CARMEL TECHNOLOGY COLLEGE Darlington LEA area: Darlington Unique reference number: 114324 Headteacher: Mr J O’Neill
Reporting inspector: B A Jones 18462 Dates of inspection: 11 - 14 December 2000
Inspection number: 223995 Inspection carried out under section 10 of the School Inspections Act 1996
© Crown copyright 2000 This report may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-commercial educational purposes, provided that all extracts quoted are reproduced verbatim without adaptation and on condition that the source and date thereof are stated. Further copies of this report are obtainable from the school. Under the School Inspections Act 1996, the school must provide a copy of this report and/or its summary free of charge to certain categories of people. A charge not exceeding the full cost of reproduction may be made for any other copies supplied.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL
Type of school: School category: Age range of pupils: Gender of pupils:
Comprehensive Voluntary Aided 11-18 Mixed
The Headlands Darlington. County Durham. DL3 8RW 01325 254525 01325 254335
Postcode: Telephone number: Fax number:
Appropriate authority: Name of chair of governors:
The Governing Body Father John Caden.
Date of previous inspection:
13th. February 1995
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INFORMATION ABOUT THE INSPECTION TEAM Team members Bernard Jones 18462 Registered inspector Pam Blackshaw 9921 Lay inspector Steve Feather 20687 Team member Alan Grant 10832 Team member Joe McKeague 8134 Team member Colin Thomas 20713 Team member
The inspection contractor was: Sunderland LEA (City of Sunderland) The Broadway Education Centre Springwell Road. Sunderland Tyne & Wear SR4 8NW Any concerns or complaints about the inspection or the report should be raised with the inspection contractor. Complaints that are not satisfactorily resolved by the contractor should be raised with OFSTED by writing to: The Registrar Inspection Quality Division The Office for Standards in Education Alexandra House 33 Kingsway London WC2B 6SE
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Page PART A: SUMMARY OF THE REPORT Information about the school How good the school is What the school does well What could be improved How the school has improved since its last inspection Standards Pupils’ attitudes and values Teaching and learning Other aspects of the school How well the school is led and managed Parents’ and carers’ views of the school PART B: COMMENTARY WHAT THE SCHOOL DOES WELL WHAT COULD BE IMPROVED 11 6
PART C: SCHOOL DATA AND INDICATORS
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PART A: SUMMARY OF THE REPORT INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL Carmel College is a Roman Catholic school in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. It is an 11-18 mixed comprehensive specialist Technology College with 1009 pupils, which is larger than average. The school is situated in the west end of Darlington. The pupils are drawn from a wide and diverse catchment area encompassing all of Darlington and virtually all of the south Durham area, as well as parts of North Yorkshire. The numbers of children eligible for free school meals is currently 14 per cent, which is broadly in line with the national average. The attainment of the pupils on entering the school has shown a variation over the past three years and is now above average. The proportion of pupils identified as having special educational needs is 13 per cent, which is broadly in line with the national average and 1.5 per cent of pupils have statements of special educational need. HOW GOOD THE SCHOOL IS This is an effective school, which provides good value for money. The school is popular with parents and consistently over-subscribed. The excellent leadership of the headteacher makes a positive impact in encouraging all staff and pupils to achieve their best. There is a good standard of teaching overall and this is effective in helping pupils to make good progress and achieve above average standards. The school evaluates all aspects of its work and standards achieved, and its approach is rigorous and effective. The provision for students in the sixth form is cost effective. The school is very well organised and ensures an excellent level of care for its pupils. What the school does well 1. Excellent leadership from the headteacher and very good support from other senior staff ensure a clear educational direction to the school’s work. 2. The quality of teaching is good and there is a significant amount of very good teaching. 3. Pupils make good progress and attain above average standards. They also make good progress in developing their literacy and numeracy skills. 4. The provision for pupils with special educational needs is very good and they make very good progress. 5. The school makes excellent provision for the care of its pupils. Pupils behave very well and show positive attitudes to their work and life in school. 6. The school provides a well-balanced curriculum. It enhances and extends the curriculum by providing a wide range of opportunities for pupils to develop their interests and talents. 7. Pupils make very good progress in developing their skills in information and communication technology and benefit greatly from the contribution made by the majority of other subjects. What could be improved 1. Some teaching, while satisfactory overall, lacks particular features to help pupils and students become more effective in their learning. 2. Target setting is not sufficiently well developed in all subject departments. The areas for improvement will form the basis of the governors’ action plan.
