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Forest’s positives from Ofsted report

New headteacher described as a 'real pacesetter'

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THE Forest School in Winnersh has been praised for “many positives” in its latest Ofsted report.

New headteacher, Shirley Austin was described as “a real pacesetter” with leadership and management described as “good.”

However, a statement on the school website said it was disappointed inspectors had not given the same award to recent rapid changes.

Almost 60 lessons were observed over two days and meetings held with staff, governors and students. Parents were also asked for their views in a process the school described as “very thorough, rigorous and challenging.”

The report praised Ms Austin who had rallied staff and pupils to raise expectations. It added she had a “clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school.”

“Introduction of a new assessment system, which will provide aspirational targets for individual pupils, is imminent and will add to the rigour of teachers’ assessment of pupils’ work,” Ofsted claimed.

“The school has reorganised the GCSE Options process to start in Year 9 to provide more time for coverage of GCSE subjects.

“The behaviour of pupils is good. Pupils are polite and friendly around the site.                                                                                     

“The headteacher and governors have worked together to ensure that the school is financially stable, and have been industrious in finding grants to support some work to improve buildings.”

Forest’s strong reputation for sporting prowess, and the wide range of extra-curricular activities encourages pupils to stay healthy were highlighted.

“The sixth-form provision remains a strength of the school. Academic outcomes continue to improve. Progress was significantly above average in 2017 and the top 10% for AS and A level students, who had grade A or above on entry to their courses.”

“Teaching and learning in the sixth form is of a high standard, and students enjoy their learning.  

“There are wide-ranging opportunities for extra-curricular clubs or trips. Students provide excellent role models to pupils in the lower school.”

In response, headteacher Ms Austin said: “While we remain as a school that is categorised as Requires Improvement we have improved significantly from our last inspection; we are redefining school plans, and introducing excellent new initiatives.

“Through every area of school we are instilling the ASPIRE ethos, we want pupils’ to flourish, be challenged and enjoy their educational journey at The Forest.

“Our community is cohesive, supportive and most of all incredibly ambitious to establish the best outcomes for all.

“We have already made great progress with the introduction of new communication systems, new assessment frameworks for teaching and learning expectations and are keen to show how these systems will provide improved progress and attainment for pupils.”

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