Valley Gardens Middle School

Name Valley Gardens Middle School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 25 June 2013
Address Valley Gardens, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, NE25 9AQ
Phone Number 01919176667
Type Secondary
Age Range 9-13
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 762 (54% boys 46% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 22.6
Local Authority North Tyneside
Percentage Free School Meals 1.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 3%
Persisitent Absence 6.2%
Pupils with SEN Support 6.4%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school is larger than the average-sized school of this type. Almost all students are White British and speak English as their first language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium is much lower than average. (This is funding available for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals, pupils in local authority care and those whose parents are in the armed forces.) The pupil premium group in the school is the group known to be eligible for free school meals. The proportion of students supported by school action is well below average and the proportion supported by school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is lower than average. The school meets the current government floor standard, which sets the minimum expectations for attainment and progress in English and mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2. The school has specialist status in English, mathematics and science. The school has specially resourced provision for students who have moderate learning difficulties. The school has gained many awards, including the International Award for teaching young people about the world around them and celebrating difference. Separate childcare provision shares the school site. This is not managed by the governing body and was not included in this inspection.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. Students receive an outstanding education at Valley Gardens Middle School. This includes their personal development as well as their academic achievement. Equality of opportunity is excellent. All groups of students make outstanding progress from their starting points. By the time students leave at the end of Year 8 attainment is significantly above that found nationally. Attainment in mathematics, one of the school’s specialist subjects, is particularly impressive. Teaching is outstanding. Teachers have high expectations and many lessons are innovative in their approach. Students say their teachers make learning fun and help them to do well. In a few lessons, however, learning and progress are not maximised, as teachers do not give students clear criteria for success or sufficient opportunities for them to reflect on how well they are learning. Teaching assistants provide excellent support for students who are disabled or who have special educational needs. This ensures that they make outstanding progress. Students’ work is marked well and they are given very helpful advice on how to improve their work. There are some good examples of students responding to this advice. Students’ behaviour is excellent and the mature way in which they work and cooperate in lessons plays a major part in their successful learning. Students feel very safe and they promote safety well for others. Leadership and management of the school, including governance, are outstanding. Leaders set themselves very high standards and respond extremely quickly to any apparent relative weakness, ensuring that the achievement of students and the quality of teaching are optimised. Those leaders in charge of subjects are fully involved in assuring the quality of learning and progress in their subject areas. Students experience a vast array of learning experiences that contribute extremely well to their outstanding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Students are very appreciative of those opportunities and enjoy them immensely. They acquire skills that prepare them extremely well for the next stage in their education. Staff and students are very proud of their school and enjoy being there. Comments such as ‘it’s a really pleasant place to be’, from a student, and ‘a wonderful place to work and learn’, from a member of staff, illustrate this well.