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HOW THE SCHOOL HAS IMPROVED SINCE ITS LAST INSPECTION The school has responded very effectively to the issues identified in the previous report of 1995 and has achieved very good levels of improvement across a broad spectrum of its work. Since the previous inspection in 1995, the standards that pupils obtain have risen in Years 7 to 9 in line with the rate of improvement nationally. Pupils’ results in GCSE examinations have improved at a faster rate than nationally. The average point scores of Alevel GCE students is above the national average and in Year 2000 rose to its highest level to date. The quality of teaching has improved. It is now good overall with a significant proportion of very good teaching and there is no unsatisfactory teaching. This ensures that pupils make good progress in their learning and achieve well in relation to their prior attainment. The school has very good capacity and commitment to improve further. STANDARDS The table shows the standards achieved by 16 and 18 year olds based on average point scores in GCSE examinations. compared with Performance in: all schools 1998
GCSE examinations A-levels/AS levels B D
Key similar schools 2000
B A very high well above average above average average below average well below average A* A B C D E
At the end of Year 9, pupils obtained results in the Year 2000 National Curriculum tests that were well above the national average and very high compared to schools with a similar percentage of pupils entitled to free school meals. The trend in the school’s results in recent years was broadly in line with the national trend to 1999 and rose again in 2000. In the work seen in the inspection, pupils in Years 7 to 9 make good progress in the core subjects, English, mathematics and science. In 2000, the proportion of pupils gaining five or more passes at GCSE grades A* to C and grades A*-G was above the national average. The proportion gaining at least one grade A*-G was well above average. When compared with similar schools on the basis of eligibility for free school meals, the overall point score at GCSE was well above average. The school’s GCSE results have risen since the previous inspection at a faster rate than the national trend. The 2000 results at A-level GCE are above average and rose to the highest level to date, continuing an above average trend of results over the past three years. Only one candidate was examined in a vocational course and this candidate obtained a result above the national average. The standards of work seen in the inspection reflected the above average results gained by pupils in recent public examinations. Pupils achieve well in relation to their prior attainment and their good progress indicates that the school is not complacent. In the Year 2000, the school’s management set challenging targets for GCSE examination performance. These targets were exceeded, and the number of pupils leaving without any qualifications was reduced to four per cent, a figure well below the national average. In the sixth form, the work seen broadly reflected the results students gained in A-level GCE and the work seen of students taking vocational courses was, overall, in line with course expectations.
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PUPILS’ ATTITUDES AND VALUES Aspect Attitudes to the school Behaviour, in and out of classrooms Personal development and relationships Attendance Comment Pupils show very good attitudes. The majority of pupils are happy in school and show a good level of commitment to school life. Behaviour is very good generally and often excellent during lessons. This has a positive effect in creating an atmosphere where good learning takes place. The school makes excellent provision for pupils’ personal development. Relationships between pupils and with their teachers are excellent. Levels of attendance are satisfactory and in line with the national average.
TEACHING AND LEARNING Teaching of pupils: Lessons seen overall aged 11-14 years Good aged 14-16 years Good aged over 16 years Good
Inspectors make judgements about teaching in the range: excellent; very good; good; satisfactory; unsatisfactory; poor; very poor. ‘Satisfactory’ means that the teaching is adequate and strengths outweigh weaknesses. Teaching was at least satisfactory in all lessons seen. The teaching was good or better in three-quarters of lessons and very good in 40 per cent. There was a small percentage of excellent teaching. The overall quality of teaching in English and mathematics was good throughout the school and is satisfactory in science. The good teaching quality has a positive impact upon pupils’ learning and this is further helped by the very good behaviour of pupils and their generally positive attitudes towards work. Teachers have a good level of specialist knowledge. They plan and prepare their lessons well and use assessment effectively. Teachers know their pupils well and the work set is usually pitched accurately to meet individual needs and ensure that pupils make good progress. Classes are managed well and teachers’ expectations are set at a high level. Pupils with special educational needs make very good progress and those pupils identified as gifted and talented make good progress. The teaching of literacy skills is very good in English. The provision made by other subjects is very good and is having a positive impact upon standards. Overall, pupils’ levels of development of numeracy skills are good and good provision is made for the teaching of numeracy skills in subjects across the curriculum.
