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'Good' rating from Ofsted for Great Marlow School

James Harrison

The importance of comprehensive education has been praised by a headteacher following a good Ofsted inspection.

Great Marlow School, in Bobmore Lane, retained its ‘Good’ rating after its latest visit from assessors.

Its ‘meticulous systems’ for tracking the progress of pupils was highlighted, as was the overall quality of teaching.

However the report, which was published on Wednesday, June 21, also conceded some ‘particularly vulnerable’ children needed more support than was on offer, while the ‘most able’ would benefit from a more challenging curriculum.

Headteacher Kevin Ford said he was delighted with the inspectors’ findings, which showed that even in an area with selective education, a non-selective school could thrive.

He added: “Great Marlow is a very good school, although the academic profile of the school is very different to that of the local grammar schools.

“We do very well, and we do very well because we have very supportive parents, supportive teachers and pupils who are ambitious to do well.

“[In places] where you have a greater proportion of disadvantaged pupils, that can be very difficult.

“I don’t think making more grammar schools improves that situation.”

The report noted that since the school’s last inspection, in April 2013, progress in the quality of science teaching had improved, particularly with plans to change the curriculum to improve preparation for education after GCSEs.

There was also praise for efforts to close the attainment gap between disadvantage pupils and their peers.

As well as being better at identifying youngsters with special educational needs or disabilities, teachers were also said to be better at monitoring their progress and providing extra support where needed.

However, the school also accepted that more could be done and further improvements made.

Mr Ford said: “[Our vulnerable and pupil premium] pupils make very good progress but, as is always the case, some could make better progress. It’s a national agenda and one that the majority of schools in the country face. The agenda is to close that gap.”

Among the measures taken by the school to do this is spotting any struggling pupils as quickly as possible, especially those who struggle with reading and once identified there is a ‘significant amount of extra support available’ available to them.

The report also noted a ‘wide range of clubs and trips on offer’, providing ‘enriching experiences’ for pupils.

See www.reports.ofsted.gov.uk to read the report in full.

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