• At Key Stage 3, the
proportion of pupils achieving level 5 in mathematics
rose by four percentage points, but there were smaller
gains in English and science. The proportion who gained
five or more A*–C GCSE grades also rose, but
the proportions achieving at least five A*–G
grades or at least one A*–G grade fell slightly.
• Wide variations in the achievement of different
groups of pupils persist. Girls outperform boys and
many pupils of Black Caribbean heritage perform less
well than some other minority ethnic groups. Boys from
low socio-economic groups are among those who make
the least progress.
• In many schools, a more flexible curriculum
at Key Stage 4, including vocational courses, is improving
motivation and, in some cases, achievement.
• The provision for gifted and talented pupils
has improved but remains inadequate in too many schools.
• Most pupils show a sense of responsibility,
have positive attitudes to their work, show respect
for teachers and are proud of their schools. The proportion
of schools where behaviour is unsatisfactory has reduced
to one in twenty, but the behaviour of some pupils,
usually boys, continues to cause a disturbance. The
number of permanent exclusions has increased slightly.
• The proportion of schools with very good
teaching has increased, but at Key Stage 4 there has
also been a slight increase in the proportion where
teaching is unsatisfactory. Teaching in Key Stage 4
remains better than in Key Stage 3.
• The match of teachers and support staff to
the curriculum has improved but it is good or better
in only half the schools and unsatisfactory or poor
in one in seven.
• Procedures for assessing pupils’ attainment
and progress are better in the schools inspected this
year, but remain poor in one school in ten.
• Leadership and management by the headteacher
and other senior managers are very good or excellent
in nearly half the schools inspected, but there are
still important weaknesses at middle management level.
• The use of homework is good in only just
over one third of schools. The setting of homework
remains inconsistent and homework is not always used
to extend learning.
96 The overall effectiveness of secondary schools inspected
in 2002/03 is about the same as of those inspected in the
previous year. It is good or better in over four fifths of
schools and almost two fifths are very effective. In a small
proportion, just over one school in twenty, the school’s
effectiveness is unsatisfactory or poor (see figure 11).
97 About two thirds of schools have improved well, taking
account of changes in pupils’ achievement, the quality
of education provided and the school’s response to
the issues that were recommended for improvement in the previous
98 Most of the schools inspected in 2002/03 had been inspected
previously. So it is possible to compare inspection judgements
made on each school with those made previously (see figure
12). Leadership and management improved significantly, for
example from satisfactory to
in almost one in three schools. The extent of improvement
was less in teaching, pupils’ attitudes and behaviour.
Although these aspects declined in some schools (almost a
quarter in relation to behaviour), judgements slipped to
become unsatisfactory in only a few schools. Caution is needed
when comparing individual judgements from one inspection
to the next in part because of changes to the inspection
99 Overall, pupils’ achievement judged in inspections
has improved since last year and is at least good in over
two thirds of schools. The proportion of schools where achievement
is very good has increased, and at Key Stage 3 the proportion
where achievement is unsatisfactory has fallen.
100 In the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum tests, the proportion
of pupils reaching or exceeding level 5 in mathematics rose
by four percentage points, but there were smaller gains in
English and science (see figure 13). At level 6 or above,
it rose slightly in English, more in mathematics and significantly
so in science.
101 Results in the General Certificate of Secondary Education
(GCSE) examinations (and equivalent qualifications) continue
to rise, albeit slowly. 36 Just
over half of pupils (51.3%) in maintained schools gained
five or more
grades, an increase of about one percentage point on the
previous year (see figure 14).37 However,
the proportions of pupils gaining five or more A*–G
grades and at least one A*–G grade fell slightly.
102 In specialist schools, 56.1% of pupils gained five
or more A*–C GCSE grades, compared with 48.7% in other
schools. The success of pupils in the different types of
specialist schools varied. The highest attainment was in
mathematics, computing and science specialist schools. In
sports colleges, the proportion gaining five or more A*–C
grades was lower than for non-specialist colleges overall.
Caution is needed in any comparison of results with those
in all schools because of possible differences in pupil intake.