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OTHER ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL Aspect The quality and range of the curriculum Comment Good: the curriculum is appropriately broad and balanced. The school offers a good and varied sixth-form curriculum which meets the needs and aspirations of students who have a range of attainment levels. All statutory requirements are met. The school makes very good provision for pupils with special educational needs, which reflects the high level of commitment of the school towards these pupils. The provision for pupils’ personal development is very good. The personal and social education programme plays an important part in developing values as well as providing very good guidance in terms of behaviour and respect for others. The provision for each of the aspects, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is very good.
Provision for pupils with special educational needs Provision for pupils’ personal, including spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
How well the school The school’s provision for the pastoral care of pupils is excellent and this cares for its pupils has a positive impact in promoting achievement. Satisfactory arrangements are in place for child protection and to ensure pupils’ welfare, health and safety. HOW WELL THE SCHOOL IS LED AND MANAGED Aspect Leadership and management by the headteacher and other key staff How well the governors fulfil their responsibilities The school’s evaluation of its performance Comment The headteacher provides excellent leadership and he is well supported by an effective senior management team. Subject departments are managed well and there is a shared commitment amongst all staff to raise standards further. The governing body is effective and supportive. Governors have a good level of knowledge of the school’s strengths and weaknesses and make a good contribution to the direction the school takes. The school evaluates all aspects of its work and standards achieved, and its approach is rigorous and effective. A great deal of information is collected about the performance of pupils and is increasingly being used to good effect in setting challenging and realistic targets to improve standards of work and examination results. The school uses its resources well. The principles of best value are applied carefully and the school is prudent in its spending. The school has clear and appropriate priorities, which are supported by careful financial planning.
The strategic use of resources
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PARENTS’ AND CARERS’ VIEWS OF THE SCHOOL What pleases parents most • • • • • • • • • • the dedication of teachers; the amount of extra curricular activities and opportunities; the caring nature of the school; the way it develops pupils’ spiritual welfare; the good parents and teachers association; strong music and school productions; developments and opportunities in information and communication technology; the way the school helps build pupils’ self confidence; foreign exchanges and visits; open and welcoming sixth-form. What parents would like to see improved • • • • • facilities during lunchtime; storage for pupils’ bags etc.; teaching of revision skills; length of school day increased to accommodate all activities and include recreation time. Improved and safer access to the rear of the school.
The inspection team agrees with the positive views expressed by the parents and shares their concern for the safety of pupils using the unlit access to the rear of the school. The length of the school day meets the recommendations of the Department for Education and Employment and the school uses the time effectively to promote good standards.
