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					  INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS COUNCIL
              (ISC)

              *******
          INSPECTION OF

       HEADINGTON SCHOOL

                By the

INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS INSPECTORATE
               (ISI)

                  on

        March 14th – 18th, 2005

           MAIN REPORT
             ********
                    INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
                        INSPECTORATE

                         INSPECTION REPORT ON

                    Headington School (Senior School)
The Prep School was inspected separately in March 2003.

Full Name of the School       Headington School
DfES Number                   931/6064
Address                       Headington, Oxford, OX3 7TB
Telephone Number              01865 759100
Fax Number                    01865760268
E-mail Address                acoutts@headington.org
Name of Head                  Mrs Anne Coutts
Chairman of Governors         Mr Richard Barnes
Age Range                     11 - 18                Gender                      Girls
Number of Pupils              699                    Number of Boarders          191
                                         th     th
Inspection Dates              March 14 – 18 , 2005
This inspection report follows the framework laid down by the Independent Schools Inspectorate
(ISI). The inspection was carried out under the arrangements of the Independent Schools Council
(ISC) Associations for the maintenance and improvement of the quality of their membership. It was
also carried out under Section 163(1)(b) of the Education Act 2002, under the provisions of which
the Secretary of State for Education and Skills has accredited ISI as the body approved for the
purpose of inspecting schools belonging to ISC Associations and reporting on compliance with the
Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2003.
The inspection was not carried out in conjunction with the Commission for Social Care Inspection
(CSCI) and the report does not contain specific judgements on the National Minimum Boarding
Standards. It comments on the progress made by the school in meeting the recommendations set out
in the most recent statutory boarding inspection and evaluates the quality of the boarding experience
and its contribution to pupils’ education and development in general.
The inspection does not examine the financial viability of the school or investigate its accounting
procedures. The inspectors check the school’s health and safety procedures and comment on any
significant hazards they encounter: they do not carry out an exhaustive health and safety
examination. Their inspection of the premises is from an educational perspective and does not
include in-depth examination of the structural condition of the school, its services or other physical
features.




 Independent Schools Inspectorate 2005
                                    CONTENTS
                                                           Page no.

1   MAIN FINDINGS                                               1

2   MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS                                        5

3   INTRODUCTION                                                6
    Characteristics of the School                               6
    Key Indicators                                              7

4   EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS ACHIEVED BY PUPILS                    8
    Attainment and Progress                                     8
    Quality of Learning, Attitudes and Behaviour                8
    Attendance                                                  9

5   QUALITY OF EDUCATION PROVIDED                             10
    Teaching                                                  10
    Assessment and Recording                                  11
    Curriculum                                                11
    Teaching and Non-teaching Staff                           12
    Resources for Learning                                    13
    Libraries                                                 14
    Premises and Accommodation                                15
    Links with Parents and the Community                      16

6   PUPILS’ PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PASTORAL CARE            18
    Pupils’ Personal Development                              18
    Pastoral Care, including Welfare and Health & Safety      19
    Boarding Standards                                        20

7   THE MANAGEMENT AND EFFICIENCY OF THE SCHOOL               21
    Governance and Management                                 21

8   ACHIEVEMENT AND QUALITY IN SUBJECTS AND ACTIVITIES        23
    Achievement and Quality in Subjects                       23
    Achievement and Quality in Activities                     40

9   SUMMARY OF INSPECTION EVIDENCE                            42

    LIST OF THE INSPECTORS                                    42
Headington School                                                                                     1



1.     MAIN FINDINGS
       Overall Summary
1.1    Headington is a successful and happy school providing a good quality of day and boarding
       education. It has a clear sense of purpose that promotes endeavour across the whole range of
       educational experience. Good teaching and facilities contribute to the achievement of good
       standards in relation to pupils’ abilities, as do the very positive attitudes that pupils display
       in the classroom and in their wider participation in school life. The quality of the wide range
       of extra-curricular activities and visits is very good. The school has no major weaknesses,
       although the inspection identified areas for further development.

       What the School Does Well
1.2    The school has strengths in almost all aspects of its provision. Outstanding among these are
       the following:
             Pupils of all ages achieve good standards in relation to their abilities, the progress
              made in preparation for GCSE being particularly notable.
             The school is a friendly community in which pupils display positive attitudes to their
              work, to their interests outside the classroom, and to each other.
             The staff are hard-working: they provide good teaching and contribute extensively to
              the very good programme of extra-curricular activities and visits.
             The provision of accommodation and resources is good, and all levels of management
              make effective contributions to development planning.
             Both through its overall ethos and through many of its structures, the school provides
              a very good basis for the personal development of its pupils.

       What the School Should Do Better
1.3    The school has no major weaknesses, though there are areas in which improvement should
       be sought:
             The provision for personal, social and health education (PSHE) has some significant
              shortcomings.
             Punctuality during the school day is sometimes poor.
             The limited provision of information & communication technology (ICT) resources
              for some departments restricts the use of ICT in teaching.

       Standards of Attainment and Progress in Subjects
1.4    Pupils achieve good standards at all age levels, and their results in public examinations are
       good in relation to their abilities. Both GCSE and A-level results have been above the
       averages for maintained selective schools during the last three years.

1.5    Pupils’ knowledge is very sound, and they are able to apply it successfully in solving
       problems. Pupils use technical vocabulary accurately and make good use of their ICT skills
       in their individual work and research. Standards of numeracy are good.

1.6    Pupils make good progress as they move up the school. They achieve high standards in
       creative writing and in other forms of creative expression. Pupils’ understanding of abstract
Headington School                                                                                   2


       concepts grows steadily, as does their ability to analyse evidence. Pupils often make
       particularly good progress in lessons which provide them with opportunities to learn
       independently or in group work. They acquire good practical skills. Pupils with special
       needs or English as an additional language make good progress.

1.7    Nationally based measurements indicate that over the last three years progress to GCSE
       overall and in almost every subject has been well above national norms. Progress to A level
       has been above national norms.

       The Quality of Pupils’ Learning, Attitudes and their Behaviour
1.8    The quality of pupils’ attitudes to learning and of their personal development and behaviour
       is very good at all age levels. Pupils are very good, eager learners. They are co-operative
       and respond positively to their teachers and to each other. Most contribute confidently to
       lessons, but pupils in some lessons were more passive. Pupils develop good independent
       learning skills and work purposefully in groups. Their positive attitudes are seen in all
       aspects of school life.

1.9    Pupils’ behaviour in class and around the school is almost invariably very good. Pupils
       listen to each other and show respect for all members of the school community. They place
       great value on their school and on its facilities; they show a real pride in belonging to a
       school which, in turn, values them so much.

       The Quality of Teaching
1.10   The quality of teaching is good, and is a major factor in securing the attainment and progress
       of pupils. In just over three-quarters of the lessons observed the teaching was good or better;
       it was sound in most of the remainder and only a very small proportion of the teaching was
       unsatisfactory.

1.11   Teachers have a secure knowledge of their subjects. They manage their pupils well, prepare
       lessons thoroughly, cater successfully for the ability range, and make lesson objectives clear.
       Lessons often include a good variety of activities and opportunities for pupils to learn for
       themselves. Occasionally, activities are insufficiently challenging, and some lessons rely
       excessively on exposition by the teacher. Relationships between teachers and pupils are
       friendly and relaxed, though a little casual at times. Teachers use resources and the time
       available effectively. Their enthusiasm is a strength of the school.

       Other Aspects of the School
       Attendance

1.12   The level of pupils’ attendance is excellent, and all pupils are able to take full advantage of
       the many opportunities provided by the school. Punctuality around the school is not always
       satisfactory.

       Assessment and Recording

1.13   The quality of assessment and recording in the school is good. Methods used for assessing
       and recording pupils’ achievements, progress and needs are accurate, consistent and
       effective. The system of regular grading, the use of baseline test and progress measurement
       data and the generally thorough marking of work contribute significantly to pupils’
       attainment. Procedures for identifying pupils with special educational needs or who might
       require English language support are appropriate to the school’s intake
Headington School                                                                                 3


       Curriculum

1.14   The curriculum is sound. It provides a broad and balanced education well suited to the
       school’s ability range. The balanced core curriculum in Years 7 – 11 is supplemented by a
       suitable range of GCSE options, while the range of subject choice in the sixth form is
       unusually wide. Time allocations are mostly appropriate. The arrangements for pupils with
       special educational needs or for whom English is an additional language are satisfactory.

       Teaching and Non-teaching Staff

1.15   Provision and deployment of teaching and non-teaching staff throughout the school are good.
       The teaching staff work hard, and are well supported by the non-teaching staff. Induction
       procedures are good, and a new appraisal scheme, though not yet fully implemented in some
       departments, is proving beneficial. Good use is made of training opportunities.

       Resources for Learning

1.16   The provision of resources is good overall. Provision for the teaching of ICT itself is very
       good, but the availability of ICT facilities in most other departments is not yet sufficient.
       The provision of non-ICT resources is very good. Resources are accessible and are used
       effectively.

       Libraries

1.17   Library facilities offer good support for the curriculum and are effectively used. The main
       library contributes very effectively to pupils’ learning and recreational reading.

       Premises and Accommodation

1.18   The buildings, accommodation and other facilities are good overall, with some excellent
       provision but a number of shortcomings. The buildings and grounds are well used and
       enable the curriculum to be taught effectively.

       Links with Parents and the Community

1.19   Links with parents and the community are good. The school has developed an effective
       partnership with parents and worthwhile links with the community that enhance pupils’
       experience.

       Pupils’ Personal Development

1.20   Provision for pupils’ personal development is good. Plentiful opportunities are provided for
       the acquisition of knowledge and insight into values and beliefs, for the development of a
       moral code, for cultural appreciation and for the growth of social awareness. However, the
       development of a programme of formal PSHE is incomplete.

       Pastoral Care

1.21   The school’s provision for pastoral care is good and makes an effective contribution to the
       educational standards and personal growth achieved by the pupils. The pastoral system,
       involving form tutors, year heads and pastoral heads, provides a good standard of monitoring
       and care. Boarders experience a valuable extra dimension to their lives through the
       additional support and direction on offer in the houses Careers guidance is good, and the
       system of rewards and sanctions is effective. Provision and procedures to safeguard pupils’
       welfare are well established.
Headington School                                                                                                  4


       Boarding Standards

1.22   No Commission for Social Care Inspection team took part in the inspection.

       Governance and Management

1.23   The governance and management of the school are good. Effective management and strong
       support from the governing body ensure that the main aims of the school are met, that a good
       quality of education is provided, and that planning for further development is relevant and
       detailed.

       Achievement and Quality in Activities

1.24   Achievement and quality in the wide range of activities provided are very good, with several
       areas of excellence. The extra-curricular programme enhances the academic curriculum and
       enriches the personal development of the pupils.

       Progress Made by the School since its Last Inspection
1.25   The report written following the school’s last inspection in 1998 contained 11 main
       recommendations. Nearly all have been dealt with comprehensively, and good progress has
       been made in all other cases.

       Compliance with the Regulations for Registration
        DfES Standard                                                    Does the school meet the regulatory
                                                                         requirements?
        1.   Quality of education:      1.(2) Curriculum                 Yes
                                        1.(3)-(5) Teaching               Yes
        2.   Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils Yes
        3.   Welfare, health and safety of pupils                        It meets almost all of the requirements
        4.   Suitability of proprietors and staff                        Yes
        5.   Premises and accommodation                                  Yes
        6.   Provision of information                                    Yes
        7.   Manner in which complaints are to be handled                Yes

       Action Required for Compliance with the Regulatory Requirements
1.26   In order to meet all the requirements, the school must:
         (1)     ensure the correction of entries in attendance registers in all cases where the absence
                 of pupils from registration is subsequently found not to be unauthorised [Regulation
                 3.(9)].

1.27   In addition to the action set out above, the school is asked to address any issues highlighted
       in What the School Should Do Better. These are set out as recommendations for the school in
       Section 2 of the report.
Headington School                                                                                5



2.     MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1    The actions needed to comply fully with the regulatory requirements are specified in
       paragraph 1.26 of the report. The school has no major weaknesses, but the inspection
       identified areas in which it should seek improvements. In the following list of suggested
       actions, the numbers in brackets refer to paragraphs within the report.

       R1     The school should improve aspects of its provision which currently restrict the scope
              of PSHE courses, including the timetable allocation and the training of staff in PSHE
              work. (6.5)

       R2     The school should further investigate the causes of excessive unpunctuality and
              introduce measures to minimise it. (4.13)

       R3     The school should continue to expand the provision of ICT resources for academic
              departments and to encourage the wider use of ICT in teaching. (5.32 - 5.35)
Headington School                                                                                    6



3.     INTRODUCTION
       Characteristics of the School
3.1    Headington School provides day and boarding education for girls aged 11 – 18. Its Prep
       School, located on a separate site a short distance away, was inspected separately in 2003.

3.2    Founded in 1915, the school moved to its present site about a mile from the centre of Oxford
       in 1929. The present head has been in post since September 2003. Pupil numbers have
       increased steadily in recent years, and at the time of the inspection there were 475 girls in
       Years 7 – 11 and 224 in the sixth form. Of the 191 boarders, 72 were weekly boarders.
       Pupils come from a range of backgrounds, including academic, professional, entertainment
       and the arts. Just over 10 per cent of pupils are of Chinese origin, and many other
       nationalities are represented. Of the 13 per cent of pupils from homes where English is not
       the first language, 41 require English language support. Day pupils come from Oxford itself
       and from numerous small towns and villages in the surrounding areas, in some cases
       considerable distances away.

