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Wycombe High School : Ofsted Report

25–26 April 2007
Reporting Inspector: 
Asyia Kazmi HMI
Description of the school: 

Wycombe High School is a larger-than-average, popular and over-subscribed school. It is one of 13 grammar schools in the local authority, as such the attainment of students when they start school is exceptionally high. The proportion of students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities is very low. Students are predominantly White British. A fifth of the students are from minority ethnic background, mainly of Pakistani heritage.

The school was awarded specialist status in mathematics and computing in 2005. It is part of the South Bucks 14-19 consortium.

Overall effectiveness and Average across all judgements

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Leadership, management and capacity for school improvement

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Overall achievement & academic performance

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Care, Guidance and Personal development

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Ofsted assessment

This is a good school with outstanding features, particularly the leadership of the school and the personal development and well-being of students.

The headteacher, supported by excellent governance and senior leadership team, provides outstanding leadership. The headteacher leads the school with integrity. This inspires the whole school staff to have confidence in and share her vision. Some of the systems that the school has put in place have been highly effective. For instance, teaching has improved significantly since the last inspection as a result of training and support for teachers. Other systems need time to become established. For example, there is very good support for students not achieving as well as they can in Year 11 but these systems are not yet consistently implemented lower down the school. Consequently last year progress was slower for some students. This has now been addressed.

The processes for keeping the school's work under review and planning for improvement are excellent. The school has an accurate understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. Inspectors did not find any issues that the school was not already aware of and addressing.

Teaching and learning are good overall and outstanding in the sixth form. Senior leaders are committed to ensuring all teaching is at the level of the best in the school. The in-house programme of training, coaching and developing staff is exemplary and a strength of the school.

Standards at the end of Year 9 and Year 11 are exceptionally high; students make good progress from Years 7 to 11. Students in the sixth form make outstanding progress and achieve excellent results. The results for AS level music and business studies are amongst the best in the country. As a result of effective action, achievement in areas which were a cause for concern last year are no longer so.

The school's specialist status has had a good impact and improved provision. The number of students taking A level mathematics has increased significantly. Although good practice exists in the use of ICT (information communication technology) throughout the school, this is not yet consistent across the school.

'This school is a happy and secure place to be', a student told inspectors. Parents and students praise the care and support teachers provide to them and the range of extra curricular activities they are able to take part in. Students enjoy coming to school. Their attendance is excellent and their behaviour around the school and in lessons is good. Students' spiritual, moral and social development is outstanding. This is seen in the numerous activities students initiate to support their local and wider community. Cultural development is good, the school recognises the need to develop the curriculum further so it increases students' cultural awareness.

Students are articulate, confident and courteous. The contribution they make to their school and local community is outstanding, ranging from the Horizon sports club for children with learning difficulties in the community to organising events for fellow students. They are very well prepared for life outside school and benefit from an excellent range of well thought out activities that contribute to their well-being.

What can be improved

  • Raise the level of teaching so that all of it as good as the best in the school.
  • Extend the good support available for underperforming Year 11 students so it is consistent throughout the school.

Achievement and standards

Grade: 2

Grade for sixth form: 1

Students enter the school with high attainment. They make good progress throughout the school and reach consistently high standards at all key stages. Students make good progress from Year 7 to Year 11 because teaching is good and students are eager learners. Students from minority ethnic groups also achieve very high standards and make similar progress to their peers. Students with learning difficulties and/or disabilities make good progress because of the effective support they receive.

In 2006, there was a dip in the proportion of students achieving GCSE grades A* or A. Inspection evidence indicates that this weakness has been successfully addressed through improving teaching and learning strategies in lower-performing subjects. For example, gifted and talented students in art are now achieving much higher standards. In the sixth form, students make outstanding progress and achieve exceptionally high standards.

Progress of Special Needs learners, and equality of opportunity

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Behaviour & attendance of learners

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Curriculum and Teaching

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