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PART B: COMMENTARY WHAT THE SCHOOL DOES WELL Excellent leadership from the headteacher and very good support from other senior staff ensure a clear educational direction to the school’s work. 1. The headteacher provides excellent leadership and a clear vision regarding the direction in which the school is heading. This is shared with the rest of the staff and ensures that the raising of standards in all aspects of the school’s work is the first priority. Members of the senior staff give very good support and are successful in maintaining an ethos where the commitment to the care of pupils and an expectation that pupils will produce their best efforts underpin the work of the school. The school uses its resources well. The principles of best value are applied carefully and the school is prudent in its spending. The school has clear and appropriate priorities, which are supported by careful financial planning. 2. The school evaluates all aspects of its work and standards achieved, and its approach is rigorous and effective. A great deal of information is collected about the performance of pupils and is increasingly being used to good effect in setting challenging and realistic targets to improve standards of work and public examination results. Heads of year and subject departments are clear about their roles and they too are successful in improving standards, for example in monitoring the quality of pupils’ learning. The quality of teaching is monitored closely and has led to a significant improvement since the previous inspection. The monitoring of pupils’ progress, using reliable and valid information is an improving feature of the school’s work and is increasingly successful in identifying and tackling underachievement and encouraging pupils to raise their sights. 3. A very good level of improvement in the school’s work has been made since the previous inspection. The headteacher and senior staff used the key issues highlighted in that report, along with other issues identified through the body of the report to improve standards and to give a clear focus to some of the developments undertaken. For example standards in design and technology have been raised significantly and the provision for information and communication technology is now very good. 4. The work of the school is well supported by the governors. They have a good knowledge of the school’s strengths and the areas needing further improvement. Their support has been particularly valuable at the strategic level and has helped the school in their various bids to attract additional funding. This has been another area of success and has enabled the school, through its designation as a technology college for example, to expand the resources available to drive up standards. The quality of teaching is good and there is a significant amount of very good teaching. 5. Over three-quarters of the teaching observed was good or better, and some teaching of the highest quality was seen. No unsatisfactory teaching was observed. This represents a significant improvement since the last inspection and is having a clear impact on the quality of pupils’ learning, the progress pupils make and the standards they achieve. 6. Teachers plan and prepare their work well. They usually have clear objectives and often share these with their pupils. This gives a clear direction to lessons and pupils respond well, particularly when they are reminded of where the lessons are heading and what is
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expected of them in terms of what and how they will learn. The positive effects of good planning that met the needs of pupils accurately was observed in the teaching of a class of low attaining Year 10 pupils in mathematics. The exercises the teacher produced offered just the right degree of challenge so that pupils were interested and enjoyed success. All pupils made good progress and those with special educational needs were helped in this process by the planned, positive contribution from the teaching assistant present. 7. Teachers generally have a very good level of knowledge and understanding about their subject, which extends to how to prepare pupils to succeed in examinations in the particular subjects. In music for example, a Year 10 class analysed a piece of music and in learning what to listen for and which technical terms best described what they heard, they were prepared well for the demands that they will meet in the GCSE examination. The process was not a narrow examination-based session, but an enjoyable musical experience that served a distinct purpose and enhanced the way the pupils learned. Teachers’ expertise in their subjects forms the basis of their authority in the classroom and is respected by their pupils. Such a depth of knowledge helps teachers to bring lessons to life as in a Year 8 science lesson. Here the teacher’s use of common, everyday examples in studying the properties of different materials engaged the pupils and involved them in their learning, and made them keen to learn more because they were able to relate to their own experience. 8. Teachers use information and communication technology effectively in their teaching across a broad selection of subjects. In lessons in French with Year 7 pupils, teachers use a variety of aids including sophisticated interactive whiteboards, to very good effect in promoting pupils’ understanding and their learning about the use of technology. In a Year 9 design and technology lesson, the teacher’s use of computer aided design was excellent practice and served as an inspiration to pupils in their work. In this mixed ability class, pupils of very different levels of attainment made very good progress and developed their computer skills in a lesson that they clearly enjoyed. 