Ofsted joy for Norfolk’s biggest high school as Thorpe St Andrew School is declared “outstanding”

Thorpe St Andrew High pupils in a jubilant mood after learning that their school has been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve Adams Thorpe St Andrew High pupils in a jubilant mood after learning that their school has been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve Adams

Saturday, April 26, 2014
7:13 AM

Norfolk’s biggest high school has been showered with praise in a glowing Ofsted report which rated it “outstanding” across the board.

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Thorpe St Andrew High pupils in a jubilant mood after learning that their school has been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve AdamsThorpe St Andrew High pupils in a jubilant mood after learning that their school has been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve Adams

Thorpe St Andrew School becomes the first community secondary school in Norfolk to receive the inspectorate’s top grade since it toughened up the system two years ago.

The report said students’ achievement is “outstanding” and their behaviour “excellent”, described the sixth form as “excellent”, and said: “Outstanding teaching leads to students’ rapid progress. Teachers show that they have high expectations for what all students can achieve.”

• Seven key quotes from Thorpe St Andrew School’s Ofsted report

Thorpe St Andrew High has been judged outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve AdamsThorpe St Andrew High has been judged outstanding by Ofsted. Photo: Steve Adams

• What pupils think about Thorpe St Andrew School

Principal Ian Clayton said the report vindicated the school’s decision to remain a community school with links to Norfolk County Council, rather than become an independent, state-funded academy.

Victory Academy in Costessey, and Venture Academy in Gorleston, are the only other Norfolk secondary schools graded “outstanding” under the new Ofsted regime.

Mr Clayton said: “Amidst this truly amazing report, the key phrase for me is about the ‘excellent academic and personal development of the students’. Throughout the inspection, all inspectors kept referring to our focus on the whole child and not just on academic results.

“Of course, results are critical but this school believes the education process is far more comprehensive in what we are ‘teaching’ our young people and this must not be lost in everything we do.”

• Click here to view our interactive map of Norfolk Ofsted reports since 2013

The report highlighted the 72pc of pupils who last year achieved the government’s gold standard of five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths, making it one of the top-ranked state schools in Norfolk.

Mr Clayton said a key reason for the school’s academic success was having high expectations of, and setting high targets for, all students.

The report also highlighted Thorpe St Andrew’s role helping other schools, saying the council “uses some of the school’s excellent practice to help other schools”, and noted its very close work with neighbouring primaries through the Thorpe St Andrew Educational Partnership.

Mr Clayton said: “The partnership we have set up believes we have responsibility for all our students, from three to 19. It’s about the wider commitment to the education community. We are working to support each other, whichever school children are in.”

Has your school done something amazing? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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