One of the biggest schools in Brighton and Hove has been praised by Ofsted after an unannounced inspection.
Hove Park School received a five-page letter last week after two inspectors turned up early last month specifically to assess pupils’ behaviour and the way in which it is managed.
The letter from schools inspector Simon Hughes said: “Leaders and managers have taken effective action to maintain the high standards of behaviour and attitudes identified at the school’s previous inspection.”
Ofsted also said: “The vast majority of pupils behave extremely well.”
And the letter said that the inspectors met “pupils whose behaviour has been transformed by the school’s actions”.
Today (Wednesday 2 November) head teacher Rob Reed said: “We are of course delighted that the school came through the inspection with flying colours.
“It’s a nerve-wracking time for any head teacher to receive the telephone call from an Ofsted inspector but as the day progressed it was clear that our Ofsted colleagues were impressed with many aspects of our work.
“As always with Ofsted inspections, the team identified some areas for improvement and we have already acted on their suggestions.
“In short it is pleasing and reassuring that Ofsted recognises and validates the great work done at Hove Park to ensure a safe and caring environment for our children.”
Ofsted said that the inspection was carried out because of concerns about “the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements, aspects of the effectiveness of leadership and management in the school and the behaviour and welfare of pupils”.
“The attendance of the vast majority of pupils compares well with attendance rates of pupils in other schools nationally.
“You were very clear that the persistent absence of a tiny minority of pupils, especially those who are vulnerable, is of concern to you.
“We agreed that the evidence shows that a handful of these pupils’ absence has a deleterious impact on published rates of attendance.
“You also provided the team with detailed evidence of the full range of actions you have taken to address this.
“You showed the team that serious behavioural incidents are rare.
“I was also privileged to meet a few pupils whose behaviour has been transformed by the school’s actions. They were refreshingly frank in their responses.
“They were also positively grateful to several members of staff who have helped improve their conduct and attitudes to school.
“All staff contribute to a culture in the school that actively supports the development of young people’s diverse sexual identities. This is positive.
“The school’s work to promote diversity and inclusion across the broad range of minority ethnic groups is less well developed.
“For example, leaders provided evidence of a small number of racist incidents over the last year.
“Leaders also shared appropriately robust actions taken in response to such incidents.”
Ofsted also said: “The range of strategies … to support vulnerable young people or those facing challenge is impressive.”
It added that there was “compelling evidence that leaders and teachers take seriously any allegation of bullying … at Hove Park you work tirelessly to minimise the impact of bullying and address firmly any instances where it occurs”.
And it said: “Governors are also determined to continue positive work to build purposeful and productive relationships with parents.
“They support your introduction of a head teacher’s surgery which enables parents to meet with you informally on a regular basis.
“They have revised and upgraded the complaints policy so parents with well-founded concerns understand the process that they should follow.
“You intend that the publication of this process, as well as the surgery, will mean that the tiny minority of parents who have not felt listened to in the past is reduced further.”
Ofsted also praised the closer working with Blatchington Mill School near by, which has helped to overcome a longstanding sense of rivalry in a constructive way.
The letter will be posted on the Ofsted website in the coming week.
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