9. A feature of much of the teaching is the high level of expectation maintained by teachers relating to the quality of pupils’ work as well as their behaviour and attitudes. In a Year 10 English lesson with lower attaining pupils, the teacher found the right balance between challenge and praise, based upon the expectation that pupils would do their best work. This raised the self-esteem of the group and they worked successfully at a brisk pace. The subsequent quality of learning was high and pupils made very good progress in their written course work. 10. Pupils with special educational needs receive very good specialist teaching. For example, a small group of Year 7 pupils made very good progress and learned effective ways to improve their spelling under the direction of a teacher well versed in the methods that best meet their particular needs. In the best lessons, teachers are very effective in ensuring that pupils with particular needs at both ends of the attainment spectrum are catered for and make good progress. For example, in Year 9 English lesson, careful use of questioning techniques involved all pupils and ensured that low attaining pupils with special educational needs made a good contribution. The highest attaining pupils in the school are given good opportunities to realise their potential, whether their gifts and talents lie in academic work or sport or the arts. The school has developed a clear policy to cater for these pupils and a register that identifies their areas of strength. The formal lesson planning to meet their needs is a developing feature of the school’s work and the necessary systems and strategies are in place. 11. Teachers manage their classes very well. They are helped considerably by the very good
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behaviour and the positive attitudes that pupils exhibit. Teachers and pupils enjoy positive relationships that allow humour to pervade lessons without detracting from the learning that takes place. There is a warmth in these relationships that develops from the teachers’ good levels of knowledge about their pupils. It is on the basis of such knowledge that a number of students are given access to GCE A-level courses, where their attainment at GCSE would suggest that they will find the work too difficult. The school has a good record of promoting success in these students to a level that gives them access to higher education. 12. Teachers are effective in assessing pupils’ learning and using question and answer techniques to take their work on. In the best lessons teachers use such techniques to give pace to the lessons. For example in a Year 10 geography lesson, pupils were keen to answer, were not afraid to get answers wrong and they learned from mistakes made. The positive relationships between pupils allowed this process to be effective and the activities were timed so that the lesson moved at a fast pace. The process enhanced the quality of the pupils’ learning and they made very good progress in learning about the problems associated with living in an inner city environment. 13. Teachers’ use of homework is not as consistently good as many of the stronger features described above. There is some very good practice where homework is used effectively to extend the work undertaken in class. Here it is set regularly, marked assiduously and teachers’ comments help pupils to take their work further. However, in other cases, homework is set hastily and consists of finishing off classwork and does not extend the independent learning skills of pupils. Pupils make good progress and attain above average standards. They also make good progress in developing their literacy and numeracy skills. 14. The attainment of pupils when they enter the school is now above average overall. There are effective procedures in place to measure these attainment levels in order to give a baseline against which pupils’ progress may be measured. Current information, based upon Year 6 National Curriculum test scores, other standardised test scores and the school’s own tests indicate that the present Year 7 pupils are above average, while pupils in Year 8 are broadly in line with the average. At the end of Year 9, pupils obtained results in the Year 2000 National Curriculum tests that were well above the national average and very high compared to schools deemed to be similar on the basis of the proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals. In the same year, pupils’ results in their GCSE examinations were above average, as were sixth form students’ GCE A- level results. 15. In the Year 2000 National Curriculum tests for Year 9 pupils, the proportion of pupils reaching Level 5 and above and Level 6 and above was well above average in English and mathematics and above average in science. The average points score in all three subjects was well above average. Compared to similar schools, pupils’ performance in all three subjects was very high. Up to 1999, when the last comparative figures were available, the trend in the school’s results was broadly in line with the national trend. 16. In the Year 2000 GCSE examinations, the average points score per pupil was above average, and up to 1999, when the latest figures were available, the school’s trend in results was above the national trend. The proportion of pupils gaining five or more GCSE grades A*-C was above average, as was the proportion gaining five or more A*-G grades. The proportion gaining one or more grades A*-G was well above the national average. Compared to similar schools, on the basis of free school meals, the results were well above average. The school set challenging targets for this group of pupils and either met or exceeded the targets in each of the categories, five plus A*-C, one plus A*-C and
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average points score per pupil. There was some variation between subjects. English and science were among the weaker subjects; the results in science were below average. 17. A number of the school’s higher attaining pupils leave the school at the end of Year 11 to attend other institutions that provide GCE A-level courses. In the Year 2000, the average points score of students taking two or more GCE A-levels was well above the national average and maintained an upward trend established over the previous three years. 