Heathfield Community College


Name Heathfield Community College
Website http://www.heathfieldcc.co.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 10 March 2020
Address Cade Street, Heathfield, East Sussex, TN21 8RJ
Phone Number 01435866066
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1439 (48% boys 52% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.3
Local Authority East Sussex
Percentage Free School Meals 7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1%
Persisitent Absence 11.9%
Pupils with SEN Support 4.2%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Outcome

Heathfield Community College continues to be a good school.There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a section 5 inspection now.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are thriving at this school. They benefit from an excellent all-round education. Pupils achieve highly in the subjects they study and grow into confident and responsible individuals.

Pupils enjoy coming to school and they are proud of it. Pupils conduct themselves very well and live up to leaders’ high expectations of behaviour. They show respect and courtesy to their peers and the adults that work with them. Around the school, the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Bullying is extremely rare and dealt with promptly, if it does occur.

Many pupils take advantage of the extensive range of clubs and activities provided outside of their regular lessons. Pupils have numerous opportunities to develop leadership and have their say in how the school is run. The school’s newspaper, radio and TV stations showcase a wide range of pupils’ talents, interests and contributions to the local community.

Pupils feel safe at school. They are exceptionally well cared for. Parents and pupils praise the very high quality of pastoral care that the school provides. One parent’s view reflected those of many, commenting via the Ofsted Parent View survey, ‘This is a fantastic school with high academic standards and excellent pastoral care.’

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

Leaders have developed an innovative and ambitious curriculum for all pupils. Leaders have carefully considered what pupils should learn and the order in which things are taught. For example, the English texts have been selected because they are progressively more challenging in their themes and vocabulary. In science, pupils gain secureknowledge because the curriculum has been carefully planned, so that key concepts are revisited regularly. Pupils’ subject learning is enhanced through an extensive out-of-lesson offer. For example, pupils benefit from whole days going into depth in a subject. Leaders check carefully that pupils take advantage of the wide range of additional learning opportunities that are available to them. Leaders go out of their way to ensure that the most disadvantaged pupils have the same opportunities as other pupils.

Pupils have an excellent grounding in a range of academic subjects. High proportions of pupils study the English Baccalaureate subjects in key stage 4. In addition, the flexible structure of the curriculum ensures that very high proportions of pupils continue to study arts and technology subjects. As a result of the effective curriculum in key stages 3 and 4, pupils are really ready for their next steps and have a broad range of skills.

Teachers use their expert subject knowledge to plan and deliver activities in a logical order that helps pupils build on what they have learned before. They use probing and often very challenging questions to make sure pupils know and remember what has been taught. For example, in history, Year 9 pupils were able to analyse information about vaccination because they remembered previous learning and could relate it to modern day examples. However, teachers could raise their expectations further and check pupils’ understanding even more thoroughly in modern foreign languages.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive excellent support. Staff have the same high ambitions for these pupils as they do for others. Technology is used very effectively to enhance pupils’ learning. Well-considered approaches enable pupils to access the curriculum and support them to organise and present their work.

Staff have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour. They establish clear routines and boundaries. These go hand in hand with well-planned teaching and, all together, they mean that pupils behave very well in class.

Pupils are very well prepared for the next steps in their education, employment or training. Pupils are very successful in public examinations at the end of key stage 4 in almost all subjects. Pupils with SEND and lower prior attaining pupils achieve exceptionally well. Pupils benefit from a comprehensive careers information and guidance programme, including curriculum days that focus on careers in specific subject areas, such as the arts.

The sixth form is very successful. Sixth-form students participate enthusiastically in lessons. For example, Year 13 English literature students were engrossed in debating Shakespeare’s portrayal of characters in Othello. Students achieve well in a wide range of A levels. They are fully involved in the life of the school. They organise many events, such as the mentoring programme to help younger pupils with their learning. After sixth form, a high proportion of students successfully enter further education, employment or training.

Leaders do not rest on their laurels and are constantly striving to improve the school further. Staff are overwhelmingly positive about leaders’ concern for their workload and well-being.In discussion with the headteacher, we agreed that reviewing the continued impact of the wider curriculum on pupils’ subject learning and personal development (including their social, moral, spiritual and cultural development) may usefully serve as a focus for the next inspection. This would include inspectors looking again at modern foreign languages.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

All staff share in the responsibility for ensuring pupils are kept safe. Governors and leaders set the right vigilant tone that ‘it could happen here’. The safeguarding team work well with teachers and pastoral staff to support pupils at risk.

Leaders regularly update staff on local safeguarding issues. Staff at all levels know what to do if they have concerns about pupils. The designated safeguarding lead keeps meticulous records.

Parents say that their children feel safe at school. Pupils know who to go to if they need help and feel confident that their concerns will be dealt with.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Expectations in modern foreign languages do not always match the very high ambitions evident in other subjects. The recruitment of specialist staff has been a challenge in this subject. Pupils could develop even more confidence and fluency in their spoken and written communication. Teachers do not yet check all pupils’ learning fully. Senior leaders should ensure that the curriculum in languages is implemented as consistently well as it is in other subjects.

Background

When we have judged a school to be good we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good. This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good, or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good on 24 May 2016.