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Double boost for schools

PUBLISHED: 15:09 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 10:22 07 July 2010

Schools in Fakenham were given a double boost this week with glowing praise from Ofsted inspectors and fresh hopes of a big building revamp.

The government report described Fakenham High school and sixth-form college as offering students an outstanding curriculum resulting in good achievements.

Schools in Fakenham were given a double boost this week with glowing praise from Ofsted inspectors and fresh hopes of a big building revamp.

The government report described Fakenham High school and sixth-form college as offering students an outstanding curriculum resulting in good achievements.

And meanwhile, education officials announced the town's Junior school would be getting a share in millions of pounds to re-build crumbling buildings, remove mobile classrooms and provide 21st century facilities.

The Queen's Road school is one of 20 identified for money to be spent on it as the county council prepares to bid for funds from the government's Primary Capital Programme (PCP0).

The 20 will feature in the first four years of the 14-year programme, which follows a similar scheme for high schools, Building Schools for the Future.

Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, said : “We have already invested £200m in our schools in the last three years and this strategy gives us the opportunity to continue with our efforts to transform the county's schools and make a real difference to the county's children.

“There is very real evidence that improved buildings can help motivate pupils to succeed and this project will enable us to address our ambition to raise inspirations and attainment by showing our commitment to Norfolk's children,” she said.

Students' good achievements are due to an outstanding curriculum at Fakenham High School and College, according to government inspectors.

An Ofsted report on the school, which has 1389 students in its high school and 365 in its sixth-form college, said the school because of its specialist technology and vocational status was at the forefront of developing a wide range of courses matched to students' individual needs.

“The school plays a leading role in the growing collaboration between local schools and colleges and is thus able to extend the opportunities available. For gifted and talented students, there is a good range of additional examination courses and other challenges that are appreciated by students and parents,” says the report.

There is well-organised support for students who fund learning difficult and this results in consistently good progress.

The report says that teaching and learning are good overall. While there is some outstanding practice, there is too much variation in quality across subjects.

“Most lessons are well planned to match students' abilities and ensure good learning. Students are generally attentive and behave well, although both students and parents note that a minority of lessons are disrupted and that this is linked to the quality of teaching”.

While some subjects, including English, humanities and technology, provide students with very clear guidance on how well they are doing and what they are aiming for, this practice is not consistent across the school and marking is not always sufficiently helpful or frequent.

The report highlights the fact that achievement and standards at the school are good.

When students join the school in Year 7 their attainment is average but by Year 9 standards are above average, an improvement since the last inspection.

“Students make good progress in English, mathematics and science. All groups of students make equally good progress, including those who receive additional support for learning difficulties”.

There is some variation in students' performance of different subjects, with outstanding progress in mathematics, but weaker results in some other subjects.

The report says that the school's specialist technology and vocational status has a positive impact on the students' achievement with the school meeting most of its targets in the specialist subjects of technology and mathematics.

Developments in vocational education were leading to further rises in standards in the current school year.

The school's success was due to good leadership and management.

“The head teacher provides a clear direction that is well-focused on raising standards for all students. Planning is based on clear priorities and involves governors and leaders at all levels.

New developments in teaching and learning had brought a sense of enthusiasm to the school.

The school believes that the Ofsted report is a fair one and inspectors had acknowledged the school's strengths, including its strong leadership, commitment to inclusion and its continuing record of improvement.

“We are especially pleased to have received the accolade of outstanding in connection with our curriculum where we believe we offer the individualised opportunities which enable all young people to make progress,” said a senior management spokesman,

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