Achieving Excellence Beyond Belief
Key Information - Ofsted
The school was inspected by OFSTED on 25th -26th January 2023. The report opens with a positive account of life at Sandy Secondary School, where there is strong pastoral care and effective safeguarding. The safety and wellbeing of our students has always been our highest priority and we are pleased our safeguarding was recognised as both effective and timely.
Inspectors recognised our students with SEND make similar progress through the curriculum as their peers, with teachers making effective changes to their lessons to meet the needs of these students. This is the first inspection since the school changed from an upper to a secondary school. As such, we welcome this report, as it has reinforced our understanding of the areas for improvement at the school. In many of these areas we are already acting. An example of this work has been to develop the curriculum, so that it builds upon and consolidates knowledge and understanding across extended year groups consistently.
We have taken on board Ofsted’s comments regarding student assessment, particularly the importance of assessing student knowledge and skills alongside examination preparation. This feedback will also be used in curriculum development, along with a new parent forum for assessment, and student involvement to review the value and impact of homework.
We are extremely pleased that the Sixth Form retained its “Good” status, and this is reflected in both student attitude and progress attainment.
Recent changes in the Ofsted framework highlight the importance of leadership within subject areas, and we have already begun to implement a quality assurance programme within weeks of the inspection.
We need to continue to work with you on student attendance, which is lower than we would like. The Head Inspector himself recognised the OFSTED framework does not reflect a post-pandemic learning environment, and furthermore, does not account for the conflicting advice and guidance regarding COVID-19 or Strep A, that was issued by the NHS to reduce the spread of both viruses.
Since the pandemic, we have seen more students struggling with their mental health and have put in place a more personalised timetable for each individual student. Student welfare will continue to be our highest priority and we will strive to find the right balance between supporting students with their additional needs and guarding against education being adversely impacted by absence.
The school has a clear behaviour management system, but it was found that there were some isolated gaps in applying it. An internal review had identified this in December and staff training has already taken place but needs further time to embed.