3.3    The school identifies 59 pupils as requiring special provision, including one who has a
       statement of special educational needs.

3.4    About half of the Year 7 intake comes from the Prep School, and about one-third from
       maintained primary schools. The school is selective, entry being by examination and
       interview. Scores in the baseline test taken in Year 7 indicate that pupils’ average ability is
       well above the national average. If pupils’ performance is in line with their ability, the
       school’s GCSE results will be well above the average for girls in maintained secondary
       schools.

3.5    Entry to the sixth form is conditional upon at least six GCSE passes at grade B or above.
       Almost all Year 11 pupils reach this standard, and the number of pupils leaving the school
       for other reasons at this stage is usually small. Girls applying to enter the school at sixth-
       form level sit entrance examinations as appropriate to their AS-level subject choices.
       Results of the aptitude test taken shortly after entry to Year 12 show that the ability profile
       of the sixth form is above the national average for pupils embarking on AS-level courses. If
       the performance of sixth-form pupils is in line with their abilities, their A-level results will
       be above the average for all maintained secondary schools. Virtually all pupils who leave
       the sixth form take up university places.

3.6    The following summary of the school’s aims is taken from the staff handbook:
       “We believe in education in its fullest sense. Not only does Headington work to enable each
       girl to reach the highest academic standards of which she is capable, but also to extend and
       encourage her gifts and talents wherever they may lie. At the end of her education at
       Headington, we want to see each student having the confidence to work and think
       independently, having a sense of responsibility for others and a wide range of skills, so that
       she can play a full part in society.”
Headington School                                                                                            7



3.7    National Curriculum nomenclature is used throughout this report to refer to year groups in
       the school. The year group nomenclature used by the school and its National Curriculum
       (NC) equivalence are shown in the following table:

          School                  NC
          Upper Third             Year 7
          Lower Fourth            Year 8
          Upper Fourth            Year 9
          Lower Fifth             Year 10
          Upper Fifth             Year 11
          Lower Sixth             Year 12
          Upper Sixth             Year 13

       Key Indicators
3.8    Externally marked National Curriculum Assessments at age 14 (Key Stage 3): the school
       does not enter pupils for these assessments.

3.9    GCSE

                                               Most recently completed          Average for the last three
                                                       Year 11                           years
          Entered for 5+ subjects (%)                   100%                             100%
          Achieved 5+ @ A* - C (%)                         99%                              99%
          Achieved 5+ @ A* - G (%)                        100%                              100%
          Average score per
                                                           67.2                             69.0
          candidate*
          Average score per entry*                          6.9                              6.9
          * Scoring is 8 for GCSE grade A*, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for grades A – G.

3.10   A Level and AS

                                                     Most recent Year          Average for the
                                                            13                 last three years
          Average score per candidate                      32.0                      31.9
          Average score per subject entry                    8.6                      8.5
          Scoring is 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 for A level grades A – E, and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for AS grades A to E.


3.11   Attendance for Autumn Term 2004

                                     Authorised         Unauthorised
          Percentage absence           4.2%                 Nil

3.12   Exclusions Over the Previous 12 Months

          Temporary        Permanent
          exclusions       exclusions
              3                0
Headington School                                                                                  8



4.     EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS ACHIEVED BY PUPILS AT THE
       SCHOOL
       Attainment and Progress
4.1    Pupils achieve good standards at all ages.

4.2    Public examination results are good in relation to pupils’ abilities. In the last three years,
       GCSE results overall have been so far above the average for girls in all maintained schools
       as to be above the average for pupils in maintained selective schools. The average grade was
       only slightly below A. A-level results during the same period have been above the
       maintained selective school average. Over 80 per cent of entries resulted in passes at grade
       A or B.

4.3    Pupils’ attainment at all stages is good. Their knowledge of what they have been taught is
       very sound, and pupils are often able to make useful connections between their experiences
       of different areas of study. They are able to apply their knowledge successfully in solving
       problems, for example in mathematics. Good oral work was observed in a wide range of
       subjects, in debate, in discussion, and in presentations to the class. Pupils use technical
       vocabulary accurately, for example in science and geography. They make good use of their
       ICT skills in their individual work and research. Standards of numeracy are good.

4.4    Pupils make good progress as they move up the school. In English, high standards of
       creative writing are achieved by the time pupils approach GCSE. Creative expression in art,
       drama and music becomes more sophisticated, individual and technically adroit. Pupils’
       understanding of abstract concepts grows steadily, as does their ability to analyse evidence
       critically and summarise an argument. Pupils often make particularly good progress in
       lessons which provide them with opportunities to learn independently or in group work, or to
       extend their knowledge by questioning the teacher. They acquire good practical skills, for
       example in scientific and technological subjects, and progress in physical education (PE) is
       rapid. Pupils with special needs or English as an additional language make good progress.

4.5    Nationally standardised measurements of progress to GCSE indicate that over the last three
       years progress overall and in almost every subject has been well above national norms.
       Especially good progress was measured in art, English, geography, history, mathematics,
       science and the religious studies (RS) short course. Progress to A level, also measured using
       a nationally based system, has been above the national norm, with particularly good progress
       recorded in chemistry, economics, geography, history, law, music, physics, psychology and
       RS.

       Quality of Pupils’ Learning, Attitudes and Behaviour
4.6    The quality of pupils’ attitudes to learning and of their personal development and behaviour
       is very good at all age levels

4.7    Pupils are very good, competent learners, responding positively both to their teachers and to
       each other. They are co-operative in lessons and eager to learn. They concentrate
       effectively, and ask relevant and perceptive questions. Most pupils are confident and fluent
       contributors to lessons, but pupils in some groups were more passive in their approach,
       preferring to rely on their teachers. Pupils develop good learning skills and become fully
       capable of independent learning and research in a wide range of subjects; many use the
       facilities in the school library productively. They approach their homework conscientiously.
Headington School                                                                                   9


4.8    Pupils’ attitudes to their work are very good. They value their studies and are purposeful
       and mutually supportive in group work. The positive attitudes shown in lessons are seen
       also in their enthusiasm for extra-curricular activities and their willingness to take on
       responsibility as they move up the school.

4.9    Pupils’ behaviour in class is very good, nearly all of them managing to be both polite and
       lively during lessons. Just occasionally, the relaxed, open learning atmosphere became a
       little casual. Minor lapses from good behaviour were also observed in a small number of
       registration sessions. Generally, though, pupils are well behaved and friendly around the
       school. They are helpful to visitors and courteous to each other.

4.10   Pupils listen to each other and show respect for all members of the school community,
       reflecting the importance placed by the school as a whole on the value of personal
       relationships. Pupils are sensitive to the range of ethnic groups within the school.

4.11   Pupils place great value on their school and on its facilities; they show a strong sense of
       community and a real pride in belonging to a school which, in turn, values them so much.

       Attendance
4.12   The level of pupils’ attendance is very good, and all pupils are able to take full advantage of
       the many opportunities provided by the school.

4.13   Punctuality to lessons and activities is sometimes poor, even when allowance is made for the
       absence of a gap between periods. This applies after breaks as well as when, for instance,
       assembly or previous lessons end late.

4.14   Many pupils and some staff also have a casual attitude towards registration. The resultant
       lack of punctuality and formality reduces the efficiency of what should be a routine activity.
       A similar lack of rigour applies to the subsequent handling of some attendance registers:
       corrections are not always made to entries in the registers in cases where the reason for a
       pupil’s absence from registration is established at a later stage. The school’s policy for
       registration at the start of each lesson is not always adhered to.
Headington School                                                                                  10



5.     QUALITY OF EDUCATION PROVIDED
       Teaching
5.1    The quality of teaching is good and is a major factor in securing the attainment and progress
       of pupils. In just over three-quarters of the lessons observed the teaching was good or better,
       including over one-third of lessons where the teaching was very good and in some cases
       excellent. The teaching was sound in most other lessons, and only a very small proportion
       of the teaching was unsatisfactory.

5.2    The staff handbook includes a well-considered and achievable teaching policy which,
       without being over-prescriptive, provides helpful guidance on good practice.

5.3    Teachers have a secure knowledge and understanding of their subjects. They manage their
       pupils well and maintain high levels of discipline in most areas although this is more
       noticeable in lessons than it is, for example, during registration. The friendly and relaxed
       relationships between teachers and pupils, in the classroom and elsewhere, are a positive
       feature of the school, but occasionally result in a somewhat casual approach, for example in
       the matter of punctuality.

5.4    The planning and organisation of lessons are good, and the tasks set are appropriate to work
       schemes. Planning takes account of the ages, abilities and needs of the pupils and makes
       constructive use of pupils’ previous work and performance. The objectives of lessons are
       almost always made clear to the pupils at the start of the lesson.

5.5    Teachers use the resources and time available to them effectively and employ a variety of
       approaches and techniques. Some instances were noted of the creative use of data
       projectors, interactive whiteboards and computer-based presentations, but the use of ICT in
       teaching is under-developed in some subjects.

5.6    Most of the best lessons included a good variety of activities and opportunities for pupils to
       work individually or in small groups on assignments calculated to consolidate or extend their
       learning. In the small number of unsatisfactory lessons a common failing was that the
       chosen activity was not sufficiently challenging. Some weaknesses were noted in lessons
       that overall were of sound or good quality, such as excessive reliance on exposition by the
       teacher at the expense of opportunities for pupils to learn independently. Most departments
       are very successful at challenging pupils across the ability range and encouraging them to
       think for themselves. The written tasks and homework set are appropriate. On the basis of
       their discussions with pupils and their observations of lessons and pupils’ work, the
       inspectors did not agree with the comments made by a small minority of the parents who
       responded to the pre-inspection questionnaire suggesting that the homework set is frequently
       excessive in quantity.

5.7    The teaching meets the needs of all pupils, including those requiring special provision or for
       whom English is an additional language. In some sixth-form lessons, however, it is not
       always apparent that teachers check that girls from non-western cultures understand or keep
       pace with complex ideas, particularly when the issues as well as the language are alien to
       their culture. The special educational needs co-ordinator provides good information and
       guidance to teachers on the particular needs of pupils identified as requiring special
       provision, many of whom are also supported with specialist teaching of good quality.
       However, class teachers do not always act on this guidance. Pupils for whom English is an
       additional language benefit from good quality special provision on the timetable.
Headington School                                                                                 11


5.8    Teaching is characterised by a high level of commitment and an enthusiasm which pervades
       the whole atmosphere of the school.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for teaching?

5.9    Yes.

       Assessment and Recording
5.10   The quality of assessment and recording in the school is good. Methods used for assessing
       and recording pupils’ achievements, progress and needs are accurate, consistent and
       effective. The system of regular grading, the use of baseline test and progress measurement
       data and the generally thorough marking of work contribute significantly to pupils’
       attainment.

5.11   At the core of the assessment system is the half-termly awarding of attainment and effort
       grades in all subjects. The grades are made available to pupils and parents. The procedure
       is well managed and is clearly understood by pupils. Whole-school grading criteria are
       accurately adhered to in most cases. The grades awarded during the year are stored on the
       school database and can easily be referred to by teachers. Grades are communicated to form
       tutors, in accordance with their responsibility for monitoring the overall progress of their
       pupils. They discuss grading outcomes with pupils, who agree targets with their tutors. The
       involvement of pupils in the setting of targets is a particular strength of the system.

5.12   The grading system is efficient and helpful, and consideration is now being given to a wider
       system for the tracking of pupils’ progress over time. The school subscribes to nationally
       based systems for the measurement of progress to GCSE and A level, and is well informed
       about both the potential uses and the limitations of the resulting data. Baseline test results
       are already used to inform target setting and to help with the identification of especially
       gifted pupils.

5.13   Internal examinations at all age levels are set at the appropriate times. Procedures for
       identifying pupils with special educational needs or who might require English language
       support are perfectly appropriate to the school’s intake.

5.14   The marking of pupils’ work is of a good standard overall, and in some subjects it is
       excellent. Marking is generally frequent, accurate and consistent. Helpful, constructive
       comments provide pupils with information about their performance and suggestions for
       improvement. In a small number of departments, marking is often cursory, with little or no
       comment provided. The good marking in the school is appreciated by pupils as an aid both
       to their own evaluation of their attainment and to their progress.

5.15   Assessment data and the monitoring of standards contribute significantly to the development
       of schemes of work. Assessment data is also used effectively to provide information for
       setting, option choices and recommendations for the level of entry in GCSE examinations.

       Curriculum
5.16   The curriculum is sound. It provides a broad and balanced education well suited to the
       school’s ability range. The balanced core curriculum in Years 7 – 11 is supplemented by a
       suitable range of GCSE options, while the range of subject choice in the sixth form is
       unusually wide. Time allocations are mostly appropriate. The curricular arrangements for
       pupils with special educational needs or for whom English is an additional language are
       satisfactory.
Headington School                                                                                      12


5.17   The curriculum in Years 7 – 9 contains all the expected elements and time allocations are
       appropriate. All pupils learn Latin, and add a second modern foreign language from Year 8,
       choosing between German and Spanish. The overall provision of artistic and technological
       subjects (art, design, music, drama, textiles, food & nutrition and ICT) is good, even though
       the time allowance in Year 9 is slightly less than in Years 7 and 8.

