Varndean School

Name Varndean School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 11 July 2013
Address Balfour Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 6NP
Phone Number 01273561281
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1352 (49% boys 51% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 18.2
Local Authority Brighton and Hove
Percentage Free School Meals 13%
Percentage English is Not First Language 8.7%
Persisitent Absence 12%
Pupils with SEN Support 16.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Varndean School is a larger-than-average secondary school. The proportion of students from ethnic minorities is below the national average with a very small number of students who speak English as additional language. The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, looked after children and children of service families, is above the national average. The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs who are supported at school action and the proportion supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs are higher than those found nationally. A small number of students attend off-site provision at City College and Plumpton College. The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. Since the previous inspection, the school has received The Eco School’s Green Flag.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. Students achieve well and the progress of different groups is improving rapidly. The headteacher has restructured the leadership team, raised expectations and implemented new policies and procedures. This is improving the quality of teaching and so raising students’ achievement. Teaching is good, with some that is outstanding. Teachers develop good working relationships in the classroom and have high expectations of their students. The leaders and the governors took immediate action to improve the dip in results in mathematics in 2012 and as a result progress has improved. The governing body has a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. The governors carefully check all aspects of the school’s work and provide very effective support and challenge to the school. It is not yet an outstanding school because: The proportion of outstanding teaching is not high enough. In some lessons, not all students are set work at the right level of difficulty or are provided with enough opportunities to work independently. Best practice in teaching is not fully shared across the school, and so the progress students make in different lessons is sometimes variable. Although attendance is improving it is still below average for some groups. A minority of students sometimes misbehave in lessons so affecting the learning of others.