School is ‘outstanding’, say Ofsted inspectors

Headteacher David Bowes celebrates with pupils at Tapton School following an excellent OFSTED report.
Headteacher David Bowes celebrates with pupils at Tapton School following an excellent OFSTED report.

ONE of Sheffield’s leading secondary schools has received a ringing endorsement from inspectors, who have given it an exemplary report – outstanding in every aspect.

Tapton, in Darwin Lane, Crosspool, received only hours’ notice of the Ofsted inspection in December - and the team could find no fault in its performance, despite the introduction this year of a tougher inspection regime.

After observing more than 60 lessons over two days, inspectors ruled that students’ attitudes to learning were “exemplary” and they learned “exceptionally well”, honing a wide range of skills to very high standards.

Teaching was “outstanding… never less than consistently good.” And the headteacher and senior leaders were “uncompromising about the pursuit of excellence in all of the academy’s work.”

Staff were not complacent, yet there were no key areas for improvement to sustain the high standards.

The report concludes: “This is an outstanding school.”

Tapton, which became an academy last year, is part of a formal trust, collaborating with Chaucer secondary at Parson Cross and Meynell and Southey Green primaries,

The increasing importance of this partnership is recognised in the report, which credits it with playing an important part in a city-wide strategy to raise standards of attainment.

Mr Bowes said: “This inspection was very challenging. We received the phone call at 1.30pm on Tuesday and by 8am the following day the team had begun their work.

“We are delighted and very proud that the judgment is so emphatically positive.”

The inspection team found that pupils were making exceptional progress, particularly in English and maths.

Attainment at GCSE and in the sixth form was equally high, with students well prepared for their futures due to high quality teaching and excellent guidance.

Much of the teaching was found to be outstanding, and was never less than consistently good in most subjects.

Pupils themselves were praised for their outstanding manners and attendance rates, as well as their attitudes to learning and academy life.

Bullying was rare and the young people actively tried to prevent it from happening, while parents were happy that their youngsters were safe on and off the school site.

Students who were disabled or who had special educational needs were found to achieve as well as the other children, and all were exceptionally well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment.

Academy trust patrons Lord Sebastian Coe - a former Tapton student - and Sheffield MP David Blunkett both welcomed the report.

Mr Bowes added: “Outstanding is a very hard-won accolade. It is a validation of all that our team has achieved and a springboard for our wider aspirations.”