School Summary Self Evaluation 2017-18


School Context

Inner city selective 11–18 girls’ grammar school: entry by 11+ exam (596 Yrs 7–11) and entry to Sixth Form (196) requiring APS of 5.5 and above incl. English and Maths (grade 6).  Majority come from within the city with 21.09% from outlying areas.  

Students have a range of social backgrounds, from prosperous outlying villages to more challenging areas of the city.  PP budget for 2017/2018 is £154,000.  5.05% state that English is not their home language of which 2.85% are EAL students. In the last 6 years, 19.02% of students have been eligible for FSM (and E6), which is a higher average than other grammar schools in the area.

School motto "For Life Not School We Learn" drives our vision.  Head chairs South West Academic Trust; partnership of 11 SW grammar schools + Exeter University; member of Plymouth CiC working with 16 Secondary’s and Primaries. International work is particularly strong (International Schools Award reaccredited 2015-18); 12 year partnership with Ahantaman School, Ghana. Links with Confucius Institute China.  

Students benefit from many enrichment opportunities: additional GCSEs: Astronomy, STEM activity; Formula 24 Greenpower race; National Bar Mock Champions 2013-,2017; Mock election 2015, Model UN, public speaking competitions, subject-linked visits; French/German exchanges, House Festivals; charity events; Duke of Edinburgh Award; Young Enterprise Winners 2016 Plymouth, SW Regional finalists, Gold Sports Mark Award; inspirational speakers - local politicians and Heather Fell, an Olympian athlete.


Leadership and Management     Grade – 2

  • Successful OFSTED (Nov. 2017) confirmed school’s self-evaluation rating the school as good.
  • “Leadership team has maintained the good quality of education since the last inspection” and; “has addressed all areas identified in the last inspection”; “senior leaders and governors have a common and accurate view of the school’s strengths and weaknesses”, “the school development plan is sharply focussed”  [OFSTED, Nov. 2017]
  • 97% parents strongly agree or agree the school is led and managed effectively (Survey Nov. 2017)
  • 98% would recommend the school (Survey Nov 2017)
  • A refined system of monitoring and evaluation is ensuring that middle leaders are supported to ensure greater accountability and sharper improvement planning.
  • A tighter appraisal system and more targeted CPD has resulted in teaching staff being more sharply focused on improving their practice.
  • Middle leaders encouraged to participate in training for leadership “senior leaders support middle leaders in raising standards [OFSTED]; aspirational HODs training provided by Assistant Headteacher responsible for T. & L.
  • Curriculum is broad and enriching; constantly under review and changes being implemented. Extra subjects to yr 8 and above offered e.g. Astronomy, Wellbeing.
  • “Governors use their professional expertise to good effect” [OFSTED]
  • Leadership structure reviewed: separate subject leads appointed in MFL and Science

Focus 2017-2018:

  • To develop the induction of new staff and deepen the skills and expertise of UPR teachers, middle, sixth form, support and senior leaders, so that they consistently and effectively contribute to the school’s drive for improvement.

Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment     Grade – 2

  • Lesson observations are no longer graded as per OFSTED guidance but evidence that an increasing number of teachers achieve Outstanding criteria:
  • Grade 1:2011/12 = 15%; 2012/13 = 31.5%; 2013/14 = 40%; 2014/15 = 48.9%; 2015-16: central record kept - no longer graded
  • Evidence of improvement supported by parents (Survey Nov. ’17): 96% either ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that teaching is of a good quality and 86.4% of students interviewed said teaching had greatly improved over last 3 years. (External Consultant report June ’15) Central lessons observation record now indicates specific areas for staff development
  • Ofsted Inspector confirms accuracy of lesson observation judgements of Assistant Headteacher responsible for Teaching and Learning; building on this with a HOD shadowing programme to quality assure judgements
  • CPD Groups 17/18 linked to SIP focus Growth Mindset; all staff engaged in Action Research; some have led city-wide or SWAT training sessions e.g. Science and Maths day hosted here, Maths Jurassic Hub and SWAT/PLT conference.
  • Clear and frequent QA process ensures rigorous monitoring of classroom standards
  • Teachers give students good feedback (work scrutiny, student interviews); strategies are being developed to make this more incisive and effective. “ work to sharpen teachers’ assessment has had a positive effect and pupils’ work in key stage 4 shows that they are achieving higher standards” [OFSTED] PD Groups 17/18 continuing this work
  • “Improvements in the quality of teaching in the sixth form have brought about better outcomes for students in most subjects” [OFSTED].
  • Students’ attitudes to learning very positive as reported in internal monitoring & A2L data.  However work continues to develop their resilience (Wellbeing curriculum).

