Ofsted inspectors visited the school, which has 640 pupils on its roll, on 7 and 8 November 2023 and were impressed by the work the school has done since it was rated as “Requires improvement” in 2020.
On what inspectors say it is like for children attending the school, they highlighted: “Horsenden is a vibrant and friendly place. Pupils enjoy coming to school and mix well together. They are safe and happy here. The school has high expectations for pupils. All pupils follow the school’s ambitious curriculum, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
“Pupils appreciate the regular opportunities the school provides to discuss and debate their ideas. For example, they enjoy considering different beliefs and perspectives. Pupils behave well in lessons and around school. They demonstrate positive attitudes to their learning. Children in early years follow routines sensibly and settle well.
“The school ensures that pupils who may struggle to manage their behaviour receive effective support. Pupils are considerate of each other and understand the importance of kindness and respect. Bullying is rare and staff take swift action if it occurs.”
The report, which is out now, highlights areas where the school performed “Good” and also where some improvement can be made.
Writing to parents about the report and in a joint letter Emma Appelby, headteacher and Lynne Plummer, chair of the governors said:
“We are extremely happy that the hard work and dedication of all of our staff has been recognised, and I am sure you will join me in congratulating everyone who works and volunteers in our school.
“I want to draw your attention to the following feedback we received:
- The school has designed a curriculum that is broad and stimulating, including for pupils with SEND. Pupils appreciate the regular opportunities the school provides to discuss and debate their ideas.
- Teachers present information clearly and helpfully. They have secure subject knowledge and explain ideas clearly.
- The school has set high expectations for behaviour. Staff take prompt and effective action when behaviour falls below the school’s expectations.
- The school has a clear view of current strengths and areas for development. Priorities for improvement are well focused.
“We were given only one area for development:
- The school’s ambitious curriculum is not firmly embedded. In a few subjects, this is at an earlier stage of development. In these subjects, pupils do not secure the same depth of knowledge and understanding.
“The inspection process was very detailed and rigorous, and we are tremendously proud to have been graded ‘good’ in all areas. We will, of course now continue to embed our ambitious curriculum to make sure that every subject is delivered as well as the most effective ones. We already have a clear plan for doing this, as is set out in our School Development Plan.
“We are proud that our curriculum is clearly helping children to know and remember more, as well as providing them with opportunities for their wider personal development.”