5.18   The core curriculum in Years 10 and 11 consists of English, mathematics and science,
       together with GCSE short courses in RS and ICT. A good range of options is provided,
       pupils choosing four in all, including at least one modern foreign language. The timetable
       structure is designed to support flexibility of choice, and is adapted each year to cater for
       pupils’ chosen subject combinations. It does, however, limit the teaching of most option
       subjects to three lessons per week, which is a drawback in some of the subjects concerned,
       especially where the incidence of single periods is disadvantageous. Single periods in the
       sixth form are also problematic for some subjects, and other timetable anomalies were noted
       in science and mathematics.

5.19   Recent improvements in the curricular provision for PSHE have resulted in a programme
       consistent with the school’s aims and ethos, but despite this a number of shortcomings
       remain. The timetable allocation for physical activity is satisfactory at all stages. However,
       simultaneous games periods for whole year groups are not provided, so no opportunity is
       available in lessons for pupils to learn together in ability or interest-based groupings, and the
       timetable does not always permit access to the full range of PE facilities.

5.20   The range of subjects offered in the sixth form is unusually wide. Several subjects are
       introduced to the curriculum at this level. The considerable efforts to design a timetable
       structure that will accommodate pupils’ options are very largely successful in securing
       equality of access to the curriculum. However, the flexibility of examination course
       timetabling leaves very little timetable space available for non-examination courses; a PSHE
       course largely concerned with higher education issues has to be taught during a lunch break.

5.21   The curriculum is enhanced at all age levels by very good provision of activities and visits.

5.22   Satisfactory curricular provision is made for pupils with special educational needs and those
       for whom English is not the first language. Visiting teachers provide individual lessons for
       pupils with special needs, and one English support session per year group each week.
       Additional English support is available, albeit at extra cost. The school has established a
       policy for gifted and talented pupils which seeks to provide extension, enrichment and
       acceleration opportunities for them. So far, the range of these activities in most subjects is
       small.

5.23   Management of the curriculum at subject level and at whole-school level is good. Schemes
       of work in most subjects, sometimes very detailed, provide ample support for the planning of
       individual lessons and ensure comprehensive syllabus coverage. Meetings of the curriculum
       development team provide a useful forum for discussion of curricular issues as well as wider
       aspects of teaching and learning.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the curriculum?

5.24   Yes.

       Teaching and Non-teaching Staff
5.25   Provision and deployment of teaching and non-teaching staff throughout the school are good.
       The teaching staff work hard, and are well supported by the non-teaching staff. Induction
Headington School                                                                                 13


       procedures are good, and a new appraisal scheme, though not yet fully implemented in some
       departments, is proving beneficial. Good use is made of training opportunities.

5.26   The teaching staff are sufficient in number and are well-qualified and suitably experienced
       for the roles they are required to undertake. Their deployment is effective and efficient.
       They work hard and contribute extensively to pupils’ academic and personal development.
       The full-time teaching staff are supplemented by a proportion of part-time teachers whose
       contribution enables a broad curriculum to be offered. Class sizes are appropriate. All staff
       co-operate well to fulfil the school’s educational objectives, and many contribute to extra-
       curricular activities on a voluntary basis. Teaching remissions for senior managers and those
       with other responsibilities that justify such reduction are appropriate.

5.27   Revised policies and procedures for appraisal, known in the school as “performance
       management review” have been introduced. Their implementation is not yet uniform: in
       some departments the transition from an informal approach to a more rigorous review
       identifying professional development targets has yet to be completed. Staff have generally
       found the appraisal process helpful, including those heads of department who have been
       appraised by their line managers. The budget for in-service training is very good, and in
       nearly all departments good use has been made of training opportunities.

5.28   Induction procedures for new staff are good. The school meets the requirements, including a
       reduced teaching allocation, for the induction and monitoring of newly qualified teachers,
       and participates in the Graduate Teacher Programme when appropriate.

5.29   The numbers and experience of support staff are appropriate in virtually every area. The
       non-teaching staff co-operate well with the teaching staff to provide excellent technical,
       maintenance, administrative and domestic support for front-line educational provision.
       Appraisal of non-teaching staff does occur, but a formal documented procedure has not been
       established.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the suitability of proprietors and
       staff?

5.30   Yes.

       Resources for Learning
5.31   The provision of resources is good overall. Provision for the teaching of ICT itself is very
       good, but the availability of ICT facilities in most other departments is not yet sufficient.
       The provision of non-ICT resources is very good. Resources are accessible and are used
       effectively.

5.32   The provision of ICT resources across the school is sound overall, though the range and
       availability of ICT equipment are uneven. Science and mathematics are well provided for
       and make good use of their ICT facilities, but shortage of ICT resources in some departments
       detracts from the implementation of the curriculum. For example, the machines available for
       art are not all sufficiently powerful to manipulate images efficiently, while in languages the
       absence of computers and projectors inhibits the development of departmental resources.

5.33   In some subjects, class use of computers is restricted by the limited availability of computer
       rooms. In a few cases, for example in modern languages, the regular timetabling of lessons
       in computer rooms is beneficial.
Headington School                                                                                14


5.34   Some departments, such as biology, subscribe to external web-based resources as an integral
       part of their provision, and the ICT department is introducing a content-management system
       to encourage the development of resources on the intranet. Issues associated with pupils’
       access to these putative resources from outside the school and their use of their own laptops
       on the school network are being attended to.

5.35   An ICT strategy committee, chaired by the assistant head, has prepared an excellent ICT
       development plan which is currently under discussion. It includes plans to install data
       projectors in all rooms, to provide staff with laptops, and to make the whole site capable of
       wireless network support. The embedding of ICT in the curriculum cannot be secure in
       advance of the expanded provision that is envisaged.

5.36   The school’s underlying ICT systems are well managed and all ICT activity is ably
       supported by a professional team. Excellent co-operation between the ICT teaching and
       technical staff is a helpful feature.

5.37   The provision of non-ICT resources for learning is very good. General resources are very
       well used. All departments are well provided for: books are appropriate and in most cases
       up-to-date, and the supplies of equipment and materials required for practical work are very
       good. Most departments have good selections of CD- and DVD-based resources, although
       some of these are in need of updating. The specialist resources provided for music, drama,
       and PE are good.

5.38   Reprographic facilities are good. The materials that departments produce to support their
       teaching are often of high quality. The two minibuses are used to transport pupils to a large
       number of out-of-school activities.

5.39   The budget allocation system requires heads of department to submit requests and then
       discuss them with the bursar, assistant head and academic deputy. With the exception of
       ICT, it is usual for all justifiable requests to be met, and the system ensures that the
       allocation of funding to departments is well controlled and fair.

       Libraries
5.40   Library facilities offer good support for the curriculum and are effectively used. The main
       library contributes very effectively to pupils’ learning and recreational reading.

5.41   The main school library is centrally situated, spacious and attractive, with a welcoming
       atmosphere conducive to study. Its book stock is very far in excess of the number
       recommended by the School Library Association for a school of this size, and expenditure
       on new stock is similarly well above recommended levels. The collection of DVDs, CDs
       and videos is small but under development.

5.42   The fiction stock is extensive, and large collections are available in some subjects, such as
       art and English, but the stock is smaller in other areas, such as physics and modern foreign
       languages. Borrowing in some subject areas is widespread, classics being an example, but it
       is much lighter in the sciences and mathematics. Pupils make extensive use of journals and
       newspaper cuttings. The borrowing rate for fiction is very high.

5.43   The library is very well used during the day and after school by pupils of all ages. Its
       generous opening hours and the very good support provided by the library staff greatly
       enhance its usefulness as a learning centre. It is perceived by pupils as a vital resource.
       Individual pupils use the library sensibly for their private study and research, while class
Headington School                                                                                   15


       groups taken to the library to use both books and ICT resources for research projects are
       provided with helpful guidance specific to the subject by the library staff.

5.44   The library is very well managed. Library stock is carefully maintained and the librarian
       liaises closely with all heads of department regarding all areas of library use. The staff
       provide induction into library skills for new pupils and this is well received by them, as is
       the policy of consulting pupils about new stock. The approach to the culling of outdated
       stock is sensible.

5.45   A second library, also conveniently located and providing a very good atmosphere for study,
       now has the function of housing a heritage collection of books and is used mainly as a
       further study area for the sixth form.

5.46   The number of departmental libraries is relatively small, but some, for example in art,
       supplement the main library provision effectively.

       Premises and Accommodation
5.47   The buildings, accommodation and other facilities are good overall, with some excellent
       provision but a number of shortcomings. The buildings and grounds are well used and
       enable the curriculum to be taught effectively.

5.48   The attractive site, the 1920s main building, a fine example of its kind, and much sensitive
       and harmonious recent conversion and addition make a positive contribution to the pupils’
       educational experience.

5.49   The dining facilities in use at the time of the inspection were inadequate and, despite
       progress made since the last inspection, laboratory accommodation was not sufficient. A
       new dining hall opened very shortly after the inspection, and work commenced on the
       conversion of the former dining area into two further laboratories.

5.50   The main teaching areas are compactly grouped at one end of the site and are sufficient in
       both quality and quantity except where the expansion of pupil numbers in recent years has
       put pressure on departmental accommodation and caused overspill into non-specialist rooms,
       for example in geography and modern languages. The movement of teachers as well as
       classes between lessons is inefficient and contributes to unpunctuality. Much of the
       departmental accommodation is good and for some subjects, such as art and drama, it is
       excellent. Shortcomings identified in music, textiles and business studies are referred to in
       the relevant subject reports.

5.51   Standards of maintenance and décor are generally very good although poor in the sixth-form
       boarding house. The buildings are very well decorated with displays of pupils’ work,
       artwork, photographs of their expeditions and posters and pictures appropriate to
       departmental areas. Standards of cleanliness are high, and the absence of litter and graffiti is
       notable. The ambience of the school contributes to a feeling of pride and ownership
       amongst the pupils.

5.52   Facilities for games and PE are very good. The site includes ample playing fields with
       pitches for hockey and rounders, netball and tennis courts and athletics facilities. The
       swimming pool, sports hall and rowing training hut are excellent facilities. Construction of a
       floodlit all-weather pitch is planned. The netball and tennis courts need re-surfacing, but in
       all other respects the facilities have been maintained to a high standard.
Headington School                                                                                16


5.53   The school has a rolling programme of building development which has recently produced
       fine new buildings such as the theatre and the new art and design block, and includes plans
       for further development.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for premises and accommodation?

5.54   Yes.

       Links with Parents and the Community
5.55   Links with parents and the community are good. The school has developed an effective
       partnership with parents and worthwhile links with the community that enhance pupils’
       experience.

5.56   The provision of general information about the school is very good. Parents’ handbooks and
       options booklets are clear and attractive and contain all the relevant information. The
       newsletter is of professional quality and summarises events and activities of the previous
       term. The annual school magazine is lively and colourful, reporting on school events and
       including examples of pupils’ creative work. Parents are provided with copies of the school
       calendar and heads of year write to parents at regular intervals providing information and
       reminders about forthcoming events. Meetings for the parents of new pupils are held each
       May and September.

5.57   The provision of information about pupils’ progress is good. Two written reports on
       academic progress are provided each year. One of these contains full reports for every
       subject studied. The comments written by teachers on these reports are mostly of a very
       good standard: they are constructive in tone, detailed and offer helpful advice about how
       further progress might be achieved. The second report shows grades for effort and
       achievement, indicates targets for improvement, and includes a summary comment written
       by the form tutor. In addition to the two reports, parents receive the half-termly grades and
       are invited into school once a year to discuss their daughters’ academic progress.

5.58   A range of opportunities are available for parents to become involved in the life of the
       school. Friends of Headington School, an association of parents and others, raises funds for
       the school and also provides a useful mechanism for liaison on school matters. The Friend
       attached to each form in the school channels information and issues for discussion between
       the school and the association. Many parents come to the school to attend concerts, plays,
       sporting events and other functions. Parents of Year 11 pupils help by finding work
       shadowing placements for their daughters.

5.59   The school’s procedure for handling complaints meets the regulatory requirements and is
       adhered to in practice.

5.60   The response to the pre-inspection questionnaire from those parents who returned the form
       was positive: just over 80 per cent of the answers to the questions expressed satisfaction
       with the school’s provision, and a significant number of parents appended comments
       expressing general praise for the school and the education it provides. Concerns expressed
       by small minorities of parents about homework and sporting activities are referred to
       elsewhere in this report.

5.61   Links with the community are good. The school’s premises are regularly used to host
       cultural and sporting activities for the benefit of the public and the school alike. In
       particular, the theatre attracts very high quality theatre companies and cultural exhibitions
       which are easily accessible to pupils. Through the Sportsmark Gold Award, the PE
Headington School                                                                               17


       department is productively involved with community partnerships in hockey, netball and
       swimming, and a group of Year 12 pupils working towards the Community Sports Leader
       Award undertake the leadership of sporting activities in the community.

