Francis Maude: pride in school’s culture of excellence

Horsham MP Francis Maude
Horsham MP Francis Maude

I am always filled with immense pride when a school in my constituency is recognised for the high quality of its teaching.

My reaction at the news of The Weald School’s recent Ofsted report was no different.

Put simply, the report makes for wonderful reading. The school in Billingshurst was awarded an outstanding grade in overall effectiveness as well as in every separate area of inspection – achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils, and leadership and management.

This achievement represents a marked improvement on the last inspection three years ago – back then the school was classed as ‘good’ which is one level down from ‘outstanding’.

The Weald has therefore managed to make significant progress in a very short space of time.

A close look at the Ofsted report reveals the secret to the school’s success – a deeply entrenched culture of high expectations shared by teachers and students alike.

The report clearly states that teachers use their excellent subject knowledge to support learning and have the highest expectations of what their students will achieve.

As for the students themselves, ‘they have a thirst and enthusiasm for learning and are keen to do their best in lessons and all other aspects of school life’.

This enthusiasm also extends beyond the classroom. For example I was greatly encouraged to read that year 7 students are involved in a project where they return to their old primary schools to help teach maths to year 6 students.

Clearly then The Weald values more than just academic achievement.

It is a school committed to helping students become well-rounded and caring individuals.

Combined with this culture of excellence is a cohesive community environment which supports the needs of every student.

As the report points out, ‘all groups of students, including those who are disabled and have special educational needs and those who speak English as an additional language, make outstanding progress’.

The Weald therefore succeeds where so many other schools fail – demanding high standards while making sure no student gets left behind.

The Government is making big changes to our school system with a new national curriculum in 2014, new exams from 2015, and accountability reforms from 2016.

It’s our aim that every school achieves The Weald’s outstanding rating.