Focus 2017-2018:

  • To embed the development and consistency of Department assessment and reporting procedures
  • To improve outcomes for the most able students, including raising academic resilience
  • To experiment and collaborate with Google and Chromebooks ensuring that Teaching and Learning is the driver behind IT development in this area.
  • To develop the QA procedures at departmental level so that there is a consistency of delivery across the school and improvement in outcomes
  • To develop wider professional learning in collaboration with other schools i.e. SWAT, DHSB

Personal Development, Welfare and Behaviour of students    Grade – 1

  • Wellbeing of staff and students is central to the ethos of the school as demonstrated by our curriculum, dedicated Student Support Base, TAC interventions and bespoke CEIAG (Investor in Careers award reaccredited 2016)
  • Tutoring system reformed: specialist Year 7 transition team, small tutor groups (20) throughout school
  • Safeguarding Audit and Review by Ofsted inspectors (Nov ‘17) supports our judgement; monthly training given
  • E-safety mark achieved and improving, accreditation being investigated
  • 100% of parents agree or strongly agree their child feels safe at school (Nov ’17).
  • Audit and parental survey agree bullying is rare and is dealt with effectively.(Peer mentors/Specialist member of staff)
  • Students behave considerately towards each other; their behaviour adds greatly to good teaching and learning; close supportive relationship between staff and students observed across school (External Consultant report June ’15)
  • Vast majority of girls are proud of their school and most take on some responsibility and/or participate through wide range of opportunities e.g. School Council led by Head Girl Team; Student Voice; Subject Captains; House Teams; Student Leaders; Sports Leaders etc. Exceptional uptake of some e.g. DoE (83% retention, Gold: 8% of cohort, Silver: 40% of cohort, Bronze:15% of cohort. 91 students completed last year, next highest in Devon was 79)
  • Strong House system fosters close, supportive bonds and outlet for creativity in termly whole day Festivals
  • Attendance, 13/14: 96.3% (Yrs7–11), 14/15: 95.65% (Yrs7–11), 15-16: 95.3%, 16-17: 95.72%
  • Sixth Form Attendance, 14/15: 93.5%; 15-16: 91%. 16-17: 92.9% effective use of KS5 administrator who coordinates interventions.
  • Strong curriculum links to extend global awareness; SMSC development to become active citizens.
  • Wellbeing curriculum continued into Year 8 to promote long term resilience of students and build on Yr 7 curriculum.
  • Leadership skills developed through wide range of opportunities: Head Girl Team; Subject Captains; House Captains, organising mock election, 3 House Festivals, competitions; Sports Leaders etc.
  • Strong curriculum links extend global awareness/SMSC to become active citizens: led mock election, MUN, magistrates, Ghana exchange, Parliament Trip, Ethiopia/Swaziland trips, Auschwitz scholarship
  • CIAG effective as evidenced by dedicated Careers Coordinator, Investors in Careers Award (2016) and UCAS mentoring system

Focus 2016-2017:

  • To continue embedding the Wellbeing of students and staff as a core principle across the school
  • To update the system of rewards and sanctions to improve learning behaviours, promoting a positive mindset
  • Online - safety: continue to use 360° Audit to improve overall standards.
  • Review and update Single Equalities Scheme, implement actions and monitor consistency of application.

Outcomes for Students    Grade – 2 (Main School)

  • KS3 attainment is always above National average.
  • GCSE - attainment is above National average: progress 8 score of -0.38 in line with teacher predictions. 41.88% achieved 5 A*/A grades with 93.16 achieving 5 A*-C grades.
  • Progress for key groups is negative in 2017 although clear interventions and targeted support tracked and monitored.
  • Sixth Form outcomes show strong and ongoing improvement.  A*-B grades at A2 rising to 51.51% in 2017 from 46.4% in 2011. There is a slight dip in 2017 overall progress.
  • 2016/17 VA scores: A2 = -0.24. New curriculum changes implemented across the curriculum.
  • New data analysis package being used to facilitate earlier and more effective target setting.
  • Destinations: 93 students (2017): 70% University, 19% Gap year (with university place 2018) or other study, 2% Gap year (with the intention of securing apprenticeship 2018), 9% employment or training Clear programme of preparation for  further study/employment being delivered
  • “Students currently in the sixth form are making better progress than previous cohorts” [OFSTED]
  • Attainment and Progress in the Sciences in KS4 and KS5 are below expectation.
  • Current Student Progress Years 7 – 13: See current data sheet and ‘TAC’ [Team Around the Child] comments, tracking students during the year.  This data is used by tutors as well as teachers to monitor progress.
  • 96% of parents agreed or strongly agreed that their child is making good progress (survey May ‘14)
  • Refined system identifies need for intervention (TAC process) to minimise underperformance

Focus 2017-2018:

  • To continue improving progress and outcomes at Key Stages 3, 4 & 5 for all significant measures.
  • To improve tracking and interventions for all students including pupil premium, small group students and students with mental health concerns
  • To continue to provide interventions and support for underperforming Departments specifically Biology, Chemistry and Physics at both AL and GCSE and French and German at GCSE

Overall Effectiveness       Grade – 2

  • OFSTED report supports our judgements of ‘Overall Effectiveness’ as 2 with capacity for sustained improvement
  • Culture and ethos established of high expectations and aspiration, in a safe, caring and supportive environment
  • Middle Leaders empowered to drive improvement together with Senior Leaders, with rigorous monitoring and a focus on tracking student progress central to this aim.
  • Parental survey (Nov 2017) shows 98% of parents feel their child is happy at school.
  • A thoughtful and caring approach to a wide ranging and enriching curriculum enables students to thrive; “For Life Not School We Learn”