Stowmarket High School


Name Stowmarket High School
Website http://www.stowhigh.com
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 04 July 2018
Address Onehouse Road, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 1QR
Phone Number 01449613541
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Number of Pupils per Teacher 17.2
Academy Sponsor Waveney Valley Academies Trust
Local Authority Suffolk
Percentage Free School Meals 13.3%

Information about this school

Stowmarket High School is smaller than the average-sized secondary school. The very large majority of pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is broadly in line with the national average. The proportion of pupils who have SEN is lower than the national average. However, the proportion who have a statement of SEN or an education, health and care plan is above average. The school makes use of alternative provision for a small number of pupils through the Albany Pupil Referral Unit, Olive Academy and West Sussex College. The school receives support from a standards and excellence officer from the local authority. Leaders have also made use of links with the Kesgrave and Farlingay Teaching School Alliance and ConnectED Teaching School Alliance to support English, mathematics and science. The school has also commissioned support from the Hackney Learning Trust, which included a review of the 16 to 19 study programmes in 2017. The school is due to join the Waveney Valley Academies Trust in September 2018. Links have already been established with the trust. The chair of the governing body sits on the trust and the headteacher has joined the trust’s executive leadership group. The trust has carried out a review of leadership and management in the school. The headteacher took up the post in 2015. Since his appointment, he has developed new leadership structures in the school. In the academic year 2016/17, there was a significant re-structure of staff. Prior to September 2015, pupils joined the school having spent Years 7 and 8 in middle schools. Following the school’s previous full inspection in September 2015, one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors carried out monitoring visits to the school in March 2016 and April 2017. The school meets the government’s current floor standards. These set the minimum expectations of pupils’ progress by the end of key stage 4.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a school that requires improvement The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is too variable. There are examples of very effective teaching that help pupils to make strong progress. However, this is not yet typical across the school. Some teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve are not high enough. They do not routinely provide activities that engage pupils and challenge them to fulfil their potential. Leaders have not ensured that strategies are used consistently well by teachers to support pupils’ learning. Consequently, these are not having the maximum impact on pupils’ learning and progress. Pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities do not make the progress of which they are capable. The sixth form requires improvement. Students following A-level courses have not made the progress of which they are capable. A minority of pupils are frequently absent from school. As a result, persistent absence remains above the national average. A small core of pupils’ behaviour disrupts the learning of others in a minority of lessons. The school has the following strengths The headteacher and other leaders have established a common purpose and vision. They have secured improvements across the school since the previous inspection. The large majority of pupils behave well and are polite and considerate. Behaviour is improving across the school. Sixth-form students who complete vocational courses make better progress than similar students nationally. Leaders ensure that pupils’ personal development and welfare are well catered for. Pupils and parents and carers appreciate the support that the staff provide. Leaders have ensured that the curriculum is broad and balanced. Consequently, more pupils are successfully moving to the next stage of their education, training or employment. Leaders’ more focused approach to the use of additional funding is improving the progress of disadvantaged pupils currently in the school.