103 In the schools designated by the DfES as facing challenging
circumstances, the proportion of pupils gaining
five or more A*–C GCSE grades rose by more than twice
that in other schools from 2002 to 2003.38 In schools in
Cities areas it rose by one percentage point more than in
other schools. Overall, though, the gap between the highest-
and lowest-performing secondary schools at GCSE in 2003 was
virtually unchanged from 2002. This is the first time over
the last five years that the gap has not widened. Over this
period, the average rate of improvement in GCSE performance
has been broadly similar for schools across the range of
104 There are still wide variations in the progress made
by different groups of pupils. Girls perform much better
than boys in English in Key Stage 3 tests at level 5 and
even more so at level 6. In science, results for boys and
girls are about the same at both levels, while in mathematics,
girls do better than boys at level 5 only. There is a large
gap in the performance of boys and girls in English at GCSE.
The gap between the attainment of girls and boys widens through
105 There are significant variations in attainment of different
ethnic groups.39 Chinese
and Indian pupils perform best at Key Stage 3. Although Bangladeshi
pupils make a slow start
in this stage, they, along with Chinese and Indian pupils,
attain higher than other groups at Key Stage 4. Boys and
girls of Black Caribbean heritage continue to lag behind
most of their peers in secondary schools. However, white
pupils, particularly boys, from poorer socio-economic backgrounds
are among those whose performance through secondary schools
106 Traveller pupils make at least satisfactory
progress in individual lessons, however it is rarely sustained
a longer period.40 For many, their attainment is well below
the average compared with all other pupils. A very significant
number of Traveller children, mainly at Key Stages 3 and
4, do not attend or stay on at school. Despite examples of
success by several Traveller education services, the lack
of engagement by Traveller children in secondary education
remains a matter of serious concern.
107 In two thirds of schools, pupils who learn English
as an additional language (EAL) generally make at
least good progress.41 An
HMI study found that, although the standards
they achieve are often lower than those expected for all
pupils at the end of Key Stage 3, most make considerable
progress by the end of Key Stage 4.42 In the schools where
pupils with EAL do best, key factors include:
• thorough analysis of pupils’ progress and
consequent review of teaching and support
• an inclusive approach in which support for EAL
learners is seen as the responsibility of all staff
• high-quality contributions by specialist staff
working closely with subject teachers.
108 Many schools do
too little to stretch their gifted and talented
pupils enough. Despite some improvement, their
progress is good or better in just under half of schools
inspected and unsatisfactory in almost one school in twelve.
Common weaknesses are in identifying gifted and talented
pupils and the assessment of their progress.
with SEN generally progress well, but in one
school in twenty their progress is unsatisfactory. Few schools
track the progress of pupils using P scales or other small-step
criteria.43 This makes it difficult for them to judge accurately
the progress that pupils make.
110 In the relatively small number of middle-deemed secondary
schools inspected, pupils’ achievement is good or better
in nearly two thirds, but very good in only a small proportion.
values and personal development
111 Most pupils exhibit a sense of responsibility, have
positive attitudes to their work, show respect for teachers
and are proud of their schools. Effective schools establish
an ethos where success is expected and highly regarded by
112 Pupils’ respect for the feelings, values and
beliefs of others is at least good in three quarters of schools
and unsatisfactory in one school in twenty-five.44 A strength
is the way in which schools reflect their aims and values,
including a commitment to equality of opportunity, in their
work. Relationships between pupils, and between pupils and
adults, are very good or excellent in half of the schools.
Pupils’ attitudes are very good or excellent in two
thirds of the middle schools inspected.
113 The proportion of schools in which the behaviour of
pupils is unsatisfactory overall was less in the schools
inspected in 2002/03 than in the previous year. Behaviour
is judged to be at least satisfactory overall in a vast majority
of schools, and good or better in nearly three quarters (see
figure 11). Effective action to promote good behaviour is
becoming more widespread. This includes setting and maintaining
high expectations for behaviour, the consistent application
of rewards and sanctions, and the use of timely and well-managed
114 Even so, the behaviour of some pupils, usually boys,
remains a serious concern for many schools. Unwillingness
to listen, to concentrate and to get on with their work continues
to cause disturbance and to hinder learning. Behaviour in
lessons weakens through Key Stage 3. It is worst when policies
are applied erratically across subjects and classrooms and
when teaching fails to engage pupils’ attention and
interest. Unsatisfactory behaviour is often associated with
high staff turnover and high pupil mobility.
