Following our inspection on 20th and 21st June 2023, I am writing to share with you our latest Ofsted report, ahead of its publication on the Ofsted website in one week’s time.
I am pleased to inform you that our overall effectiveness rating as a school is ‘Good’. This is reflected in the ratings for all four of the Ofsted categories:
- Quality of education - Good
- Behaviour and attitudes - Good
- Personal development - Good
- Leadership and management - Good
The report highlights many of our strengths as a school: “Pupils are happy in this school. They said that they like their teachers and respect other pupils… Pupils’ personal development is supported well through the curriculum… Leaders have developed a curriculum that is broad and ambitious for pupils… A recent leadership restructure is proving helpful in ensuring that leaders and governors have the information they need to make effective decisions. This is contributing to improvement at the school.”
Other strengths noted by Ofsted include calm classrooms, support for students with special educational needs and disabilities, and effective safeguarding arrangements.
We are very pleased with the report, especially at a time when the benchmark for ‘Good’ is as high as it has ever been. However, our ambitions go further. Back in April 2023, we set out a new vision and plan for our school. We are working to ensure that all our students have an outstanding experience at Hartford Church of England High School, feel happy and secure here, and are empowered to reach their full potential.
Our plan anticipated the three areas for improvement noted on page 4 of the Ofsted report: helping pupils to build their knowledge securely over time, providing more effective support for pupils who find reading difficult, and supporting disadvantaged pupils so that they can attend school regularly.
In terms of building knowledge over time we are addressing the Ofsted feedback by strengthening the curriculum, looking specifically at how subjects embed knowledge and revisit it year on year to broaden students’ understanding. Going beyond this, we are planning lessons to better inspire and engage pupils in class and empower them to succeed. Complementing this work, we are driving forwards a programme to help pupils who struggle with reading to flourish. As a school, we continue to achieve excellent GCSE results. Our school was in the top five within the Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) region for English and Maths GCSE results this year, and we consistently perform well in all key indicators by which schools are measured, including pupil progress. We are certain that our strategic plan and new initiatives will support pupils and boost GCSE results further.
In terms of absence, we now have dedicated members of the leadership team to lead on attendance and safeguarding, behaviour and attitudes, and pupil premium (disadvantaged pupils). Anxiety is a significant factor in many school absences. We want to make sure that every single one of our students feels safe and confident at school. Our zero-tolerance approach to bullying and measures to strengthen discipline within the school are already providing good results, as noted by Ofsted, “Pupils told inspectors that behaviour was not good in the past. However, they believe it is much better now.” We now have a full-time school counsellor, and we are running many new mental health support initiatives, as outlined in our recent newsletters.
As noted in the Ofsted report, our staff are “proud to work at the school” and we are delighted that their expertise and dedication have been recognised by Ofsted. Alongside the measures mentioned above, we are working on many other exciting new initiatives, such as additional careers guidance for pupils, additional resources for SEND pupils and a brand-new family system, designed to create a strong community within the school.
Thank you to all our pupils, families, staff and governors for supporting the school. We are working to make the school an outstanding, happy place where all pupils can flourish. We look forward to working together with you to achieve this.
In caritas and veritas,