5.62   A few departments have established useful links with the local universities. The school is
       actively involved in the Oxfordshire Independent State School Partnership, working with
       four local maintained schools, one of which is a special school. About 50 pupils participate
       in the regular activity days spread through the year. Further opportunities for community
       service arise in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Links with a nearby boys’ school
       result in collaboration in CCF activities and in the touring drama company. World
       Challenge is well established, and a group of older pupils is currently preparing to go to
       Africa.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the provision of information?

5.63   Yes.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the manner in which complaints are
       to be handled?

5.64   Yes.
Headington School                                                                                   18



6.     PUPILS’ PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PASTORAL CARE
       Pupils’ Personal Development
6.1    Provision for pupils’ personal development is good. Plentiful opportunities are provided for
       the acquisition of knowledge and insight into values and beliefs, for the development of a
       moral code, for cultural appreciation and for the growth of social awareness. However, the
       development of a programme of formal PSHE is incomplete.

6.2    Of the parents who returned the pre-inspection questionnaire, a high proportion (almost 90
       per cent) considered that the school promotes worthwhile attitudes and values.

6.3    The school provides many good openings for the development of spiritual qualities through,
       for instance, art, music, drama, dance and the study of literature. Opportunities for the
       development of spirituality in a specifically religious sense are provided by the messages of
       assemblies, by religious studies lessons that pay substantial attention both to Christianity and
       to the major non-Christian religions, by confirmation classes, by boarders’ attendance at
       Sunday worship, by the Christian Union and by the dedicated space for quietness or prayer
       that exists in the chapel. The recent appointment of a lay chaplain underpins this whole
       aspect of the life of the school.

6.4    The overall education provided by the school makes a very good contribution to pupils’
       development of a moral code, to their learning to make responsible and reasoned judgements
       on moral and ethical issues and to their growth of self-knowledge. The code of conduct
       offers clear guidelines for the development of a moral code based on tolerance, respect and
       the consideration of others. This is strongly supported by the messages given out in classes,
       tutor groups and assemblies, and by the influence of staff, particularly those who have
       pastoral contact with pupils.

6.5    The PSHE programme is currently under development. Along with the religious studies
       syllabus, it provides clear support for pupils’ moral and ethical development on issues such
       as bullying, justice and discrimination, and covers the statutory requirements for education
       in citizenship. Furthermore, some good teaching of PSHE was observed in Year 7 classes
       and a Year 8 tutor period. An audit of the wider curriculum has also established where other
       subjects can contribute to moral and social education, though a system of monitoring this in
       practice and appropriate staff training have yet to be organised. However, coverage,
       particularly of more sensitive and personal issues is at present insufficiently comprehensive.
       For instance, no opportunity is provided for girls in the sixth form to discuss relationships,
       sexual behaviour and other personal issues in a manner appropriate to their age and
       experience of life. Nor do the incorporation of PSHE into English in Year 9, and its
       confinement to five half or whole days in Year 8 enhance the general perception of the
       subject or its consistent integration in the curriculum. The newly-appointed head of PSHE
       has made considerable advances in a short time, is clear about matters that require attention
       and is committed to producing a complete syllabus, to collecting a group of committed
       teachers and to arranging suitable training.

6.6    Opportunities for pupils to appreciate their own and others’ cultural traditions are good. Art,
       music, drama, textiles, and other subjects to a lesser extent, provide many openings which
       are enhanced by the wide range of academic and cultural visits, tours and exchanges that
       take place at home and abroad. Notable among these are a recent choir trip to the Rhineland
       and the forthcoming visit of the school touring drama company to Canada. The cultural
       diversity of the boarders is also strongly influential in the development of a wide
Headington School                                                                                   19


       understanding of others’ character and culture, as evidenced by the recent international
       evening, when many donned their national dress and laid on a selection of their local dishes.

6.7    Pupils’ social development is well catered for. Their whole-hearted involvement in the life
       of the school is inherent in its overall ethos, as is the stress on the importance of forming
       positive relationships. The school is also very effective in promoting the growth of
       confidence and self-reliance; this is seen particularly but by no means exclusively in
       boarding. Many opportunities are provided for taking responsibility for self and for others.
       These include participation in sports teams, the Young Enterprise Scheme, the Community
       Sports Leadership Award, the CCF and the school’s prefectorial system and also, at an
       individual level, membership of the befriending scheme or helping to run clubs and
       activities. The school places great emphasis on charitable undertakings, supporting a range
       of national and international causes such as a local centre for the homeless and centre for
       deprived children in Mongolia. The sums raised are substantial, reflecting the powerful
       educational influence of this work on the pupils.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the spiritual, moral, social and
       cultural development of pupils?

6.8    Yes.

       Pastoral Care, including Welfare and Health & Safety
6.9    The school’s provision for pastoral care is good and makes an effective contribution to the
       educational standards and personal growth achieved by the pupils. The pastoral system,
       involving form tutors, year heads and pastoral heads, provides a good standard of monitoring
       and care. Careers guidance is good, and the system of rewards and sanctions is effective.
       Provision and procedures to safeguard pupils’ welfare are well established.

6.10   The school’s system of pastoral care is effective and well documented. Academic
       monitoring is based on systems administered by the academic deputy. Form tutors, who are
       the first point of contact for academic or pastoral support and direction, provide a good
       standard of monitoring, guidance and care. The heads of year and the three pastoral heads
       provide effective management and support. However, time was not used profitably in some
       of the tutorial sessions observed, a matter which is not subject to regular monitoring.
       Relationships between staff and pupils at all levels are good, and pupils regard the staff as
       accessible and approachable. It is easy for pupils to contact the school counsellor, who
       works in consultation with the nursing staff and the wider pastoral team. The befriending
       scheme and prefectorial responsibilities for the support of younger pupils contribute
       significantly to the good relations between pupils of different ages.

6.11   The boarders experience a valuable extra dimension to their lives through the additional
       support and direction on offer in the houses, which at their best are able to replicate a family
       environment. The boarders are happy and spoke warmly of the support of the resident staff.

6.12   The careers provision is strong and provides good opportunities for pupils to learn about
       possible career options from an early stage. The careers resources room is well stocked and
       additional material is available in the main school library. Year 11 pupils appreciate the
       work shadowing scheme which uses parents and local contacts to provide placements.
       Advice about higher education is well covered and supported by meetings within the sixth
       form and by contributions from recent leavers.
Headington School                                                                                  20


6.13   The rewards and sanctions policy is successful in promoting good behaviour, placing the
       emphasis on positive responses to pupils’ behaviour whenever appropriate and dealing
       constructively with any poor behaviour that occurs. All aspects of behaviour policy
       emphasise responsibility on the part of pupils, encouraging them to understand their conduct
       in terms of its impact on others. The system of sanctions is clear and the anti-bullying policy
       sensitive. Both are understood by pupils and considered to be fair.

6.14   The school’s arrangements for pupils’ welfare and its health & safety procedures are good.
       Proper attention is paid to compliance with all the relevant legislation and current guidance.
       All staff are familiar with the recently redrafted child protection policy, which contains very
       clear information about approaches and procedures. The three pastoral heads and the head
       of boarding are designated child protection officers; liaison between the boarding staff,
       pastoral heads and heads of year is good, and its further development is under review. No
       outstanding concerns remain from the last boarding standards inspection in January 2003.

6.15   A suitable first-aid policy is contained within the staff handbook, setting out clearly the
       procedures to be followed in the event of illness or accident in school. The on-site medical
       centre provides care for both day and boarding pupils and is staffed for 24 hours a day in
       term time. The provision of information about pupils with allergies and other particular
       medical conditions is good.

6.16   School meals are popular with pupils. Lunches are varied and offer vegetarian options along
       with a salad bar.

6.17   The health & safety policy is comprehensive, and all staff are aware of their responsibilities
       in this area. The widely representative health & safety committee includes a governor in its
       membership and meets with suitable frequency; routine matters are dealt with efficiently
       under the overall direction of the bursar. The fire evacuation system is clear and simple.
       Drills are held regularly each term. An effective system of risk assessment has been
       established.

6.18   School visits are monitored carefully from a health & safety perspective and suitable records
       are kept. The procedure takes account of the current DfES advice concerning off-site visits.

6.19   An accessibility plan has been drawn up and provides the basis for development of the site to
       allow for disabled access in those areas where it is currently limited.

       Does the school meet the regulatory requirements for the welfare, health and safety of
       pupils?

6.20   The school meets almost all of the regulatory requirements.         In order to meet all the
       requirements, the school must:
         (a)   ensure the correction of entries in attendance registers in all cases where the absence
               of pupils from registration is subsequently found not to be unauthorised (see
               paragraph 4.14) [Regulation 3.(9)].

       Boarding Standards
6.21   No Commission for Social Care Inspection team took part in the inspection.
Headington School                                                                                21



7.     THE MANAGEMENT AND EFFICIENCY OF THE SCHOOL
       Governance and Management
7.1    The governance and management of the school are good. Effective management and strong
       support from the governing body ensure that the main aims of the school are met, that a good
       quality of education is provided, and that planning for further development is relevant and
       detailed.

7.2    The governing body, properly known as the Council, consists of men and women with a
       wide range of interests and expertise, who are committed to the support of the prep and
       senior schools. The governors visit the school regularly and informal contact between the
       headmistress and various members of Council occurs as required. Heads of department are
       invited to the annual meeting that reviews academic performance; this is a valuable point of
       contact between Council and the school. The Council’s committee structure works well in
       ensuring that all business is efficiently dealt with and properly controlled. Prudent
       management of financial resources has facilitated considerable improvement of the school’s
       facilities in recent years, and further development is planned.

7.3    The headmistress and Council share a vision of the school’s direction and ethos. They have
       established a sense of purpose in the school which is conducive to effective teaching and
       learning while also encouraging effort and achievement in wider areas of school life and the
       nurturing of the individual pupil.

7.4    The Council has delegated responsibility for budgeting, management and all day-to-day
       matters to the headmistress and the bursar. This arrangement is fully understood and works
       very well: it allows the headmistress flexibility, while Council monitors matters such as the
       deployment of resources at an appropriate level of detail.

7.5    Development planning is coherent and the system provides for early identification of
       priorities at all levels. The headmistress presents a strategic plan to the Council in the
       autumn term which in turn forms the basis of the school development plan to which
       departmental development plans are linked. Development planning and budgeting are
       strongly developed at departmental level and contribute to the well-established and effective
       whole-school budgeting process.

7.6    The headmistress provides strong leadership and has introduced a management structure
       which, though still evolving, has already demonstrated its effectiveness. Members of the
       capable strategic management team work closely to ensure that the running of the school is
       efficient and to plan for future events and developments. The team meets frequently and is
       joined by the bursar and the head of the prep school when appropriate. The recent addition
       of an assistant head with specific responsibility for ICT strategy and the newly appointed
       head of boarding have strengthened the team and widened its base. The roles of the strategic
       management team are well defined and they each (with the exception of the head of
       boarding) manage up to five heads of department, a system which works very well.

7.7    Good management, monitoring and planning are achieved at other levels of management, for
       example in the curriculum development team and pastoral care team. Heads of department
       have clearly defined responsibilities and manage their departments effectively; the newly
       introduced performance management scheme reinforces their role, although it has not yet
       been fully implemented in all departments.
Headington School                                                                             22


7.8    Communication within the school is efficient: staff briefings, meetings and email are used
       effectively.  The comprehensive, well-structured staff handbook provides valuable
       information on school policies and procedures. Communication with parents is good. The
       staff committee provides a formal channel of communication with the headmistress and
       chairman of Council which is clearly valued on all sides.
Headington School                                                                                  23



8.     ACHIEVEMENT AND QUALITY IN SUBJECTS AND
       ACTIVITIES
       Achievement and Quality in Subjects
       English

8.1    Pupils achieve good standards at each stage in the school.

8.2    Public examination results are good in relation to pupils’ abilities. During the last three
       years, GCSE results in English have been above the average for pupils in maintained
       selective schools, and results in English Literature have been slightly above the selective
       school average. A-level results have been well above the average for maintained selective
       schools, with an average grade mid-way between A and B.

8.3    Pupils’ attainment is good. All age groups know how to read a piece of text and analyse
       both its style and content, and their standard of writing is high, most notably in the essays
       written in Years 12 and 13. Even the younger pupils take notes effectively, as was seen in
       lessons with Years 7 and 9. Pupils successfully draw conclusions from any written piece
       studied, for example when a Year 7 class analysed the narrative structure of an
       advertisement, and a Year 12 set considered the implications of Jane Austen’s authorial
       viewpoint in Persuasion. Speaking and listening skills are at a high level.

8.4    Pupils make good progress. They often make rapid progress in mastering new concepts, as
       in a Year 9 lesson dealing with political rhetoric, in a Year 13 lesson evaluating alternative
       viewpoints in A Streetcar Named Desire, and in a Year 7 lesson on the detective genre.
       Good progress over time is partly the result of effective consolidation of pupils’ knowledge,
       as was seen in a wide range of lessons across the age range. Rapid learning was seen when
       pupils were presented with opportunities to talk and test their ideas on each other, but in a
       few lessons progress was less good when insufficient time for independent learning was
       allowed.

8.5    Pupils’ attitudes to learning are good and their behaviour is very good. They work
       purposefully as individuals and in groups, and they readily engage with the tasks prescribed.
       They are well motivated, and a good working atmosphere was established in all the lessons
       visited. Pupils across the age range respond well to their teachers, showing initiative and a
       keen interest in the subject matter. Pupils of all abilities ask perceptive questions, and they
       work effectively on their own and in groups.