115 Across schools as a whole, there were 7,741 permanent
exclusions from secondary schools in 2001/02 (the last year
for which data are available), an increase of 6% over the
previous year. Around 24 in every 10, 000 secondary pupils
were permanently excluded and most were boys. Exclusions
are most likely to occur in Years 9 and 10. The permanent
exclusion rate for pupils with statements
of SEN is four times as high as that for pupils without statements.
The exclusion rate of black pupils is still about three times
greater than that of white pupils.
116 Attendance has improved slightly,
with total absences of 8.3% compared with 8.7% last year.
Levels of unauthorised
absence were similar in the two years. Overall, 21% of pupils
had some unauthorised absence, which averaged about 15 days
for each of them. In the schools with the lowest attendance,
systems for promoting good attendance lack rigour and give
insufficient attention to punctuality. In many of these schools,
unjustified absence condoned by parents continues to be a
significant problem. Traveller pupils have the lowest attendance
rate of groups of pupils; it averages about 75%.
Quality of teaching and learning
117 The proportion of schools with very good teaching has
increased, but at Key Stage 4 there has also been a slight
increase in the proportion where teaching is unsatisfactory.
Teaching in Key Stage 4 remains better than in Key Stage
3. However, there has been improvement in Key Stage 3, with
the quality of teaching in Year 7 almost matching that in
Years 10 and 11 (see figure 15).
118 In the relatively few specialist schools inspected,
good or better teaching was seen in nearly nine out of ten
lessons. This is a higher proportion than in secondary schools
overall. However, there are variations across the different
types of specialist school. Almost all teaching in technology
colleges is at least good, but in sports colleges this is
the case in only about seven out of ten lessons, the same
proportion as in secondary schools overall.
119 The match
of teachers and support staff to the demands of the curriculum is good or better in less than half the
schools inspected and is unsatisfactory in one in seven.45 Subjects
where the match is least satisfactory are RE, design and
technology, ICT and modern foreign languages (MFL).
In schools where the proportion of unsatisfactory teaching
is high, recruitment difficulties often lead to inconsistency
in teaching approaches. Teachers working outside their
specialisms or who are employed temporarily in the school
often lack confidence.
120 In Key Stage 3, teaching in English, PE, history and
art and design is good or better in at least three quarters
of the schools inspected (see figure 16). At the other end
of the scale, ICT and modern foreign language teaching is
good or better in about three fifths of schools. In ICT lessons,
too many activities do not challenge pupils sufficiently.
Mathematics teaching has improved. The teaching of mental
calculation, for example, has been strengthened by the use
of the kinds of activity to start lessons which are promoted
by the Key Stage 3 Strategy.
121 The pattern of which subjects are best or least well
taught is similar in Key Stage 4 to Key Stage 3 (see figures
16 and 17). Close individual attention to pupils and their
work continues to be a significant feature of effective teaching
in art and design.
122 In an HMI survey of schools introducing the new GCSEs
in vocational subjects, the proportion of good teaching seen
was similar to that in other GCSE courses. However, it was
unsatisfactory in one fifth of lessons. Some of the best
teaching occurs in applied business, ICT and applied science
where pupils engage well in work set in relevant vocational
contexts. Effective teaching often arises where teachers
have previous industrial experience or where visiting speakers
are used to enrich the classroom experience. The weakest
teaching is in leisure and tourism, where two fifths of lessons
seen were unsatisfactory. Teaching here is often too closely
dictated by textbooks or relies on a narrow range of teaching
123 At Key Stages 3 and 4, teaching in citizenship is good
or better in only about half of schools inspected, a much
smaller proportion than for all other subjects (see figures
16 and 17). Teachers’ subject knowledge is often limited
and assessment, at this early stage, is poorly developed.
124 Generally, teachers’ knowledge and understanding
of their subject continue mostly to be strong. Where teaching
is at its best:
• questioning is skilful and elicits thoughtful responses
not just from volunteers but from the more reticent
• teachers have high but realistic expectations and
help pupils to meet the challenges through well-defined tasks
• activities are planned so that they match the range
of abilities in the class and engage pupils’ interest.
