Aylsham High School was visited by Ofsted on 16 May 2018 as part of its routine inspection of good schools.
Inspectors judged that Aylsham High School remains a good school with outstanding provision for the personal development, behaviour and welfare of students. It praised leaders, teachers and support staff for the quality of education that the school provides. Inspectors noted that “attainment at key stage 4 (GCSE) continues to be high, and pupils’ overall progress remains strong”.
“For me by far and away the most important thing is that inspectors recognised that we are a values-driven school. We won’t chase Ofsted or GCSE grades at the expense of ensuring that our young people get a well-rounded education, and that our teachers feel empowered and supported to teach well”.
“It was lovely to read the outcomes of the staff questionnaire and to hear how proud they are to work at Aylsham High School and that they feel supported to do their jobs well. The recognition for our professional development work was also very pleasing. At a time when schools nationally are struggling to recruit and retain good teachers it is great that Aylsham High School is bucking the trend”.
“I cannot praise our staff and students highly enough. They are what makes our community so special and what makes Aylsham High School such a great place to work and learn”.
Duncan Spalding, Executive Headteacher
The inspectors felt that Aylsham High School offered a "wide range of extra-curricular activities" as well as a wide variety of opportunities for students to show leadership within their community, such as friendly faces and peer mentors.
Some highlights from the Ofsted letter:
“You provide strong, thoughtful and well-focused leadership. You are guided by your desire to provide pupils, staff and the wider community with an effective, values-driven school. You are passionate about your long-term vision for the development of education in Aylsham”.
“Your commitment to professional development is strong and it is valued by your staff. They agree that they are well led and well trained, and that you have created climate in which they are trusted to take risks and to innovate”.
“Pupils continue to demonstrate the positive behaviour and attitudes to learning that were noted in your last inspection. They are friendly, welcoming and polite; they enjoy learning and they get on well with their teachers and other adults who work at the school. One pupil said ‘I come out of school feeling happy because of the relationships that I have built with teachers and friends in all year groups’.
“Staff are also grateful for the way in which their views are listened to and the extent to which they are involved in decision making. All of the staff who completed the Ofsted questionnaire agreed that they are proud to work at the school”.
“Attainment at key stage 4 continues to be high, and pupils’ overall progress remains strong. Your focus on the core knowledge that pupils require to be successful across the curriculum has driven your approach to assessment”.
“Leaders’ systems for reporting safeguarding concerns are effective. Safeguarding records are well kept and any child protection referrals are monitored robustly”.
“Pupils say that, on the rare occasions it happens, bullying is dealt with swiftly and effectively. The roles that pupils undertake, such as ‘peer coaches’ and ‘peace makers’, enhance the effectiveness of leaders’ systems.
“Disadvantaged pupils are positive about their experiences at school. They say that they enjoy learning and that they are making good progress. This is supported by pupils’ workbooks and leaders’ assessment records; both indicate that disadvantaged pupils are making good progress over time and that there is little difference between their progress and that of their non-disadvantaged classmates”.