8.6    The quality of teaching is very good. The teaching was good or very good in virtually all the
       lessons observed, and none was less than sound. Lessons are well planned and controlled.
       The teaching offers an intellectual challenge to pupils of all ages and abilities, and
       questioning of pupils is skilful. The activities chosen are invariably appropriate and are
       suitably adapted to the ability range, as seen for example in a Year 12 lesson on Forster.
       Teachers are very secure in their subject knowledge. Most of the lessons visited proceeded
       at a good pace, although a small number took a while to gather momentum. The department
       is beginning to develop the role of ICT in teaching, as seen in a Year 11 lesson on Heaney’s
       poetry. Pupils’ work is marked carefully, and the database in which grades are stored is used
       effectively to monitor progress.

8.7    Most lessons are taught in the department’s suite of bright, pleasant rooms which have a
       wide range of stimulating wall displays, as does the adjacent corridor.
Headington School                                                                                   24


8.8    Leadership and management are very good, demonstrating a high level of commitment. The
       approach is collaborative, with most members having responsibility for a particular aspect of
       the department’s work. Strong features of the department are the active relationship with the
       main library, the new pupil self-assessment scheme, and the range of extra-curricular
       involvement. However, the scheme of work provides insufficient detail and direction,
       especially for Years 10 to 13. This is an able, lively department, dedicated to the pupils and
       to the subject, with clear ideas in its development plan, a good stock and budget, and a very
       good spirit.

       Mathematics

8.9    Pupils achieve good standards at all ages.

8.10   Pupils’ attainment in public examinations is good in relation to their abilities. In the last
       three years GCSE results were above and A-level results slightly above the averages for
       maintained selective schools. Pupils who took A-level further mathematics achieved very
       good results.

8.11   Pupils’ attainment in mathematical communication, understanding and technical proficiency
       is good. A Year 7 class exhibited complete familiarity with mathematical vocabulary such
       as “numerator” and “estimate”, while a top Year 11 post-GCSE set were completely
       comfortable with “polynomial” and the notion of losing solutions by premature division or
       cancellation. The less able pupils acquire technique that is at least sound. Written work is
       well-presented and at all ages is of a high standard relative to pupils’ abilities.

8.12   Pupils make good progress during most lessons, during the year and over longer periods.
       Most cope well with problems of increasing difficulty and complexity, as was seen in a Year
       8 lesson where nearly all of a middle ability group overcame their difficulties with
       factorising simple expressions. Two Year 13 sets exhibited fluency with the techniques of
       parametric differentiation, some working with outstanding speed and accuracy. Progress is
       occasionally slower in lessons with a high level of teacher input and correspondingly little
       involvement of pupils.

8.13   The quality of learning and behaviour is very good. Pupils are attentive and interested, settle
       down to work well, often unbidden, take notes spontaneously and exhibit mature, relaxed
       and appropriate relationships with their teachers and with one another. Their readiness to
       learn facilitates their progress and they almost always make the most of the opportunities
       presented to them. Questions by pupils, however simple or obvious the answers, are heard
       with patience and tolerance by fellow pupils and teachers.

8.14   The quality of teaching is very good overall, though with significant variation. In three-
       quarters of the lessons visited, the teaching ranged from good to excellent, and it was of
       sound quality in the remainder. In a small numbers of lessons, the teaching prevents the
       pupils from participating sufficiently, and occasionally teachers underestimate the capacities
       of their classes and cover too little material, so that the lessons lack pace and intensity. The
       best teaching is clear, patient, authoritative, resourceful, varied and stimulating; it commands
       the attention of pupils and inculcates excellent learning and enthusiasm for the subject.
       Carefully targeted worksheets were used very successfully in most of the lessons seen, and
       very good use of ICT was noted on several occasions. The teachers have good knowledge of
       the subject. Their rapport with pupils is almost always exemplary, and the patience and
       consideration they show to those for whom mathematics is not a natural strength are very
       good.
Headington School                                                                                    25


8.15   The department’s marking and assessment policy is implemented inconsistently: all the
       marking is thorough, frequent and constructive but the work of some pupils is not graded in
       accordance with departmental guidelines, and in a very small proportion of the work
       scrutinised, where a pupil had been unable to complete a problem or answered it incorrectly,
       this had not been followed up. A very good system for the tracking of pupils’ progress has
       been established.

8.16   Arrangements for mathematics in the curriculum are very good: pupils’ needs are met at all
       ages and gifted pupils are allowed to move ahead of their peers. The extra teaching offered
       to gifted pupils who have earned places in national competitions is excellent. The timetable
       arrangement whereby a Year 13 class has a period of private study to allow the teacher to
       teach Year 7 is not satisfactory.

8.17   Textbooks and other printed materials are in plentiful supply, but the range of mathematical
       books in the main library is not sufficiently extensive or suitable for the ability and age range
       of the pupils. The stock of books in the department does not entirely compensate as a
       departmental library, so that opportunities for pupils to read about mathematics for
       recreation or research are limited.

8.18   All classrooms are light, airy and of good size. Posters and other illustrative materials are
       plentiful and of outstanding quality, directing pupils’ attention to mathematical ideas,
       displaying pupils’ work, and stimulating interest as well as raising the general tone of all
       teaching rooms. However, some lessons are taught in temporary demountable classrooms
       elsewhere on the site, necessitating the carrying of equipment across considerable distances,
       and the ambience of these rooms does not match the stimulating atmosphere in the main
       department. Mathematics clinics and the Pi Club provide both extension work and support
       as required.

8.19   The leadership and management of the department are very good, based on clear vision for
       the subject and plans for the maintenance and improvement of provision. The coherence,
       collegiality and single-mindedness exhibited by the department are excellent.

       Science

8.20   All Year 11 pupils are entered for double award GCSE science, in which their attainment is
       high in relation to their abilities. Results in the last three years have been well above the
       average for maintained selective schools, with almost 80 per cent of pupils achieving grade
       A* or A. Comment on A-level results will be found in the separate subject reports that
       follow.

8.21   Laboratory accommodation for all three sciences is insufficient. The main laboratories are
       well equipped, light and airy, but the smaller ones have restricted space and limited
       facilities. The teaching of some lessons in classrooms is a disadvantage in that these classes
       do not have access to laboratory resources. Following the imminent opening of its new
       dining hall, the school plans to redevelop the present dining area to provide additional
       laboratory accommodation.

8.22   The experienced technical staff provide good support for the teaching of all three subjects
       and for the use of ICT in lessons. Proper regard is paid to all aspects of health & safety in
       laboratory work; several staff are qualified first-aiders.

8.23   Leadership, management and co-ordination within the science department are good. The
       heads of the three subjects meet regularly to share their objectives and discuss matters of
       mutual concern. The science department does not have an overall development plan, but
Headington School                                                                                   26


       planning is well advanced for all three subjects. Meetings of all science teachers are held
       occasionally, but their effectiveness is sometimes restricted by the large size of the group. In
       one such meeting, however, good practice was observed in the moderation of GCSE
       coursework across the three subjects. Strong informal links exist between the three
       departments and the proximity of working areas helps to ensure sound day-to-day
       communication and organisation.

       Integrated Science

8.24   An integrated science course is taught in Year 7, the three subjects being taught separately
       thereafter.

8.25   Two Year 7 science lessons were observed. Pupils showed good understanding and
       knowledge of recent work and their practical skills were good, for example in an experiment
       requiring the connection of electrical circuits. The substantial quantity of work in pupils’
       books included good examples of detailed experimental accounts, accurate problem-solving
       and fluently written descriptions of scientific phenomena, and is indicative of good progress
       during the year. The quality of learning was very good. Pupils were actively engaged in the
       lessons, working purposefully at the tasks set and sustaining concentration over long periods.
       They contributed confidently, and asked challenging questions. They shared their ideas and
       speculated intelligently on the outcomes of their experiments. The quality of the teaching
       was good. Lessons were well planned and learning objectives were explained to the pupils
       at the start. Activities were well chosen in relation to pupils’ age and abilities, and the
       course content is well balanced and documented.

8.26   The Year 7 science course is taught for two double periods per week. It is not ideal that two
       of the groups have their lessons split between two teachers. Even less satisfactory is the
       timetabling for one class of all four of its science periods on the same day. This is the first
       year in which the course has been taught, so as yet there has been little opportunity for its
       evaluation.

       Biology

8.27   Pupils achieve good standards at all stages.

8.28   Biology is among the most popular of the subjects available in the sixth form. A-level
       results are good in relation to pupils’ abilities, having been above the average for maintained
       selective schools during the last three years.

8.29   Pupils` attainment is good in Years 10 to 13 and very good in Years 8 and 9. They learn
       factual material well and deploy their prior knowledge effectively. For example, Year 10
       pupils used their knowledge of the circulation system to propose and test a hypothesis
       relating to their pulse rate under different conditions, and Year 9 pupils knew enough about
       the heart to explain how oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood are kept separate. Numerical
       work is tackled competently. Oral contributions to lessons are good, with accurate use of
       technical vocabulary.

8.30   Pupils make good progress. Their comprehension develops well, and rapid progress was
       seen in several lessons in which new topics were introduced. For example, Year 12 pupils
       developed a sophisticated understanding of the factors causing long and short sight and the
       problems arising from the effect of age on sight. Pupils acquire good practical skills and
       learn to interpret results intelligently. The range and quality of their written work is
       indicative of good progress maintained over time.
Headington School                                                                                     27


8.31   The quality of pupils’ learning and behaviour is good. Pupils are well motivated, show
       interest in the subject and are willing to offer answers and ideas. They respond well to the
       different approaches to learning presented to them. Year 8 pupils, for example, showed
       particular interest in the effect of tobacco and took part in a lively discussion, using a topic
       workbook to consolidate their learning. In a Year 12 lesson pupils were willing to venture
       their own ideas when answering questions on antibiotics. Pupils work productively on their
       own and collaborate effectively in group assignments. Practical work is carried out
       efficiently with due regard to safety procedures.

8.32   The quality of teaching is good overall. The teaching was good or very good in nearly all of
       the lessons visited and sound in the remainder. The teachers are very secure in their
       knowledge. Lessons are well planned, maintain a good pace and cater effectively for the
       ability range. A wide range of teaching techniques is deployed and well-chosen activities,
       supported by good resources, provide interest as well as challenge. Expectations of pupils’
       progress and learning are high, as was clear from the level at which class questioning was
       pitched. ICT is often used to good effect as a teaching aid, while the use of other resources
       is sometimes imaginative, as when music was used to provide relaxation in a lesson on pulse
       rate.

8.33   The use of standard tests is helpful in the monitoring of pupils’ progress. The marking of
       pupils’ work is regular and thorough and includes suggestions for improvement.

8.34   Displays of pupils’ work and recent scientific articles contribute significantly to a pleasant
       learning environment. The provision of apparatus and materials is ample, and the use of
       computers and data projectors is expanding. A wide range of literature is available in the
       library covering all aspects of the biology syllabus and the biological world in general.

8.35   The department is well managed, and led with enthusiasm. The handbook and schemes of
       work are helpful and a well-considered development plan has been agreed. Weekly meetings
       are used productively for monitoring progress and teaching programmes and for planning.
       The head of department monitors teaching as part of the appraisal process. Good use is
       made of subject-related training opportunities.

       Chemistry

8.36   Pupils achieve good standards at all stages.

8.37   Pupils’ attainment at A level is good in relation to their abilities. During the last three years,
       results have been well above the average for maintained selective schools, with an average
       grade mid-way between A and B. Chemistry is a very popular A-level choice and the re-
       introduction of Salters Chemistry has given the pupils a choice between the traditional A
       level and a more widely based course.

8.38   Pupils’ attainment is good at all age levels. A particular strength is their knowledge of
       terminology which they use accurately in oral and written work. Good examples were
       observed in a Year 8 lesson on elements and compounds and a Year 10 organic chemistry
       lesson. Pupils’ knowledge of basic principles is good and they are able to use their
       knowledge in proposing solutions to unfamiliar problems. Experimental data is well
       presented, often using ICT, and a good standard of numeracy is apparent in written work.

8.39   Pupils make good progress throughout the school. Their understanding develops well as
       they build on their previous knowledge. For example, Year 11 pupils were able to quickly
       understand the process of polymerisation by joining together models of the monomers
       involved. A Year 12 group quickly grasped the rules for naming halogenalkanes and were
Headington School                                                                                   28


       able to draw out and name more complex examples unaided. In a very small number of
       lessons pupils’ prior knowledge was not fully taken into account, and progress was slow.
       Good progress is made in written work.

8.40   The quality of pupils’ learning and behaviour is good. Most pupils are well motivated, show
       interest in the subject, are responsive to questioning and willing to venture their own ideas.
       They are co-operative and respond well to the variety of learning methods offered to them.
       Pupils in Years 8 and 9 are particularly enthusiastic in class. By contrast, pupils in a small
       number of classes at other ages were relatively unresponsive and in Year 11 occasional
       lapses of behaviour in the lower teaching sets caused interference with the learning of other
       class members. Pupils concentrate well when working individually and they co-operate
       sensibly during pair or group work.

