learning. A well-organised programme of careers education and guidance ensures that all pupils are very well prepared for their next steps beyond school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders, staff and governors give top priority to pupils' safety, welfare and well-being. Pupils say they feel safe and happy here, and parents confirm this. All staff receive regular and appropriate training on safeguarding.

Well-managed school systems are in place to record and share any concern that staff may have about pupils. Safeguarding leaders' records demonstrate how swiftly and effectively the school supports vulnerable pupils. Leaders proactively seek and secure support from external agencies, when necessary, to ensure that pupils get the help they need.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• New assessment approaches in some subject areas require further refinement so that, through these approaches, teachers can more accurately diagnose what pupils know, can remember and do. Currently, not all teachers are able to modify teaching strategies in time to address pupils' learning needs. The design of assessments needs refining to ensure that teachers gather and respond to not only what pupils know in their subject but how they learn in the subject too.

• In some subjects, there are too few opportunities for pupils to reflect and produce their own independent extended writing in key stage 3. This limits their depth of thinking and the application of their learning in the classroom. Building on best practice in the school, leaders need to improve pupils' oracy and extended writing skills to ensure that all pupils are challenged effectively.

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