Tomlinscote School

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About Tomlinscote School

Name Tomlinscote School
Ofsted Inspections
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Address Tomlinscote Way, Frimley, Camberley, GU16 8PY
Phone Number 01276709050
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1480 (50.3% boys 49.7% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 17.5
Academy Sponsor The Prospect Trust
Local Authority Surrey
Percentage Free School Meals 4.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 10.8%
Persistent Absence 10%
Pupils with SEN Support 7.8%
Highlights from Latest Inspection
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.

Main findings

Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College is an outstanding school which has strengthened almost all aspects of its work since its last inspection.

As a result, students attain very high standards because they make outstanding progress during their school careers, giving them a very strong basis for their future working lives. The school is a purposeful and happy place with a strong commitment to ensuring that all students have an equal chance to succeed. Students have excellent attitudes to school and their learning, as can be seen in their high attendance and mature attitudes towards their work.

They manage their own behaviour exceptionally well and show a high level of respect for others a...nd the school's surroundings. The impact of specialist status permeates the school's whole existence, philosophy and ethos. Students' enjoyment of school is attributable to a curriculum which is increasingly responsive to their needs, evidenced by the wider range of vocational options offered this year.

This is also the case in the sixth form. The school has made excellent use of additional funding through its language specialism to promote an extensive take-up of a range of languages, including European and non-European, and to promote language teaching in local primary schools. As a result, a large majority of students gain five or more good grades in GCSE subjects including English, mathematics, science and a modern foreign language, which is significantly higher than the national average.

These high standards have been maintained over the last three years. The school's contribution to pupils' understanding of other cultures is outstanding, with an impressive range of visits, including those with particular interests in further study of languages and those with other interests. All groups of students make outstanding progress overall, including students with special educational needs and/or disabilities, because of the very effective support they receive from learning support staff.

Although students with less complex special educational needs progress excellently through the school, in some lessons their progress is slower than it might be because some teachers do not use a sufficiently wide range of approaches to address their specific needs. Much of the school's success is due to a focus on improving teaching and monitoring students' progress regularly, so that immediate action is taken if a student is seen to fall behind the expected levels. The school's data are accurate and the information is used successfully to plan work appropriate to students' ability and prior attainment, and to give them a clear understanding of the quality of their work.

Although highly successful within the school as a whole, senior leaders are aware of some inconsistency in assessment approaches and have a coaching programme in place to support those teachers who need to develop their practice further and thereby give students more written guidance about how their work could be improved. The executive headteacher, head of school, governing body and staff share an ambitious vision for the school and how to continue to improve students' attainment. The school has many effective systems, including electronic mail, to communicate with parents and carers and seeks their views regularly.

However, a minority of parents and carers indicated in the questionnaire that they do not feel that their suggestions and concerns are taken into account sufficiently. The strong focus on improving teaching is seen in an overall improvement since the last inspection. Leaders at all levels in the school have an accurate understanding of the school's strengths and relative weaknesses because they are involved in evaluating the impact of initiatives.

They have good opportunities to reflect on the school's work with external consultants and through their work with staff in other schools, most particularly in the support plan for the federated school. Senior and middle leaders are skilled and thrive on their accountabilities. Priorities are well planned and relevant and senior leaders have very coherent strategies for future development.

The highly effective improvements made since the last inspection give the school an exceptionally strong basis for improving, giving the school an outstanding capacity for sustaining improvement.

Information about the school

The school is larger than the average-sized secondary school. It has an allocation of up to 15 students with a statement of special educational needs in the Speech, Language and Communication Specialist Provision.

Students in the Specialist Provision receive specialist teaching, but are mostly supported in mainstream lessons. Otherwise, the proportion of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. The proportion of students from minority ethnic backgrounds is below average, as is that speaking English as an additional language.

The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is low. The school has been a specialist language college since 1996 and gained an additional specialism for applied learning in 2009. It is a member of the Surrey Heath Partnership for Education (SHAPE), in addition to the Surrey Heath Confederation of primary and secondary schools.

Linked to the school's specialist status of applied learning, a building is nearing completion on the school site to increase access to vocational provision within SHAPE. In April 2010, the school entered a federation with a local school to provide support for that school's development. The headteacher became the executive head of both schools and a head of school was appointed to Tomlinscote in September 2010 to manage the school on a day-to-day basis.

The current executive head retires at the end of the academic year and his successor has been appointed. Shortly before the inspection, the local authority began a consultation for the future organisation of secondary education in Surrey Heath which includes the possible expansion of Tomlinscote School and Sixth Form College on the closure of the other school in the federation. The implications of this issue do not form part of the inspection.