8.41   The teaching is of sound quality overall. In about half of the lessons visited the teaching was
       good or very good, and it was sound in most of the remainder. However, a small proportion
       of the teaching seen was unsatisfactory, principally by virtue of slow pace and because
       pupils’ prior knowledge was not taken into account. Lessons are thoroughly planned, and
       include a good range of activities. In most lessons, the expectations of the teachers and the
       material and methods selected are suitable for the ability range. Pupils are encouraged to
       think for themselves about practical and visual problems, patterns, the application of
       principles and the evaluation of data. Topics such as pollution extend their moral and social
       awareness. All teachers have good subject knowledge and in most cases they make good use
       of time and resources, and manage classes effectively. Good use of the library was seen
       when a GCSE group researched an organic chemistry topic.

8.42   Pupils’ work is marked regularly and helpfully annotated. The whole-school marking policy
       is used in all year groups. The weekly grades for the sixth form relating to their performance
       in all aspects of their work are a good feature. Written reports are constructive and include
       suggestions for improvement.

8.43   Displays in the laboratories are bright and colourful. Data projectors and computers are used
       with increasing frequency and good effect. The main library provides a good variety of
       chemistry textbooks and is well stocked with books and magazines of general scientific
       interest.

8.44   Leadership is enthusiastic, and effective management ensures that the department runs
       smoothly. Good support and guidance are provided for both teaching and technical staff.
       The extensive departmental handbook provides much useful guidance and detailed schemes
       of work. Monitoring and planning issues invariably appear on the agendas of the regular
       meetings, and teaching staff are encouraged to attend subject-specific training.

       Physics

8.45   Pupils achieve standards that are at least satisfactory at all ages; standards improve in Years
       10 – 13.

8.46   Performance at A-level is good in relation to pupils’ abilities. Results in the last three years
       have been well above the average for maintained selective schools, all but two of the 30
       candidates having achieved grade A or B.

8.47   Pupils’ attainment is satisfactory in Years 8 and 9 and good in Years 10 to 13. In the older
       groups, pupils’ knowledge and understanding are sound, and they are mostly able to produce
       accurate oral and written answers to questions and explain scientific phenomena with
       reference to everyday applications. The relevant mathematical skills are correspondingly
Headington School                                                                                  29


       well developed so that, for example, when analysing the results of an experiment to measure
       resistance, Year 10 pupils were able to explain clearly and precisely the meaning of a
       directly proportional relationship. Pupils’ written work reflects their ability to understand
       concepts, but descriptions often lack detail.

8.48   Progress is at least sound at all age levels. Good progress is made in preparation for GCSE
       and A level. Pupils cope successfully with increasingly demanding tasks as they develop
       their knowledge, understanding and skills, and are often able to build on their previous
       experience. In a Year 11 lesson, pupils made rapid progress in their understanding of the
       universe and were able to formulate explanations for its expansion. Pupils’ written work is
       indicative of the good progress they make in problem solving and in consolidating their
       knowledge with the aid of revision questions. Very occasionally, progress in lessons is
       restricted when tasks are insufficiently demanding.

8.49   The quality of learning is sound overall and sometimes good. Younger pupils are
       occasionally slow to settle and a few find difficulty in sustaining concentration. Most
       pupils, though, are attentive and interested and maintain high levels of concentration. Their
       collaboration in shared activities is good. In Year 9, they collaborated well and supported
       each other in designing experiments. Pupils are usually keen to answer questions, but some
       groups are more passive, relying excessively on the teacher.

8.50   The teaching is of sound quality overall. The teaching was good in roughly half the lessons
       observed and sound in most of the remainder. A very small proportion of the teaching was
       unsatisfactory: the pace was too slow and the tasks relatively undemanding. In the best
       lessons, secure subject knowledge, good classroom management, effective use of resources
       and careful selection of activities in relation to the ability range contribute to a productive
       experience for the pupils. A good range of practical work is included in the courses, and
       opportunities for the class as a whole to evaluate experimental results help to reinforce the
       findings. Few examples of the use of ICT in the teaching were seen, but in a Year 11 lesson
       a computerised animation considerably aided an explanation of the Doppler effect. Special
       help for pupils having English as an additional language is given when needed.

8.51   Marking of pupils’ work is generally thorough and accurate. Mistakes are corrected, but the
       system for grading of work is not consistently applied, and similar inconsistency exists in the
       annotation of work to indicate the progress made and how performance might be improved.

8.52   Attractive displays in the laboratories contribute significantly to the learning environment.
       The department is well resourced, and a computerised inventory is under development.
       Computers are available in laboratories for demonstrations by teachers and for pupils’ use in
       individual A-level experimental work.

8.53   Leadership is good, and management is developing favourably. The current handbook and
       schemes of work are comprehensive and helpful. Mutual support within the department is
       good. Meetings are used productively: their agendas include discussion of teaching
       strategies, the sharing of good practice and the development of ICT usage. However, the use
       of in-service training in the further development of the department has yet to be established.

       Art (including Art History and Photography)

8.54   In art, pupils achieve high standards in Years 7 and 8, rising progressively to an excellent
       standard in Years 11–13. Standards in photography are good and in art history are
       satisfactory. These subjects are taught only in the sixth form.
Headington School                                                                                  30


8.55   Results in public examinations are good in relation to pupils’ abilities. During the last three
       years, GCSE art results have been above the average for pupils in maintained selective
       schools, with almost three-quarters of the candidates reaching grade A* or A. In the same
       period, A-level art results have also been above the maintained selective school average,
       with 18 of the 22 candidates achieving grade A or B. National comparisons of results in
       photography and art history are not available. All 12 of the pupils who took photography in
       the last three years achieved grade A or B, but the results of the small number of candidates
       in history of art were a little way below the overall school average.

8.56   Attainment as seen in art lessons and in the pupils’ work is high at all stages. Pupils use a
       variety of media successfully in two or three dimensions, and their work is often highly
       original and sophisticated. For example, Year 8 pupils working on tonal drawings of the
       human head understood and were able to describe the principles of “chiaroscuro” and to
       relate their drawings to Caravaggio and Rembrandt. In the sixth form, lively, dynamic,
       colourful paintings are highly individual in style, form and content; characterised by
       sophisticated thought processes and by painterly and inventive skills. Each year a number of
       pupils go on to further training and careers in art and architecture.

8.57   Progress in art is rapid at all age levels. Workbooks are introduced in Year 7, and the
       tradition of exciting, experimental and well-kept sketch books encourages an aspiring
       attitude among pupils as well as healthy competition between them. The open layout of the
       building, the mix of older and younger pupils and the excellent work on display also
       contribute to the progress made.

8.58   The quality of learning and behaviour in art lessons is very good. Pupils are sensitive, co-
       operative and keen to learn. A good working ethos prevails, with pupils working sensibly
       and purposefully on their individual projects. Pupils enjoy art, and respond fully to the
       challenges presented to them. Relationships between pupils and teachers are mutually
       respectful.

8.59   The quality of art teaching is very good at every stage and especially so in the sixth form.
       The highly committed staff work particularly well as a team, communicating their expertise
       and their enthusiasm successfully to their pupils. Lessons are well paced and have a sense of
       purpose and direction that is clear to the pupils. The projects undertaken are suitable for the
       abilities and prior experience of the classes. Explanations are clear, demonstrations are
       helpful, and the monitoring of pupils’ individual work in class is supportive and
       encouraging.

8.60   Marking, assessment and recording follow a well-structured and thorough departmental
       policy. Constructive and helpful comment sheets for every project are pasted into the back
       of pupils’ work books and are extremely effective in promoting attainment.

8.61   In photography, the technical and aesthetic quality of prints is very good, and pupils make
       very good progress. However, the work lacks the variety and experimental approach seen in
       art. The teaching is good, but traditional black-and-white printing and processing
       predominates at the expense of colour, or experimentation with processes old or new.

8.62   The teaching of art history is good; the approach is scholarly and enthusiastic. However, the
       use of a conventional slide projector necessitates frequent switching on and off of lights
       during lectures. In one of the lessons, it was not clearly established that pupils from
       overseas understood the specialist language, Christian iconography or liturgical references in
       the study of Renaissance art. In general, pupils listen carefully and make useful oral
       contributions, reflecting their growing knowledge of a wide range of subject matter.
Headington School                                                                                    31


8.63   The curriculum in art is wide ranging, but the timetable arrangements are not ideal,
       particularly in Years 10 – 13. The allocation of only three lessons per week for GCSE is
       barely sufficient, and the timetabling of single periods for GCSE and sixth-form classes is a
       significant drawback. Pupils’ considerable achievements and their progress in preparing for
       art examinations rely to a considerable extent on the willingness of pupils and staff to devote
       extra-curricular time to the work. Technical support is helpful, but its extent is not sufficient
       in relation to the department’s activities.

8.64   Computers, scanners, printers and digital cameras are used, but the department has yet to
       realise the full potential of ICT as a creative medium for both art and photography and as a
       presentational aid in art history. The computers are insufficient in number and they lack the
       power needed for sophisticated manipulation of imagery or to fulfil the potential to develop
       graphics, photo screen printing, animation and film making. In other respects, resources are
       very good, and the budget is adequate. Good collections of art books are available in the
       school library and in the department. The teaching accommodation is of imaginative design
       and provides a very good working environment. Highly effective use is made of the space
       available for the display of pupils’ work. Striking and colourful art displays are mounted
       elsewhere, for example in the theatre, but in general relatively little of pupils’ art is
       displayed around the school and in the boarding houses.

8.65   The department is well led and managed. The staff work as a happy, mutually respectful, co-
       operative and committed team. They meet regularly to discuss teaching strategies and to
       standardise marking. Much sharing of approaches and styles occurs naturally as a result of
       the open-plan design of the teaching space, and a library of exemplar material from past
       pupils is being built up for further reference. Monitoring by the head of department within
       the new staff appraisal scheme is under way. Documentation is comprehensive.

       History and Politics

8.66   Pupils achieve good standards at all ages.

8.67   Results in public examinations are good in relation to pupils’ abilities. GCSE results in the
       last three years have been above the average for pupils in maintained selective schools, with
       almost 80 per cent of candidates achieving grade A* or A. During the same period, A-level
       results in history have been well above the average for maintained selective schools, the
       average grade being mid-way between A and B. In A-level politics the results have been
       well above the national average for the subject.

8.68   Pupils’ attainment in lessons and written work is good throughout the ability and age ranges.
       They have good knowledge and understanding of the subjects. For example, a Year 10 class
       discussing the background to the Cold War had a secure knowledge of the differences
       between communism and capitalism and could explain the subtle difference between the
       systems in theory and in practice. Pupils are both confident and articulate in class
       discussions and work successfully with source material. Written work is nearly all neatly
       presented and well organised. In both history and politics, sixth-form pupils can develop and
       sustain arguments drawing on complex themes and using a range of different information.

8.69   Pupils make good progress in lessons, and their written work reflects the good progress they
       make over longer periods of time. The skills necessary for historical study develop well, as
       does the depth of pupils’ understanding. For example, a Year 13 politics class sustained a
       lengthy and perceptive discussion on the complex issue of the separation of powers in the
       US political system. A new element of the Year 9 curriculum has been introduced on the
       important theme “blacks in America” and it has proved popular and stimulating: good wall
Headington School                                                                                 32


       displays in two classrooms show the sensitive poetry and slave diaries produced by pupils
       studying this material.

8.70   The quality of learning is good. Pupils are competent learners who respond positively in
       lessons. They are well motivated and co-operative, show wide interest in discussions and
       apply themselves quickly and effectively to their work. They are able to sustain
       concentration and work well both independently and in groups. They are happy to ask
       questions both to seek additional clarification of tasks and to extend their understanding of
       concepts.

8.71   The quality of teaching is good. Teaching styles are appropriate to the ages and abilities of
       the pupils and lessons are well paced. The approaches adopted allow pupils opportunities to
       work independently, in pairs and in groups. Class discussions are productive and well led.
       Relationships with pupils are good at every level, a factor which, together with the teachers’
       enthusiasm, contributes greatly to pupils’ enjoyment and achievement in the subjects.
       Teachers’ subject knowledge is very good. Good use of humour lightens material that might
       otherwise appear initially daunting. This was evident in a Year 11 class, when pupils could
       readily identify the class perspective and humour in contemporary source cartoons from the
       General Strike of 1926.

8.72   Work is marked effectively with helpful advice on how to improve, though comment on the
       work of some of the pupils studying politics was relatively superficial. Reports to parents
       are clear and helpful.

8.73   Resources are very good. Textbooks are suitable and up-to-date, and the school library is
       well stocked with sixth-form extension material. Most teaching takes place in the modern,
       well-equipped classrooms allocated to the subject. Audio-visual facilities are ample. Good
       examples of pupils’ work are attractively displayed in each room. A small staff base shared
       with another department is conveniently located next to the classrooms.

8.74   A good selection of trips supports the curriculum at each level: a particular success was the
       recent trip to Madrid for the sixth form.

8.75   The leadership and management of the department are good. Unusually, the role is shared
       between two colleagues: one taking responsibility for pre-GCSE history and the history A
       level and the other co-ordinating politics and GCSE history. This division works well and
       stimulates cross-fertilisation of ideas. Documentation is clear and where appropriate takes
       account of whole school policies. Planning priorities are in line with the school
       development plan.