125 However, in just over a quarter of schools at Key Stage
4 and about a third at Key Stage 3, teachers’ expectations
are no better than satisfactory; there is scope for greater
126 Consistently high-quality provision across subjects
for gifted and talented pupils remains the exception. Many
schools need to do more to make sure that schemes of work
set out what is meant by a high level of challenge and to
provide guidance on ways of enriching and extending work
for higher attainers. While activities outside normal lessons
are often stimulating and extend the experience of the pupils
involved, they do not generally link well with mainstream
127 The use of homework is satisfactory or better in over
nine out of ten schools, but good in only just over one third
of schools. At best, homework makes a significant contribution
to the development of independent learning, with good opportunities
to carry out research. However, it remains too inconsistent
and does not always extend learning well enough.
128 The quality and use of assessment have improved slightly,
but continue to be among the weaker aspects of teaching in
many schools. They are unsatisfactory in one in seven schools
in Key Stage 3, but this reduces in Key Stage 4 to one school
in ten. Assessment is weaker in RE, ICT and citizenship than
in other subjects. The use of assessment to guide planning
is good or better in only about a third of schools.
129 An HMI survey found that boys’ attitudes
and performance, particularly in writing, are
often more sharply affected than those of girls by mediocre
teaching and assessment.46 Boys are less inclined than
girls to respond positively to and learn well in indifferent
lessons. Many need to see
clear purpose in activities and to know that someone is scrutinising
their work actively and rigorously. The survey identified
approaches such as role play and other oral work as often
helping boys to focus and motivating them to write. Learning
that is broken down into manageable stages also helps.
130 In schools where teaching is good overall, it is generally
also effective for pupils with SEN. In some schools, the
teaching of pupils with SEN is better than that of other
pupils. This is mainly as a result of effective support from
specialist teachers and assistants who have a good knowledge
and understanding of pupils’ needs and take a close
interest in their education and welfare. The specialist teaching
of literacy and numeracy that pupils receive when they are
grouped flexibly so that their specific needs can be met
in different ways is frequently very good. In an increasing
number of schools, good use is made of ICT to support the
work of pupils with SEN.
131 Most pupils with SEN learn well and in one in ten schools
their learning is very good or better.47 In these schools,
individual targets are well chosen and inform how pupils
are taught so that objectives for their learning are achieved.
Assessment information is used effectively to set specific
targets by which pupils’ progress can be measured clearly
and pupils and parents are involved in the process of target-setting
132 However, weaknesses in the assessment of pupils with
SEN remain frequent and a significant number of schools lack
adequate systems to track and monitor their progress. As
a result, they know too little about how pupils are doing.
Targets are often too general and lack challenge, and assessment
information is not used consistently by subject teachers.
133 In many schools, teachers and teaching assistants require
additional training in working with pupils with SEN whose
behaviour is particularly challenging, including those with
autistic spectrum disorders. Some schools have difficulty
appointing teaching assistants with the skills needed to
work with pupils with complex needs.
Stage 3 Strategy
aim of the Strategy, which began in 2000 with a pilot
phase and continued as a national programme in 2001,
is to raise standards by improving teaching and learning,
developing cross-curricular skills in literacy and
numeracy and helping pupils who enter Year 7 with low
attainment to reach the expected level.
An evaluation of the implementation of the Strategy
carried out by HMI in 2002/03 shows that it is helping
to improve teaching and learning. Teachers welcome
the professional development and the support it provides.
of the work is good in just over half the schools visited,
but there are significant weaknesses in one school
in six, including poor monitoring and evaluation of
The Strategy is having an increasingly positive effect
on the quality of work in English in most schools,
but this has not yet worked through systematically
into the National Curriculum test results. It is giving
to lessons and more challenge for pupils. Pupils’ attitudes
in lessons are very good and boys’ motivation
is increased. The monitoring and evaluation of the
impact of the Strategy by schools remain weaknesses.
has been made in developing
literacy across the curriculum but it remains slow
in some schools.
In mathematics the Strategy is having
greater benefits for higher-attaining than for lower-attaining
Teaching and learning are better and planning is improving
with a greater focus on learning objectives. Teachers’ questioning
is sharper. Pupils’ mental skills of calculation
are being developed, but ICT continues to be little
used in the
teaching and learning of mathematics. Most schools
have made little progress in developing the use of
across the curriculum.
In science the Strategy has provided
the impetus for well-structured schemes of work in
and these are having a beneficial effect on teaching.
