Skip to main content

Crown Woods School : Ofsted Report

2–3 October 2006
Reporting Inspector: 
Sheila Nolan
Description of the school: 

Crown Woods School, a specialist humanities college, mainly serves students from the local area and from Lewisham. Although the majority are of white heritage, around a third come from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Twice as many as is typical nationally are known to have a home language other than English but most are fluent speakers. The proportion of pupils eligible for a free school meal is higher than average as is the percentage of students who have learning difficulties and disabilities. The school hosts units for students with visual impairment and for some with moderate learning difficulties. High numbers of students join or leave the school throughout the year. Three quarters of the teaching staff have been recruited in the last three years. The school has been inspected three times in just over four years.

Overall effectiveness and Average across all judgements

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Leadership, management and capacity for school improvement

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Overall achievement & academic performance

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Care, Guidance and Personal development

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Ofsted assessment

Crown Woods is an effective humanities college that provides a satisfactory quality of education. Because of good leadership and management, particularly the inspirational drive of the headteacher, the school has laid a strong platform for further improvement.

Through unremitting efforts in recent years, and in very challenging circumstances, senior leaders have revitalised the school by recruiting a sufficient number of good teachers. They have established very effective procedures and opportunities to support students' personal and academic development. A highly mobile student population, including many with troubled histories from other institutions, and the non-attendance of a significant number have hampered efforts to improve. Although improving, attendance is below average at just over 90%. Nevertheless, the positive effects of leadership and management on students' progress are evident in the underlying upward trend in external examinations and in lessons, particularly for those attending regularly. Standards, although still below average have risen in three consecutive years. Younger students are achieving satisfactorily overall, though progress in science and mathematics is slower than in English, particularly for more able boys and middle-attaining girls of white heritage backgrounds. Those in older year groups who started in Year 7 and stay until Year 11 make good progress. Students with learning difficulties and disabilities achieve well. Achievement in the expanding sixth form has improved and is now good. This clear evidence shows good capacity to improve further.

The effectiveness of middle managers is satisfactory overall but improving rapidly as they are held to account by senior managers. The humanities specialism is well led and is beginning to have an impact on other subject areas through its pioneering support for literacy and good teamwork. A very few middle managers do not manage their areas effectively enough so that not all students make best progress. Governance is good. Governors are ready to challenge the school but also appreciative of the leadership's honesty over strengths and weaknesses. Regular reviews hold departments and year groups to account so that rigorous evaluation underpins the push to 'exceed expectations'.

Professional development programmes are a real strength of the school and have improved teaching so that it is now good, a marked improvement since the last inspection. Learning in lessons is also good for those who attend regularly. The school has benefited from new teachers, who although often inexperienced, are enthusiastic, committed and ambitious for their students. The curriculum has developed well with a wider range of vocational courses than previously. Personal development is good. Students who attend regularly enjoy school, feel secure despite its very large size and are well-informed about staying healthy. There is a calm ethos with the overwhelming majority readily engaged in learning. A good citizenship programme prepares students well for the future as do good care, guidance and support within year groups. Systems to check students' academic and personal development are robust, with exceptional examples of their use in Year 9. Students' and parents' views matter to the school although very few parents responded to the questionnaire.

What can be improved

  • Raise standards for more able boys and middle-attaining girls of white heritage background, particularly in mathematics and science
  • Extend rapidly the capacity of some middle leaders to manage their responsibilities more effectively
  • Intensify efforts to improve attendance in collaboration with the local authority.

Achievement and standards

Grade: 3

Grade for sixth form: 2

Students who spend all their school life at Crown Woods and those who attend regularly achieve well. Hence, although standards remain below average in the main school, overall progress is satisfactory given the well below average starting points. From Year 7 to Year 9 students make faster progress in English than in mathematics or science. Progress slows for older students, partly because of high mobility in Years 10 and 11. Students from across the range of minority ethnic groups make good progress. Those with learning difficulties and disabilities, especially those from the visually impaired unit, achieve well.

Standards have risen gradually over several years with national test and examination results in 2005 a close match to the school's very challenging targets. For the 2006 Year 11 cohort, just over half of those who joined in Year 7 remained in Year 11. Examination results dipped as a result of a high number of students with troubled histories joining the year. Despite very poor and often non-attendance, they remained on the school roll and had an undue impact on the overall results. A high turnover of teachers in past years combined with a legacy of difficult recruitment in mathematics and science hampered Year 9.

Progress of Special Needs learners, and equality of opportunity

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Behaviour & attendance of learners

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

Curriculum and Teaching

You need to upgrade your Flash Player