       Modern Foreign Languages

8.76   Pupils achieve good standards, especially in the sixth form.

8.77   Public examination results are good in relation to pupils’ abilities. In the last three years,
       GCSE results in all three languages have been in line with the averages for pupils in
       maintained selective schools, and A-level results have been above the averages for
       maintained selective schools.

8.78   Attainment as seen in lessons is almost always at least sound, with many pupils performing
       well for their ability, especially when they are suitably challenged. For example, some very
       good written work on the French perfect tense was seen in a middle ability Year 8 class. In
       Years 10 and 11 the difference between the attainment of higher and lower ability sets is
       marked, and some of the less able pupils know, understand and can do rather less than might
Headington School                                                                                 33


       be expected. Most pupils communicate competently in the foreign language, and the oral
       work of sixth-form pupils in particular is very good, allowing them to express complex ideas
       in response to literary texts and on social issues: for example, a Year 12 German group,
       discussing healthy lifestyles, produced some very well-constructed sentences and a good use
       of idiom. However, pronunciation is often less accurate among younger pupils than it should
       be. Written work in Years 7 - 10 is often unhelpfully organised and untidy, an issue
       highlighted in the school’s last inspection report, but the work of older pupils is markedly
       better in its organisation.

8.79   Progress in lessons is always at least sound in Years 7–11 and is good in the sixth form. In
       some lessons, progress was limited by the lack of opportunity to practise independently the
       new skills or knowledge that pupils were expected to acquire. Younger pupils follow
       explanations of new points well but often prefer to use language previously acquired rather
       than new material. Conversely, in a Year 8 lesson introducing the perfect tense, a number of
       pupils were able to form their own sentences rapidly. Sixth-form pupils employ new
       language and exploit new ideas efficiently. Pupils’ knowledge increases satisfactorily over
       time, although some pupils struggle to retain language covered in earlier years. For example,
       a lower ability Year 10 French set was still insecure in knowledge of regular present tense
       formations and could not recall basic vocabulary. In contrast, a mixed ability Year 10
       German group achieved a thorough grasp of the rules for formation of the comparative and
       superlative during a single lesson.

8.80   The quality of learning is good overall. It is slightly better in German than in the other
       languages, and at its best in the sixth form. Most pupils are eager to learn, and many display
       a lively approach to language learning, showing interest in the work and applying themselves
       conscientiously to the set tasks, especially when they are given the opportunity to work
       individually or in pairs. Some pupils, though, do not concentrate fully when the pace of the
       lesson slows. Pupils are nearly always co-operative, interacting well with the teacher and
       offering one another support. Relationships between pupils and teachers are good, if a little
       casual at times.

8.81   The teaching in many lessons is good, or contains some good elements. The overall quality
       is sound, and very little unsatisfactory teaching was seen. The most effective teaching was
       observed in sixth-form lessons. The teachers are conscientious and thorough, planning
       lessons in detail and providing clear explanations of grammatical points and other new
       material. In general they display a good knowledge of their subjects and employ the target
       languages rigorously. Good use of audio-visual aids is made in some lessons. Teaching in
       Years 7-11 is very largely whole-class based and teacher led. Speaking practice is often
       limited, and little use is made of more open-ended tasks and group work. The slow pace of
       some lessons limits the time available for pupils to consolidate their learning independently.
       Good use of the facilities was observed in lessons conducted in ICT rooms: the lessons were
       appropriately challenging, offered pupils good opportunities for productive independent
       learning, and catered well for the extremes of the ability range.

8.82   Marking of written work in Years 7-11 varies in frequency and quality and contains few
       comments that will help pupils to improve their performance. In the sixth form, marking is
       better and a consistent standard has been achieved.

8.83   Resources, though dated in some respects, are sufficient, and a start has been made on the
       acquisition of modern textbooks and ICT materials. The department’s classroom
       accommodation is satisfactory and is enhanced by fresh, colourful displays, although the fact
       that not all lessons can be accommodated in the suite is a cause of some inconvenience to
       staff when they have to move between lessons.
Headington School                                                                                  34


8.84   The leadership of the department is clear-sighted and demonstrates a strong commitment to
       the department’s improvement. Management is developing well. A number of important
       issues have already been tackled, including the need to update resources and to examine
       aspects of teaching and learning so as to extend good practice and share experience.

       Music

8.85   Pupils achieve high standards in music. Standards of performance and composition are
       particularly high, especially since the school is in no sense a specialist music school.

8.86   Pupils’ attainment at A level and in GCSE in the past three years has been good in relation to
       their abilities. Results at both levels have been above the averages for maintained selective
       schools. Pupils have also achieved many good results in recent grade examinations of the
       Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and won 11 classes at the 2005 Oxford
       Music Festival.

8.87   Pupils’ attainment observed in class, or listened to in recorded format, is high. An
       established tradition that encourages creativity alongside musicality and sensitivity lays
       foundations in the early years that lead, for instance, to the composition, in Year 10, of “pop
       songs” of originality and feeling for the genre. Subsequently, in Years 12 and 13,
       composition of romantic miniatures or music for “films” displays considerable imagination,
       technical competence and sophistication.

8.88   Pupils’ progress is most often rapid, and never less than good. This is true both in general
       class music where Year 8 pupils gained a swift command of the chord structures of twelve-
       bar blues, and in examination classes where great advances over time were evident in the
       grasp pupils had of harmonic structures and the use of the ICT for composition and
       arrangement.

8.89   The quality of learning and of behaviour is very good. Almost all pupils are most attentive,
       contributing to lessons with ready enthusiasm. Particularly when involved with harmony or
       composition they show the high level of detailed concentration that is essential for the
       successful completion of these exercises.

8.90   The quality of teaching is very good. Teachers have excellent knowledge of their subject,
       plan lessons carefully and, particularly in non-examination lessons, incorporate a good range
       of varied activity. They challenge the most able fully, while caring sympathetically for the
       needs of those who have more difficulties and appreciating the importance of catching the
       interest of junior classes. In one notable Year 7 lesson, those who played instruments
       demonstrated to the class alongside the teacher who introduced the “brass family” with a
       range of instruments and props that included plastic hosepipe and a kitchen funnel.

8.91   The department, especially when many of its 22 visiting teachers are in attendance, is busy
       to the point of saturation. This necessitates the use of some inconvenient or unsuitable
       rooms. In other respects resources are good.

8.92   The 15 extra-curricular groups, ranging from the percussion band and the saxophone group
       to the orchestra and the chamber choir often achieve high standards in relation to the ability
       of their members. They greatly enhance the level of achievement and the musical experience
       of specialists and non-specialists alike. Further enhancement is provided by master classes,
       by choir trips to sing in cathedrals at home and abroad and by a wide involvement in local
       music festivals and local or national youth choirs and orchestras.
Headington School                                                                                      35


8.93   The quality of the leadership and management of the department is very good. The generally
       high level of performance and the co-operative involvement of many of the visiting teachers
       are indicative of leadership that unites, challenges and inspires. The detailed day to day
       organisation of a highly complex department and the efficiency with which the very many
       activities are synchronised reflect effective management (recently aided by the appointment
       of a part-time assistant), outstanding dedication and a willingness to work extremely hard.

8.94   This is an excellent department that contributes hugely to the life and ethos of the school and
       is deservedly a source of genuine pride.

       Physical Education (PE)

8.95   Pupils of all ages attain high standards. PE is not yet a public examination option, but pupils
       perform very well in examinations and awards in life saving and athletics. Rowing, netball,
       hockey, tennis and athletics teams are very successful at all ages in fixtures against local
       schools and in county, regional and national competitions. Several pupils are involved in
       representative teams at these higher levels.

8.96   In lessons, pupils at all stages attain high standards in relation to their aptitude. Skills are of
       a very high standard in swimming in Years 7-9 and trampolining from Year 10. By Year 11,
       pupils develop very good skills and understanding in games activities and apply rules and
       tactics to situations that arise. In Years 7–9, pupils perform gymnastic and dance sequences
       with confidence and flair. Year 12 pupils demonstrated very good leadership skills in work
       related to the Community Sports Leader Award.

8.97   Progress in the development of skills in the wide range of activities provided is rapid. From
       Year 7 pupils develop a good understanding of how to warm up, and pupils show increasing
       awareness and understanding of a healthy lifestyle and safe practices as they move up the
       school. They use previous learning to solve new problems and can evaluate their progress
       during or at the end of the lesson. For example, Year 7 pupils were able to assess their skills
       of dribbling and passing at the end of a hockey lesson. Sixth-form pupils are confident in
       structuring and performing their own fitness programmes.

8.98   The quality of learning is very good throughout the school. Pupils are highly motivated and
       they work confidently. They work well together in pairs, larger groups and teams. They are
       suitably competitive in games lessons yet are supportive of each other. Pupils take full
       advantage of the plentiful opportunities for independent learning in the activities provided.
       They willingly learn and practise different roles, for example as performer, coach,
       choreographer or umpire. Pupils’ behaviour and relationships between pupils and staff are
       excellent.

8.99   The overall quality of teaching is very good. The teaching was good or very good in almost
       all of the lessons observed, and none was less than sound. Every pupil is fully integrated
       into the lessons and all are afforded equal opportunity to be involved. The knowledge and
       expertise of the teachers are very good, and questions are used skilfully to enhance pupils
       understanding of the activities. Demonstrations of techniques are well presented. Resources
       are used very well and often imaginatively, for example in gymnastics. Most lessons offer
       good variety, challenge, and pace, and benefit from the enthusiastic approach of the teachers.

8.100 Assessment is used to good effect to inform the teaching. Grades for ability and effort are
      awarded after each module of activity and these are recorded on the pupils’ reports and on
      the department’s database. Colours are awarded for commitment and effort in the school
      teams. The time allocation for the subject is appropriate, although single periods on this
Headington School                                                                                   36


        large site are inconveniently short for most activities. Occasionally, groups in Years 10 and
        11 and in the sixth form have limited access to facilities because of timetabling constraints.
        Uneven group sizes resulting from the timetabling of PE within the GCSE and A-level
        option blocks result in a degree of inequality of experience in some PE lessons.

8.101 Resources are excellent, including a large variety of balls, cones, small equipment and
      gymnastic apparatus. The indoor pool, sports hall, fitness suite and rowing training hut are
      excellent facilities. It is intended to construct a floodlit all-weather hockey pitch to replace
      the existing grass pitches which sometimes cannot be used in poor weather.

8.102 The department is very well led and is managed effectively and efficiently. All the staff are
      highly committed to the school and to their work. Both short- and long-term planning reflect
      the schools’ ethos and aims. Communication both within the department and with other
      management tiers is good. Health and safety policies and procedures are very good.

8.103 Numerous opportunities exist for pupils of all abilities to practise or participate in activities
      in their free time. A good balance between sporting excellence and sport for all has been
      achieved. Activities are offered at lunchtime, after school and at weekends. The extra-
      curricular programme of PE and games is a significant strength of the school and its high
      quality is reflected in the school’s successful application for the Sportsmark Gold Award.
      The department has developed partnerships with the local community in swimming, netball
      and hockey.

        Short Subject Reports

        Short subject reports contain concise evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning and
        of provision in the school.

        Business Studies

8.104 Business studies is taught in the sixth form. Three lessons were observed, samples of pupils’
      work were scrutinised, and a discussion held with the head of department.

8.105 The teaching was good, with effective planning and organisation, continuous and efficient
      assessment of homework and class exercises. The lessons were interesting and stimulating.
      For example, a Year 12 lesson included a lively role play with girls playing the parts of
      management, workers, local residents and environmentalists during a lesson on social
      responsibility and business ethics. The information presented from a range of sources was
      up-to-date, relevant and accurate, and pupils were encouraged to access topical information
      for themselves, from a variety of sources including the internet and the school library. Good
      use was made of the computer and data projector in the subject’s own classroom.

8.106 The quality of learning was good. The atmosphere in lessons was friendly, good-humoured
      and purposeful. Pupils were attentive when listening to the teachers and each other, and
      joined readily in discussions, for example when analysing problems and learning to
      distinguish between fact and opinion and to assess information gleaned from a number of
      sources. It was apparent from their files that pupils make extensive use of ICT in their work,
      for example in writing essays, for finding information and for preparing presentations.

8.107 The room allocated to the subject is very well equipped but not always available; some
      lessons take place in a narrow, cramped space without access to the appropriate resources.
Headington School                                                                                37


       Classics

8.108 Five lessons were observed spread across the year groups and the three subjects taught by
      the department. Two discussions were held with the head of department. A comprehensive
      sample of pupils’ work was scrutinised.

8.109 Most of the teaching observed was very good or excellent and none was less than good.
      Teaching challenged pupils to think for themselves, eliciting sensitive and original responses
      to literature, drawing illuminating comparisons with the modern world or insisting on old-
      fashioned rigour in linguistic analysis.

8.110 Pupils were motivated by the teaching and responded enthusiastically. Their quality of
      learning was at least good, with the exception of one lesson where they seemed a little
      disenchanted. They concentrated hard on detailed work, were always ready to offer thoughts
      and suggestions that indicated considerable individuality of mind, and co-operated easily and
      openly with each other and with their teachers. In one Year 12 lesson, for instance, what
      started as a mildly challenging suggestion of a possibly sarcastic attitude of Homer to
      Telemachus, rapidly developed into a discussion of ever increasing depth on attitudes to
      sexual misbehaviour, violent retribution and the nuances of the similes that Homer used to
      illustrate the relevant passages.