Materials being used in some schools are improving
pupils’ investigation skills, but generally pupils
are not making sufficient progress in scientific enquiry.
Not enough progress
is being made in developing understanding of key ideas
in science and too little emphasis is given to contemporary
The ICT strand has improved school
and departmental planning. It has prompted more schools
discrete time to ICT and has helped to improve teaching
and learning. Assessment remains a significant weakness.
in Year 7 receive too little information on what pupils
have achieved in primary school in ICT, day-to-day
is frequently cursory and inconsistent, and teachers’ assessment
of pupils’ standards at the end of Year 9 is
often not well founded.
The management of the foundation subjects strand
is satisfactory or better in nearly three schools out
of five, but arrangements for disseminating training
within schools are often unsatisfactory and a significant
of schools has yet to embrace the Strategy as a means
of raising standards.
In modern foreign languages, the
training and support provided by consultants for the
pilot schools are good. Despite guidance, the quality
of audit and action planning varies widely and is often
The use of the Strategy’s framework has helped
teaching and the approach it encourages is having a
positive effect on the attitudes
of pupils, particularly boys. Pupils apply their increased
knowledge to write at greater length and with more
In English, lower-attaining pupils are
taught well, but their progress through the literacy
units needs to be communicated to teachers in other
subjects so that pupils can practice and consolidate
their skills and understanding.48 The
planning and organisation of programmes for lower-attaining
in mathematics is weak. Better use of ‘catch-up’ programmes
for lower-attaining pupils in mainstream schools is
Transfer from primary schools is
managed well in many respects by most schools. In two
thirds, induction arrangements for Year 7 pupils are
good; they are rarely unsatisfactory. In half of the
schools the transfer
of information is secure but it is unsatisfactory in
one school in six. A weakness in ensuring continuity
in the curriculum
frequently remains. In part this is because transition
units have not been widely used.49 Curriculum
continuity is good in only a quarter of the schools
and unsatisfactory in almost half.
Leadership and management
134 The quality of leadership and management shows little
change from last year, although a slightly higher proportion
of schools have very good or excellent leadership and management.
135 Effective senior managers establish
a strong sense of common purpose and set high expectations
for pupils and
staff. Increasingly, systems and action by schools reflect
these values and aims well. Schools are becoming more effective
in identifying priorities for development. They do this very
well in almost half of the schools inspected.50 This is
an improvement on last year.
136 The monitoring and evaluation of the quality of teaching
are effective in almost three schools out of five and the
performance management of teachers is effective in over two
thirds. This is an improvement on the previous year, but
the monitoring and evaluation of teaching remain a weakness
in one in eight schools. This contributes to the uneven quality
of subject teaching.
137 By comparison with senior managers, the contribution
of middle managers, though better than before, remains less
strong; it is very good or better in only one school in five.
Common weaknesses, sometimes brought about by difficulties
in recruitment and retention, are:
• a poor match between subject policies and practices
and those of the school
• insufficient clarity and directness in setting
expectations for pupils’ achievement and the quality
• inadequate collection and analysis of assessment
data to identify and help underachieving pupils
of attention to the training needs of subject staff and to
the induction and support for new and temporary
138 Governing bodies are effective in
fulfilling their responsibilities in two thirds of schools.
This is reflected
in their contribution to shaping the direction of the school
and their understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.
A third of governing bodies do not fulfil their statutory
duties adequately, sometimes because of a failure to pursue
thoroughly enough such matters as arranging a daily act of
139 The quality of accommodation and learning resources has
improved. However, some aspects of accommodation remain unsatisfactory
in one school in five and learning resources
are unsatisfactory in one in ten. Weaknesses include unsuitable
or inadequate specialist facilities for PE, music and science
that limit practical activities. They also include dilapidated
and temporary accommodation that undermines the quality
of teaching and learning. Resources are unsatisfactory in
and technology and music in about one in five schools.
Facilities for ICT have improved significantly, with many
increased numbers of computers and associated equipment.
Quality of the curriculum
140 The quality and range of learning opportunities are
good or better in almost two thirds of schools and very good
in one school in six. They are unsatisfactory in fewer than
one in ten schools. Programmes of extra-curricular activities
for pupils, including activities in sports and the arts and
the provision of homework centres and revision sessions,
are mostly good.
