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Outstanding school draws highest praise from Ofsted – again

Date: 09/12/2008           Category: Learning and Achievement

Staff, governors and students at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School are celebrating their second outstanding Ofsted in three years. Members of the media are welcome to visit the school on Thursday, 11 December at 12noon to meet the headteacher and pupils. Following a one-day inspection (26 November), inspectors rated the school outstanding in all categories. The inspection team praised the school’s culture of striving for the highest possible academic standards, its concern for helping students do the very best they can and its great sense of community, adding that there is a relentless focus on raising standards further and that a buzz of excitement pervades the school. Headteacher Dr Gary Holden was delighted with the outcome. He said: “This report is a formal recognition of the commitment of all who work at the school to ensure that our students enjoy their education and achieve to the best of their ability. It is also a testament to the extremely positive attitudes to learning demonstrated by our students and to their parents’ unstinting support.” The report states that students make outstanding progress and that standards are exceptionally high in Year 9, at GCSE and in the sixth form. Not only do they achieve well but students are proud of their school, illustrated by their willingness to participate in the wide range of opportunities available to them, to show initiative and to assume responsibility. Furthermore, inspectors found behaviour to be exemplary. Teaching and learning, personal development, well being and care, guidance and support were also given the highest possible rating in the report, as was leadership and management, both in the main school and in the sixth form. The school also received a clean bill of health for community engagement, with particular praise given to the impact of the school’s specialisms in maths, computing and humanities. In her letter to the student council that accompanied the report, the lead inspector said: “The school is outstandingly well led by the headteacher, senior staff and governors, who are committed to ensuring that the school continues to improve what it does so that you all receive the very best opportunities to be successful.” Looking ahead, the lead inspector found that the school has outstanding capacity to improve even further, noting that the headteacher has clearly articulated the correct priorities for the school’s further development. To further improve the school needs to continue to challenge the most able students to ensure more of them attain the highest grade in GCSE and A-level examinations possible. Chairman of Governors, Mr Mick Costello said: “I extend my warmest thanks and congratulations to the headteacher, his leadership team and to the teaching and support staff for this well deserved success. As governors we are all very proud to be associated with the school.”