S48 Inspection Report
All Saints Church of England School
Local authority: Dorset
Dates of inspection: 20th and 21st October 2014
Date of last inspection: 11th November 2009
School’s unique reference number: 113896
Headteacher: Mr Paul Gray
Inspector’s name and number: Nick McKemey 280
All Saints Church of England School serves families from residential and rural areas of Weymouth and Portland. The majority of students are of white British heritage with a small minority from other ethnic backgrounds. All Saints is a smaller than average sized all-ability secondary school. The proportion of less advantaged students eligible for the pupil premium is below the national average but increasing. Nearly double the national average number of students are supported by school action plus or have a statement of special educational needs.
The highly effective and distinctively Christian character of All Saints School creates a purposeful and harmonious learning community.
The governing body and school leadership have a Gospel based vision for the school. This is successfully realised and embedded through weekly themes and closely related Christian values.
The shared experience of worship in tutor group, year group, whole school and in the parish church gives students a strong sense of belonging and identity.
Through an outstanding experience of worship and effective religious education students attain excellent Biblically referenced knowledge and profound understanding of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and the meaning of the Holy Trinity.
All Saints School enables students to become rounded individuals with high levels of theological and moral understanding and mindfulness. The highly dedicated school staff work as a team to take meticulous and unstinting care of all the students.
There are no significant areas for improvement.
All Saints School is a purposeful and harmonious learning community with an outstandingly distinctive and inclusive Christian character. “The ethos is supportive – like a family”, commented a number of students, staff and parents. Students feel secure and valued because the Christian principles of justice and compassion are applied uniformly to all issues involving behaviour and, in rare cases, exclusion. Both worship and religious education are salient features in the way life at All Saints School is shaped by a clear and distinctive Christian vision.
This vision is transmitted through weekly themes and related Christian values into every area of daily life. The students extend their understanding of Christian values and belief from across the whole curriculum. For example, the Big Bang Debating Society engages all years in scientific and theological discussion about the origin of life and students have translated Christian values into modern foreign languages. Students of other faiths and those of no faith feel fully valued as members of the All Saints’ community. Because of the strong Christian ethos in the school the students have a highly responsible approach to learning. This is underpinned by excellent behaviour and attendance, which are above national and local averages. Their overall achievement and progress is good and improving. They study in supportive fellowship with their peers and model the high standards of conduct exemplified by the staff. They have high levels of spiritual and moral literacy and well-developed skills in theological and philosophical enquiry. As a result of highly effective religious education All Saints’ students develop significant knowledge and understanding of Christianity. They also learn to understand, respect and explore the belief of other denominations, faiths and philosophies. Students regularly bring the religious and moral topics they have explored at school home for discussion with their families. They leave the school as socially and spiritually rounded and confident young people. One seventeen year old who left in the summer to go to sixth form said, “We miss the spirituality
of All Saints”.
Collective worship is the central factor that binds the whole school community together into a cohesive entity. Students readily identify the shared experience of worship in tutor group, year group, whole school and in the parish church as essential to their strong sense of belonging and identity. They take substantial responsibility for the planning and leadership of tutor group and year group worship. Through music, performing arts and Gospel readings students make significant contributions to whole school and church worship. This underlies the importance that worship holds in their lives and their absorption in its content. Worship is a rich and highly effective blend of Anglican, other Christian traditions and values focused content.
Students value, enjoy and participate in worship that marks the Church year, including Holy Communion, Christmas, Christingle and Taize services. As a result, students gain a secure knowledge and understanding of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, the significance of the Holy Trinity and related Biblical references. They also understand the challenges for Christianity in the modern world. Prayer is a core element of worship at All Saints and it enhances the spiritual life of the students. As a result they are familiar with The Lord’s Prayer and are proud they know the School Prayer by heart. Students have a mature grasp of the purposes of collective and private prayer. They regularly compose and contribute prayers for a variety of types of worship. Thus, they understand the range of purposes of prayer from quiet reflection to communication with God. A boy in Year 8 commented, “Prayer is for reflection on the needs of others not just for oneself”.
The high levels of theological and moral understanding that students gain at All Saints is substantially because the religious education provided is not just a core subject but also a core element in the school’s distinctive Christian mission. Learning in religious education is complemented by students’ experiences in worship and the wider curriculum. Students are absorbed in the content of lessons and make outstanding progress in knowledge and understanding due to highly effective teaching and secure, accumulative learning. The content of the curriculum is rich and challenging and carefully matched to each individual’s abilities. The encouragement of discussion, enquiry and reflection stimulates astute and thoughtful theological questions from students. Christianity is the substantive focus of the religious education curriculum but significant weight is given to the other major world faiths. This means students develop the ability to make mature evaluations of the differences and similarities in belief between faiths and denominations. For example, in Year 9 the students’ approach to examining an Islamic illustration of the final judgement was inquisitive and well informed. One asked, “do Muslims believe in purgatory”, this question stimulated thoughtful discussion in the class about the topic from a Christian perspective. As a consequence of outstanding religious education, students’ assessed outcomes match or surpass those in their other subjects. They also attained above the national average for religious studies in GCSE over recent years. Most are achieving at levels significantly beyond the expectation for their age. This is notably true of the GCSE students who also take an AS level in Philosophy and Ethics and attain well.
The leadership and management of religious education are outstanding. This is because not only are students successful in examinations but they also acquire wider skills in theological thinking and enquiry. These equip them to evaluate and address the spiritual, moral and ethical questions they encounter in their own lives in and beyond school. The use of dialogue and enquiry in teaching and learning, the baseline assessment in Year 7 and the challenging “stretch” built into the curriculum underpin this educational effectiveness. Relentlessly meticulous evaluation and improvement of all aspects of religious education at All Saints has resulted in improving standards and the successful resolution of arising issues affecting performance.
The governors, headteacher and school leadership have a clear and distinctive Gospel based vision for All Saints. This is effectively translated into everyday practice in and beyond the school. Achievement and progress compare well with local and national outcomes and continue to improve. Students and parents bear witness to the high quality of care, wellbeing and fairness they experience. The most significant outcome of outstanding leadership and management are the positive attributes that the students possess when they graduate at the end of Year 11. They have outstanding spiritual insight and moral perspective, high personal aspirations and a deep appreciation of the value of belonging to a united and cohesive
community. They are mindful young world citizens with a strong sense of identity. The outstanding distinctiveness and effectiveness of All Saints School is the result of integrated teamwork by all concerned with each element fulfilling its role successfully. The governing body as a whole and, in particular, the Ethos Committee provide highly knowledgeable and effective monitoring, challenge and support to the church school. The headteacher and senior staff provide highly effective distributed leadership, evaluation and strategic planning. The leadership are constantly re-evaluating the distinctive aspects of the school and work is in progress on further deepening of personal spirituality in students. The deputy head and head of religious education play pivotal roles in worship and religious education respectively. This collegiate approach results in the whole staff supporting the Christian ethos with creative and effective contributions through curriculum content and tutor group worship. “There is a warmth to this school”, commented a maths teacher. The leadership and management ensure the distinctive Christian character of the school extends through every strand of daily life. The NS 09 2013 SIAMS Inspection School Report chaplaincy arrangements enable the Church to have a pastoral role in the school for all members of the community. All Saints is a strongly outward looking school with a giving ethos. There are numerous outreach and volunteering activities, which include the valued work the science and language departments, are doing with local primary schools.