141 Compliance with statutory requirements relating to
the curriculum has improved, but in over two fifths of schools
this remains unsatisfactory. Examples of non-compliance include
failure to implement parts of the National Curriculum programmes
of study, or provide religious education for all pupils.
Four fifths of schools do not hold a daily act of collective
worship for all pupils.
142 Overall, more than three quarters of schools inspected
make good provision for pupils’ personal development.
In almost nine schools out of ten, provision for pupils’ moral
and social development is good or better.51 Many
opportunities are provided in these schools for pupils to
and to look after the interests of others, including involvement
in charities and sometimes school councils. However, provision
for spiritual development is good in fewer
than half of schools, and unsatisfactory in one in six. At
best, it is carefully
planned to feature in a wide range of subjects, as well as
in assemblies and tutor periods.
143 Provision for cultural
development, including a strong programme of extra-curricular
events and activities, is good
in three fifths of schools. Schools where pupils and teachers
are from a variety of cultural backgrounds often ensure
that there is a multicultural dimension to their work. Other
find this more difficult and often they do not emphasise
diversity of heritage and culture sufficiently well in
their curriculum and additional activities.
144 Schools were required to teach the statutory programme
of study in citizenship from September 2002. HMI have monitored
progress in the first two terms.52 Although the programme
for citizenship is well established in one in five schools,
is unsatisfactory in over half
the schools. In some, the subject has been introduced at
Key Stage 3 but with minimal provision at Key Stage 4. Many
schools have tried to include citizenship in existing PSHE
programmes or to build it into tutorial time, but this has
been largely unsatisfactory, in part because of the lack
of time given to the subject. In schools adopting a cross-curricular
approach the overall programme is often not clear. The achievement
of pupils was satisfactory, but no better, in most individual
145 About three fifths of schools provide effective PSHE programmes. This is a slightly smaller proportion than last
year. Provision remains poor in one in twelve schools. At
Key Stage 4, the teaching of PSHE continues to improve when
there is greater use of specialist teachers.
146 Drug awareness is taught in a combination of PSHE and
science lessons and sometimes in assemblies and tutorial
sessions. In an HMI survey, teaching was at least satisfactory
in nearly all lessons observed and good or better in four
fifths.53 In most lessons, pupils gained at least satisfactory
levels of knowledge about drugs and their effects. Most schools
make good use of outside agencies or individuals, including
the police and theatre-in-education groups, but few use the
school nurse. About a quarter of schools successfully involve
drug and youth workers. Schools generally consult widely
about their drug education policies, but only two in five
talk with parents, and fewer than half consult pupils to
identify what they already know and to guide the planning
of the programme.
147 Careers education and guidance programmes are effective
in over two thirds of schools. A common weakness, though,
in 11–18 schools is that pupils do not receive sufficient
information about post-16 options available outside their
148 Many schools have increased the flexibility in the
curriculum they provide at Key
Stage 4 by
broadening option choices to include vocational courses and
extended work-related learning. An HMI study found that in
four out of five schools visited, the new courses are fostering
better motivation and progress.54 The most successful programmes
for lower-attaining pupils lead
to recognised qualifications and consist of carefully constructed
combinations of GCSE subjects or extended courses such as
those leading to GNVQs. An emphasis on work-related learning
is improving both attendance and achievement. Courses tailored
to individual needs are also contributing to lower exclusion
149 Involvement in the DfES Increased Flexibility
Programme is becoming widespread and around half of all secondary schools
have now formed partnerships with colleges of further education
to broaden their curriculum. Given that the programme is
relatively new, the organisation by the partnerships is satisfactory
overall. Common challenges for partnerships include the need
to organise timetabling effectively and to agree arrangements
for sharing information about pupils’ attainment.
150 The provision for lower-attaining pupils in some schools
still lacks a real sense of purpose and fails to engage them.
In many schools, better planning of the curriculum as a whole
is needed to make sure that the skills needed for independent
learning and for work and everyday life are consistently
taught. Almost all schools provide the opportunity for work
experience for every pupil during Key Stage 4. At its best,
it is very well planned to link with the rest of the curriculum.
However, planning of this quality remains uncommon and the
teaching in subject courses rarely builds well on what is
learned from work experience.
151 In schools that are introducing the new GCSE
courses in vocational subjects, insufficient time
is often allocated to them. Some vocational elements, including
links with work experience and employers, are underdeveloped.
