Ofsted praise as Vandyke Upper in Leighton Buzzard 'continues to be a good school'

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‘Pupils are proud and articulate ambassadors for their school’

Vandyke Upper School continues to be a ‘good school’ boasting many strengths, according to Ofsted.

The school’s second ungraded Section 8 inspection was carried out at the end of January, the second since Vandyke was judged to be ‘good’ in March 2015. Graded judgements are not given on an ungraded inspection.

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Headteacher Tim Carroll said: “Inspections are always memorable moments in the life of a school. The inspection team identified some of our school’s many strengths in particular that our students are ‘proud and articulate ambassadors for their school’, the powerful part that Student Voice plays and the ambition that we have for all of our students.

Headteacher Tim Carroll with students at Vandyke Upper School.Headteacher Tim Carroll with students at Vandyke Upper School.
Headteacher Tim Carroll with students at Vandyke Upper School.

"I am pleased that the school’s ‘entrepreneurial approach’ to careers education is recognised as highly effective and that in their time with us students become ‘world ready citizens’.

"While inspectors struggled to identify an area for improvement, Vandyke is a school that is always striving to improve all aspects of practice so that students’ experience is exceptional.”

The report highlights that pupils enjoy learning and achieve well. They thrive as a result of the school’s ambition for all pupils to become “world ready citizens”. It added: “This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Pupils are confident, courteous and aspirational. They behave well and move around the school calmly. They respect themselves and others and keep the school environment remarkably free of litter. They feel safe.”

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The report also highlights the place of Student Voice in school. Mr Carroll added: “Pupil voice is influential. Pupils are articulate and express their opinions maturely. They ensure that the school council is an effective forum for bringing about change.”

The report acknowledges students learn well and achieve with the school’s entrepreneurial approach to careers education seen as highly effective.

The participation of students in the school’s rich extra-curricular programme was also praised: “Pupils and students in all years participate fully in the rich and varied opportunities to develop and stretch their talents and interests. Nearly a quarter of all pupils take part in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. They are actively involved in charity and fundraising events including SMILE week. Pupils volunteer willingly in school and within the local community.”

Ofsted explained when a school is judged to be good, inspectors will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good. This is called an ungraded inspection, and is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005.

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Graded judgements are not given on an ungraded inspection. However, if inspectors find evidence that a school would subsequently receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection.

If there are serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, Ofsted would deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

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