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High school keeps ‘good’ Ofsted rating after ‘radical’ shake-up

PUBLISHED: 12:32 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:32 03 June 2020

Reepham High School headteacher Tim Gibbs. Picture: Karen Bethell

Reepham High School headteacher Tim Gibbs. Picture: Karen Bethell

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A Norfolk high school has kept its ‘good’ Ofsted rating after inspectors praised a “radical” shake-up to the way subjects are taught.

Reepham High School and College, which has 1,055 pupils and is part of the Synergy Multi Academy Trust, was inspected between February 5 and 6.

The inspection was the first since 2016 and saw the school retain its ‘good’ rating after recent changes to curriculums in core subjects and doing away with grades for year seven pupils in a bid to improve GCSE results.

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An Ofsted report, published after the visit, said the school had “worked hard” to ensure a secure foundation at key stage three, with lessons in years seven to nine “challenging and well organised”.

Reepham High School and College, which was built in 2009 on the Reepham High School campus. Picture: Karen BethellReepham High School and College, which was built in 2009 on the Reepham High School campus. Picture: Karen Bethell

It added: “Curriculum leaders have improved the teaching of the GCSE syllabus across a number of subjects. This was especially needed in English, mathematics and science where outcomes at GCSE need to improve further.”

Headteacher Tim Gibbs said he was “absolutely thrilled” the report recognised improvements and understood what the school was trying to achieve.

He said: “We have made an awful lot of changes to our curriculums and to be honest I thought we were being quite bold with a real radical change with key stage three because it is brand new and still unproven.

A Chinese student with pupils at Reepham High School and College as part of a visit in 2019. GCSE Mandarin is part of ambitious programme of education praised in an Ofsted report. Picture: Reepham High School and CollegeA Chinese student with pupils at Reepham High School and College as part of a visit in 2019. GCSE Mandarin is part of ambitious programme of education praised in an Ofsted report. Picture: Reepham High School and College

“I felt they understood the context of the school, the past history of the curriculum and why we have changed it, and the fact that the teachers have put a huge amount of effort in. They recognised all that and liked it.”

He added: “They also recognised why we’d made the changes because we didn’t like the curriculum we had because it was strangling a lot of staff and the results were not where they should be, quite frankly at GCSE, even though our A-level results stood up brilliantly.”

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Mr Gibbs said the school had removed all grades from key stage three to avoid pupils being judged on how well they had done at primary school.

Students at Reepham High School and College celebrated their A-Level results. An Osted report parised the school sixth-form. Picture: Reepham High School and CollegeStudents at Reepham High School and College celebrated their A-Level results. An Osted report parised the school sixth-form. Picture: Reepham High School and College

He said: “What we have done is discard the key stage two test results and we do not let teachers see the children’s prior attainment.

“So no teacher in Reepham will be able to look at a child and say you are going to get this or get that. The assessments are now ones that we feel are the important ones for pupils to become really good learners.”

Ofsted inspectors also said the school’s sixth form provision remains outstanding, meaning it continues to only ever have been judged outstanding, which is “a source of great pride”, said Mr Gibbs.


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