Pupils’ attitudes towards the new courses are mostly
positive because of their practical basis and perceived relevance
to working life. In a survey carried out by HMI, pupils’ attainment
in the lessons varied widely and was inadequate to meet the
demands of the syllabus in almost a quarter of the lessons
152 Community links and partnerships,
including involvement in voluntary service and links with
local business on curriculum
projects, and the mentoring of pupils, frequently make a
valuable contribution to pupils’ achievements. Some
schools have plans which ensure that such links take in a
number of subjects and involve pupils systematically at different
stages of school life. Rather fewer schools evaluate the
benefits of these links in order to review and develop them.
Schemes such as the School Sport Co-ordinator programme have
helped to develop partnerships and forge links with other
153 In one school in five the provision for pupils with
special educational needs is very good.56 The provision in these schools is very well managed. Effective
with partner schools enables SEN co-ordinators to allocate
suitable learning support to individual pupils and the co-ordinators
provide guidance about teaching methods to subject staff
prior to the admission of pupils. Where pupils are given
additional support, it is organised so that pupils continue
to have access to a broad curriculum.
154 Provision to improve literacy for pupils with SEN is
well focused. It often involves specialist staff in teaching
individuals or small groups, using Key Stage 3 Strategy materials.
In schools where provision is less effective, literacy is
not consistently reinforced across subjects and, as a result,
progress is slower, particularly in spelling and writing.
In a significant number of schools additional
specialist support has been reduced because of difficulties
of engaging or gaining access to specialist staff, such as
speech and language therapists.
educational needs in the mainstream
An HMI survey of provision for different types of
SEN identified the following key characteristics of
effective, inclusive schools:
• a climate of acceptance of all pupils, including
those who have distinctive needs
• careful planning of placements for pupils
with SEN, giving attention to the pupils themselves,
their peers in school, parents and staff
• the availability of sufficient suitable teaching
and personal support
• widespread awareness among staff of the particular
needs of pupils and understanding of practical ways
of meeting them in classrooms and elsewhere
• sensitive allocation to teaching groups and
careful modification of the curriculum, timetables
and social arrangements
• the availability of appropriate materials
and teaching aids and adapted accommodation
• an active approach to personal and social
development, as well as to learning
• well-defined and consistently applied approaches
to managing difficult behaviour
• assessment, recording and reporting procedures
which adequately recognise and express the progress
of pupils who may make only small gains in learning
and personal development
• involving parents as fully as possible in
decision-making, keeping them well informed about their
child's progress and giving them as much practical
support as possible
• developing and taking advantage of training
opportunities, including links with special schools
and other schools providing for a similar group of
pupils with SEN.57
Support, care and guidance
155 Procedures for child protection and ensuring
pupils’ welfare are at
least satisfactory in the vast majority of schools and
very good in two fifths.58 They are unsatisfactory overall
in one school in twenty, but the proportion is higher in
schools serving more disadvantaged communities.
156 In about half of schools where procedures for child
protection and welfare are unsatisfactory, arrangements for
child protection are adequate but those for other aspects
of welfare are weak. The most significant problem identified
is the lack of training for staff.
157 Personal support and guidance for pupils have improved,
and are now good or better in three quarters of schools.
Procedures for assessing pupils’ attainment and progress
are at least good in almost three fifths of schools. However,
they are unsatisfactory in one school in ten. In these schools
a common weakness is the lack of an adequate basis for setting
subject-specific targets. This is particularly relevant for
pupils with SEN when small-step criteria for progress have
not been established.
158 Schools with high rates of mobility among
pupils continue to face significant challenges. The effectiveness
to deal with these, in Key Stage 4 in particular, is often
affected adversely by a lack of information about the previous
work of pupils joining the school late and, in some cases,
by an inability to provide continuity in the teaching of
a particular subject syllabus. Schools that succeed in lessening
the disruption assess pupils appropriately on entry, have
effective induction procedures often involving trained pupil
mentors and ensure an effective flow of information among
subject teachers. Asylum-seeker pupils, especially those
arriving in Key Stage 4, often have difficulty fitting into
a school’s curriculum and examination pathways.59
159 Procedures for monitoring and improving attendance are better than they were, but remain unsatisfactory in one
school in twelve. Despite the best efforts of many schools,
a minority of parents, often with poor experience of education
and low expectations for their children, do not do enough
to ensure that their children attend school regularly or
to support the school in taking action on truancy.