8.111 Resources are generally good, although one of the rooms allocated is not wholly suitable.
      The curriculum is well supported by the classics club, by regular trips to Roman sites in
      Britain and by an impending tour of Greece.

       Drama

8.112 Three drama lessons were observed and a range of pupils’ work was read. A discussion was
      held with the head of department.

8.113 The teaching seen was very good. Objectives were clear and individual pupils were assisted
      effectively. The teachers’ subject knowledge was secure. The activities undertaken were
      challenging to pupils, as noted in the Year 11 lesson where pupils prepared a piece of GCSE
      coursework. Questioning was skilfully used to encourage pupils to deepen their
      understanding and develop their own ideas, and the organisation of group work ensured that
      all pupils were productively engaged.

8.114 Pupils were good listeners and were effective in informally evaluating their own work and
      that of others. They were highly motivated and showed initiative, for example in a Year 7
      lesson on the production of an advertisement. They collaborated well in group work, and
      their relationships with the teachers were good.

8.115 The drama department has very good accommodation and facilities, which are well
      maintained with the aid of good technical support. The facilities are used to full effect for
      pupils’ benefit and by outside bodies such as visiting professional theatre groups. The
      theatre is equipped to a professional standard, and along with the two rehearsal rooms and
      the technical area it represents an extremely pleasant and important element of the school’s
      educational provision. Frequent school productions are staged, and the drama department
      has a very busy all-year-round programme of events, which provides an important
      opportunity for pupils, both actors and audience, to enhance their learning and their cultural
      awareness. The tours abroad of pupils’ own plays are a distinctive feature of the
      department’s activities.
Headington School                                                                                38


       Economics

8.116 Three lessons were observed, pupils’ work was scrutinised, and discussion with the head of
      department took place.

8.117 The teaching was good. Lessons were well planned, presented in an interesting and lively
      way, and proceeded at a good pace. Lesson content was adjusted to take account of topical
      events, notably the Budget, and pupils’ understanding was tested by asking them to cite other
      recent events and explain their relevance. Careful selection of discussion topics helped to
      secure the active participation of most pupils, but some pupils from overseas were reluctant
      to contribute, and at times insufficient efforts were made to involve them and to check their
      comprehension of the subject matter.

8.118 The quality of learning was good. Pupils were highly motivated, showed enthusiasm for
      their work and applied themselves well. They were good listeners and took notes efficiently.
      Relationships within the classes and with the teachers were good. It was clear from the files
      scrutinised that pupils make good use of the internet for topical reference and research. The
      department’s helpful intranet site guides pupils towards relevant websites.

8.119 The provision of resources is good. However, it is a disadvantage that not all lessons can be
      timetabled in one room.

       Geography

8.120 Seven lessons were observed, of which one was in environmental science, which is offered
      as a sixth-form course. Samples of pupils’ work were scrutinised and a meeting held with
      the head of department.

8.121 The overall quality of the teaching observed was very good, and none of the teaching was
      less than sound. Lesson preparation was meticulous, taking full account of the ability range
      of the classes. The variety of activities was good, including individual or group work in all
      the lessons visited. The timing of activities was almost always judged carefully, though in
      single lessons the desired outcome was sometimes only just achieved in the available time;
      the late arrival of pupils at some lessons was a contributory factor. Monitoring of pupils’
      progress when they were working independently was effective, with special consideration
      given when necessary to overseas pupils and those known to be less able. Questioning was
      used skilfully in checking both recall from previous lessons and the comprehension of new
      material. Explanations were clear. Resources were used effectively, especially the data
      projector in one of the classrooms. Although not seen during the inspection, classes are
      sometimes taken to rooms where pupils can use computers during the lessons. The teachers
      were secure in their knowledge and successful in conveying their enthusiasm for the subject
      to their pupils.

8.122 The marking of pupils’ work is exemplary in its regularity, clarity, accuracy and constructive
      approach. The department’s grading scheme is pasted into every pupil’s workbook or file, as
      is a summary table, containing the date, a summary comment and the grades awarded for
      every marked assignment. This table is most useful for monitoring by teachers, by the head
      of department, and by the pupils themselves.

8.123 The quality of learning was very good. Pupils were keen to learn, and concentrated well on
      explanations and board work. They responded very well to the regular opportunities to work
      individually, and collaborated supportively when working in small groups. For example, a
      Year 11 class extended their learning beyond the very good worksheet provided in a lesson
Headington School                                                                                   39


        on developing countries, and members of a Year 7 class greatly enjoyed preparing and
        presenting weather forecasts. Behaviour in the classroom was very good at all times.

8.124 The three classrooms are pleasant and in good condition, but do not provide sufficient
      timetable availability for all lessons in the subject. Wall display, of which pupils’ work
      forms the major part, is recent and colourful. Displays in the adjoining corridors, largely
      based on recent field trips, are equally striking and interesting. The provision of resources is
      good in most respects, but the department’s development plan rightly reflects the desirability
      of improving the availability of ICT resources.

        Information & Communication Technology (ICT)

8.125 Three lessons of ICT were observed, samples of pupils’ work were scrutinised and
      discussions were held with the head of department.

8.126 The teaching was of uneven quality: most was good, but some was unsatisfactory. In most
      of the lessons explanations and instructions were clear, and individual assistance, when
      required, was patiently given. Very good on-screen guidance was provided and preparation
      of material was in all cases very good. Good use of data projectors was observed. The work
      scrutinised consisted largely of files of photocopied sheets, but the work done by pupils had
      been marked very carefully and helpfully.

8.127 The quality of learning was good in most of the lessons; where it was unsatisfactory, a
      sufficiently orderly atmosphere had not been established and the pupils showed little interest
      in or attention to the subject matter. In most groups, pupils applied themselves
      conscientiously to the tasks set and nearly all followed instructions accurately. Most pupils
      demonstrated the ability to learn effectively from individual assignments, and a good many
      had advanced their projects in their spare time. Pupils whose skills were more advanced
      collaborated well to help others. The behaviour of pupils was very good for the most part,
      and the equipment in the computer rooms was treated with respect. The organisation of
      some pupils’ files restricted their usefulness for revision.

8.128 ICT is well established in the curriculum, and the time allocation is sufficient for pupils to be
      able to achieve good standards of basic ICT literacy. Increasing numbers of pupils are
      taking the subject in the sixth form.

        Religious Studies

8.129 Four lessons were observed, three by full-time members of the department and one by a non-
      specialist. A selection of pupils’ workbooks was scrutinised.

8.130 The teaching observed ranged from sound to very good. Lessons were well planned and
      structured, with objectives that were clear to the pupils. A variety of teaching methods was
      seen, and in most cases pupils were provided with opportunities for independent learning.
      Encouragement and affirmation were used effectively.

8.131 The pupils were good learners who responded positively in lessons, showing respect for each
      other’s perspectives and ideas. They sustained their concentration well in reading tasks and
      when listening to the teachers. Pupils participated enthusiastically in pair work and when
      invited to contribute orally.

8.132 The thoughtfully devised curriculum returns to topics several times over the years to
      reinforce and develop key topics. The textbooks provided for Years 7 and 8 and for the
      examination groups support the courses well, and the internally produced workbook used in
Headington School                                                                                   40


        Year 9 is particularly successful. The school library has a good collection of material for
        enhanced study of the subject at all levels, including a good reference section to support
        sixth-form work. The two classrooms are light and airy with good displays of pupils’ work.

        Technology (Food and Textiles)

8.133 Both subjects are taught throughout the school and are offered as GCSE and A-level options.
      Five lessons were observed, pupils’ work was scrutinised and a discussion was held with the
      head of department.

8.134 Virtually all of the teaching observed was very good and none was less than sound. The
      teachers’ knowledge was very secure and resources were carefully prepared before the
      lessons to ensure that full use was made of the teaching time. Demonstrations by the
      teachers were clear and informative. In a Year 8 lesson the demonstration of the stitching of
      a seam in textiles clearly helped the pupils to master the technique. The tasks prescribed
      were relevant and challenging. The needs of all pupils were successfully catered for and
      individual help was supportive, encouraging and readily available.

8.135 Pupils were very good learners and enjoyed the friendly, co-operative atmosphere of the
      lessons while remaining focused on their work. Their response was lively and enthusiastic
      and they were keen to try out new ideas. They worked efficiently at individual assignments
      and were anxious to bring their prior knowledge to bear, as in a Year 12 home economics
      lesson where case studies were discussed. Pupils’ relationships with each other and with the
      teachers were respectful and courteous.

8.136 Two well-equipped rooms are available for the teaching of food. The accommodation for
      textiles is rather cramped, but an improvement of the provision is planned.

        Achievement and Quality in Activities
8.137 Achievement and quality in the wide range of activities provided are very good, with several
      areas of excellence. The extra-curricular programme enhances the academic curriculum and
      enriches the personal development of the pupils.

8.138 Pupils of all ages are highly motivated and participate in activities enthusiastically.
      Achievement in activities is high in relation to pupils’ ages and abilities and particularly high
      in activities associated with physical education, music and drama. In sport, several pupils
      are involved at county, regional and national level. At the same time, school teams, house
      sports and games practices offer all pupils the opportunity to take part in healthy
      competition. The school is frequently successful in a range of sports and music
      competitions. High standards of public performance are attained in concerts, dance and the
      busy schedule of dramatic productions, including those of the school’s touring theatre
      company.

8.139 In other areas, pupils find interest and challenge by participating in, for example, the
      debating society, the mathematics extension club, the Combined Cadet Force or the Duke of
      Edinburgh’s Award scheme. The last two of these provide valuable opportunities for the
      development of leadership skills, as do World Challenge and the Community Sports Leader
      Award. Some activities, such as the Gospel Choir, are initiated and led by senior pupils.

8.140 The range of activities is broad and caters well for the needs and wishes of individual pupils;
      the robotics club may suit one pupil, the classics club another. A very good balance of
      physical, aesthetic, expressive, academic and purely recreational activities has been
      achieved.
Headington School                                                                                  41


8.141 Almost all the parents who responded to the pre-inspection questionnaire considered that the
      school offers a good range of extra-curricular activities. The inspectors do not agree with
      the small minority of parents who expressed reservations about the provision of extra-
      curricular sporting activities, considering that an appropriate range of these is now available.

8.142 The extensive range of educational visits and residential trips play an important part in
      supporting teaching and learning. The classics department trip to Greece, and the history
      department visit Madrid are good examples. More locally, numerous visits are arranged
      throughout the year and for all age levels to museums, galleries and other places of cultural
      interest.

8.143 For boarders, a good balance is achieved between organised activity and the need for free
      time and relaxation. Many visits and trips are organised for them at weekends, such as
      theatre trips to London and tenpin bowling.

8.144 The implementation of the extra-curricular programme is efficient and effective, with senior
      management exercising a monitoring role, for example in resolving clashes and ensuring that
      the range of activities is suitably balanced. Forward planning is encouraged and a calendar
      provides a timetable for the regular activities in each term. The quality of instruction,
      coaching and management of activities is of a high standard enhanced in some areas by the
      use of specialist coaches, for example in rowing, trampolining and judo.

8.145 Participation and achievement in activities are reported on in assemblies, the school
      magazine, the newsletter and on the intranet. Form tutors are encouraged to add comment to
      reports regarding attendance and achievement in the activity programme, and many do so. In
      most cases, attendance and achievement are recorded by the staff leading activities, but this
      is not universal practice.

8.146 Staff give up their time willingly and are highly committed to the extra-curricular life of the
      school. The successful programme of activities is a major feature of the school’s ethos of
      providing a good all-round education for the pupils.
Headington School                                                                                42



9.     SUMMARY OF INSPECTION EVIDENCE
9.1    The inspection was carried out from March 14th – 18th, 2005. Prior to the inspection the
       reporting inspector made a preliminary visit to the school and analysed the substantial
       amount of information provided by the school in documentary form. Just over 270 responses
       to the standard pre-inspection questionnaire were analysed and the views expressed taken
       into account.

9.2    All subjects of the curriculum were inspected and almost all members of the teaching staff
       were observed teaching. However, the size of the team did not permit every subject to be
       reported on in full. English, mathematics, the sciences, music, history (including politics),
       art (including photography and art history), modern foreign languages and PE were fully
       inspected. Except for law and psychology, short reports are provided for other subjects. The
       inspectors examined a wide range of documentation made available by the school.

9.3    During the inspection, 159 lessons were visited. The inspectors examined extensive samples
       of work by pupils of different abilities in each year and held formal discussions with small
       groups of pupils as well as many informal discussions with other pupils. They held 76
       planned meetings with teaching and non-teaching staff and with representatives of the
       governing body, attended registrations, tutor periods and assemblies and observed a range of
       extra-curricular activities.

       List of Inspectors
       John Charnley            Reporting Inspector, former Third Master, HMC School
       Richard Ainsworth        Head of Department, GSA school
       Jenny Butler             Deputy Head, GSA school
       John Doulton             Former Principal, HMC school
       Dominic Murtagh          Deputy Head, GSA school
       Dr. Hugo Petzsch         Deputy Head, GSA school
       John Puddefoot           Deputy Head, HMC school
       Debra Sprague            Deputy Head, GSA school
       David Stockwell          Former Head of Department, HMC school
       Dr. Ruth Weeks           Headmistress, GSA school

				
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