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The Howard is a good school says Ofsted

Date: 17/12/2008           Category: Learning and Achievement

The Howard School is a good school that has shown clear and sustained improvement, according to Ofsted inspectors. Inspectors found the school in Derwent Way, Gillingham has a very clear focus on raising standards and has addressed the weaknesses identified by the last inspection. The end result is that pupils now make good progress and there has been significant rises in pass rates at GCSE and A Levels. There has been an upward trend in recent years with the provisional results for 2008 higher than in 2007. Principal Paul Morris said: “I am extremely pleased with this Ofsted result. It recognises the hard work and effort that everyone involved with the school has put into raising standards, improving learning and results and generally making the Howard better than it ever has been.” Inspectors noted that the sports specialism plays an important role in the school’s development with the table tennis centre gaining widespread recognition as a centre of excellence. Students now have access to a wide range of activities and the facilities also benefit the wider community too. The quality of teaching and learning is good, with students willing to learn and teachers preparing their lessons carefully. Students’ progress is carefully monitored and staff provide extra help and support if pupils appear to be in danger of underachieving. In this large and lively boys’ school, Ofsted found pupils to be well behaved in lessons with attendance above the national average. Ofsted considered this to be a good reflection of students’ enjoyment of school. A rigorous system for following up unexplained absences has been effective. And the number of pupils excluded because of their behaviour has been greatly reduced. The school’s sixth form was rated as good. Pupils in Years 12 and 13 make good progress and gain qualifications, which enable them to progress to higher education. There is a wide range of courses available and Ofsted found pupils to be appreciative of the extra help offered by their teachers. To further improve the school needs to ensure greater consistency in written feedback from teachers to pupils to help them get a clearer understanding of their targets. The school also needs to give students more opportunity to learn about different cultures. Cllr Les Wicks, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “The whole school has worked together to focus on improving standards and ensure students can achieve well, stay in school and go on to bigger and better things.”