160 In four out of five schools, the approaches used to
counter or eliminate instances of oppressive behaviour, including
harassment and bullying, are good or better. They are unsatisfactory
in fewer than one in twenty schools. In two fifths of schools,
a proportion that is slightly higher than last year, procedures
are very good. Effective approaches include engaging with
pupils in establishing a common view of acceptable behaviour,
consistency of staff in their responses to incidents and
ensuring that staff are seen around the school at key times.
Evidence of oppressive behaviour, found in one in twenty
five schools, is often the result of inconsistent application
of the school’s approach by inexperienced and temporary
161 Schools take bullying seriously and, in the main, pupils
and parents report that incidents are dealt with effectively.
An HMI survey of good practice in combating bullying identified
ways in which the incidence can be reduced.60 Schools that
are successful in tackling bullying have a clear policy that
helps staff, pupils and parents to recognise and report bullying
and ensure that allegations are investigated. They:
• canvass the views of pupils and take full account
• give time in the curriculum to discussing bullying
and have programmes to develop self-confidence and responsible
• set up safe and quiet areas for breaks in the school
day and supervise vulnerable areas closely
• have sound procedures for reporting bullying, including
confidential means and are prompt and thorough in investigating
concerns when they arise
• attach high priority to
giving parents information about bullying to encourage their
involvement, as well as
that of the pupils, in combating it.
162 From May 2002, schools have been required to reflect
the general and specific duties set out in the Race
Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in their work. This requires them to
promote racial equality and good relations
between groups and take action to tackle any differences
in outcomes between racial groups. Schools with a tradition
of analysing and reviewing their practice in this respect
are well placed to meet the new duty. However, few schools
in areas with small minority ethnic populations are vigorous
enough in their approach. Where schools have an effective
approach to race equality, they:
• give priority to it in the school’s planning
• have a detailed policy that gives staff clear and
• ensure that procedures are in place so that pupils
can confidently report incidents of racial harassment
• monitor attainment and exclusions by ethnic group.
163 The equality of access and opportunity that pupils
have to the curriculum is very good or excellent in a quarter
of schools, good in almost a half, but unsatisfactory in
one in twenty. In these cases, pupils are not offered a curriculum
with sufficient breadth and balance or are steered towards
courses that do not match their needs and aspirations.
Partnership with parents
164 Parents’ satisfaction with their children’s
school is good or better in three quarters of schools. The
proportion of schools in which parents are generally dissatisfied
is very low. Responses to the questionnaire for parents used
before inspection shows that where parents have any concerns
they are often about how well the school works with them,
the amount of homework pupils get and how well they are kept
informed about the school and their children’s progress.
165 The contribution parents make to their children’s
learning at home is good or better in fewer than half of
the schools and the proportion is lower in schools with higher
levels of disadvantage.61 Three fifths of schools have good
or better links with parents, half involve parents effectively
in the work of the school and just over half
provide them with good or better information, especially
about their children’s progress.
166 Where parents are very satisfied with the partnership
they have with the school, they point to some common features:
• they know what the school stands for
• there is good information for new parents about
the routines of the school and how things work
• they are given helpful information about what is
taught in the school and about the other activities which
the school puts on
• they know that the school is committed to the health,
safety and welfare of their children and to their success
• there are staff in the school who know their child
very well and whom they can trust to take action where necessary
• the school actively seeks the views of parents
on important matters and acts upon them
• there are practical and reliable means of communication
• reports on progress, formal and informal, including
through parents’ evenings, are regular and give useful
information about how their children are doing in their work,
as well as about their behaviour and participation in the
life of the school
• they are involved in setting targets for improvement
and given help, where they need it, on what they can do to
help their child at home.
For further information, see the following sections:
• School improvement strategies
• Teacher training, development and supply
• Local education authorities
• Post-compulsory education
35 The current judgement on leadership and management relates
only to the work of the headteacher and key staff. Before
January 2000, the judgement included the work of the governing
36 Equivalent qualifications include General National
Vocational Qualification (GNVQ).
37 All maintained secondary
schools, Statistical first release 29/2003, October 2003,