Valley Park School

Name Valley Park School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 18 April 2013
Address Huntsman Lane, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 5DT
Phone Number 01622679421
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1620 (50% boys 50% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.5
Academy Sponsor Valley Invicta Academies Trust
Local Authority Kent
Percentage Free School Meals 5.9%
Percentage English is Not First Language 8.5%
Persisitent Absence 10.8%
Pupils with SEN Support 7%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Valley Park School converted to become an academy in April 2011. When its predecessor school was last inspected by Ofsted in April 2010, it was judged to be outstanding overall. The school is an above-average-sized secondary school. Most students are of White British heritage, with a number of other ethnic backgrounds represented in small numbers. Very few pupils speak English as an additional language. The proportion of students for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional government funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, looked after children and children from service families) has doubled over the last three years, and is almost one in five, which is below the national average. There are currently no students from service families in the school. One in eight students is disabled or has special educational needs supported through school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs, which is high. The proportion supported through school action at about one in 10 is lower than the national average. The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. The school is sponsored by Valley Invicta Academies Trust. It is federated with Invicta Grammar School, a neighbouring girls’ selective school, sharing a governing body and chief executive. It is a member of the Mid Kent Teaching School Alliance providing training for trainee teachers. The school does not use any alternative provision for students.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. The headteacher, chief executive officer and governing body have extremely high expectations of just how good the school should be. This vision is clearly understood by all staff and by students. Strong teamwork has led to continuing rapid improvement since the school opened as an academy. Students’ achievement is outstanding because of the fast progress students make from their below-average starting points. Attainment has risen rapidly, particularly in the proportion of students achieving five good GCSE grades including English and mathematics. Students’ attainment is above average. The extensive range of activities organised through the expressive arts specialism contributes very well to building students’ self-esteem and confidence. The many performances and extra-curricular activities ensure that the school is a vibrant place. Parents and carers are supportive and recognise that students are safe, happy and taught well. Students’ achievements are valued and celebrated, as seen in rich visual displays, particularly of ceramics, around the school. Students have a thirst for learning and readily subscribe to ‘The Valley Park Way’, which is highly effective in fostering individual talent. Students’ excellent behaviour and attitudes are a key factor in their successful learning. The sixth form is outstanding, with students building securely on their earlier achievements. Students in the sixth form and main school choose from an exceptionally wide range of vocational and academic courses. These programmes meet their talents and interests, and equip them extremely well for their future education and working lives. Teaching is outstanding because teachers know their students very well and plan carefully to meet the needs of all abilities and needs. Consequently, all groups of pupils, including disabled students and those with special educational needs, make excellent progress. Students are given good guidance about how to improve their work but the quality of marking is not uniformly excellent across the school. The leadership of all aspects of school improvement, including that of teaching, is highly effective. The governing body is extremely well informed and effective in its work.