18. The standards of work seen in the inspection reflected the above average results gained by pupils in recent public examinations. Year 11 pupils are currently working at a higher level in English and science. Pupils are achieving well in relation to their prior attainment and their good progress indicates that the school is not complacent; challenging targets set and reached confirm this. 19. The provision made for the teaching of literacy skills is very good. Most departments are effective in promoting the raising of literacy standards in their subject. The majority of pupils express themselves clearly in writing and can write with due sensitivity to the demands of different audiences and purposes. They take due care with spelling, punctuation, handwriting and the presentation of their work. Pupils achieve higher than average standards in writing. Reading skills are well developed and pupils have access to a suitably wide range of reading material. A large majority of pupils read with fluency and confidence and can use higher order reading skills in their learning. A reading partners scheme provides effective help, support and encouragement for poorer readers in Years 7 to 9. Speaking and listening skills are well developed and above average standards are reached. The majority of pupils are confident, fluent talkers and participate with enthusiasm in discussion and group work. Standard English is used appropriately, and the conventions of debates and meetings are understood and adhered to. Good opportunities are provided for pupils to formulate thoughtful extended answers, and to develop and extend the contributions of others. Listening skills are well developed and older pupils in Years 10, 11 and in the sixth form have become adept at reaching compromise, agreeing group decisions and negotiating resolutions. 20. Overall, pupils’ levels of development of numeracy skills are good. For example, pupils in Years 7 to 9 have good recall of basic number facts and use a wide range of strategies when doing mental calculations. Pupils are confident in their use of pencil and paper arithmetic and mental calculation and are able to use calculators efficiently. They interpret data well and make good use of their graphing skills across other subjects in the curriculum. For example in science, pupils plot data from an experiment, draw a line of best fit and then describe the relationship between the strength of an electromagnetic field and the amount of current passing through it. Pupils’ basic numeracy skills are enhanced by the use of a computer-based integrated learning system, (ILS). Reports are produced automatically by the system and indicate that impressive gains are made in pupils’ progress over a short period of time. These gains, however, would have a longer lasting benefit if information on individual pupils’ strengths and weaknesses were given to subject teachers, and if the methods taught in mathematics were mirrored in the computer lessons. The provision for pupils with special educational needs is very good and they make very good progress. 21. The school demonstrates a high level of commitment to supporting pupils with special educational needs. The senior managers and the governing body view good provision as a priority and make very good levels of resources available to these pupils. The
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department is very well led. The quality of documentation is high and there are very good systems in place to support learning across departments. The individual education plans are very good and are informed by subject departments adding contributions that make their work more effective. Good procedures are in place to ensure that pupils have realistic and challenging targets for improvement, and their progress is carefully monitored. Pupils with special educational needs make very good progress and the work of support assistants working with pupils in lessons is central to this progress. The school makes excellent provision for the care of its pupils. Pupils behave very well and show positive attitudes to their work and life in school. 22. The ethos of the school reflects a commitment to high standards in all aspects of pupils’ life and work in school. This commitment includes a purposeful and direct valuing of pupils as individuals and is seen in the quality of care extended to them, which is excellent. Satisfactory arrangements are in place for child protection and to ensure pupils’ welfare, health and safety. However, there exists an issue relating to pupils’ safety in their use of an unlit access path to the rear of the school. The personal and social education programme plays an important part in developing values as well as providing guidance in terms of behaviour and respect for others. Teachers know pupils very well and relationships between teachers and pupils are excellent; this helps to engender the excellent relationships that exist between pupils. 23. A great deal of work continues outside the taught curriculum and in the local community to provide opportunities for pupils to mature and learn, for example in religious based retreats, educational visits and work with local business and commerce. Pupils like school and commit themselves to the work of the school. 24. The general level of support received by pupils has a positive impact upon standards, learning and behaviour. Pupils’ behaviour in and around the school is very good. In many lessons, behaviour is excellent and has a direct impact upon the quality of learning taking place. Pupils in general demonstrate positive attitudes towards school and are conscientious in completing their work. The school provides a well-balanced curriculum. It enhances and extends the curriculum by providing a wide range of opportunities for pupils to develop their interests and talents. 25. The school offers a broad and balanced curriculum to all pupils that meets statutory requirements. From Years 7 to 9, pupils follow a common curriculum and within the teaching day they receive a good and varied range of learning experiences. Very good provision is made for the development of pupils’ information and communication technology skills in specific lessons and across the curriculum, particularly in design and technology. Imaginative timetabling allows pupils to follow a basic skills enhancement course in Year 7 that contributes to the good levels of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology. 26. The curriculum in Years 10 and 11 gives pupils a wide selection of GCSE courses with pupils’ choices being largely met. Vocational courses have been extended with the introduction of GNVQ courses in engineering and in information and communication technology. The latter will improve pupils’ experience of working with a range of information and communication technology applications, while requiring them to take responsibility for their own learning and to work with a degree of independence. 27. Opportunities are taken during the school year to focus on particular themes across all
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