Guidance

Ofsted 'achieving success' video suite

Case studies of good and outstanding schools and further education providers.

This guidance was withdrawn on

These videos have been withdrawn as they are older than 3 years and may no longer reflect current policy. Please see the School inspection handbook for more information about how we inspect.

Here you will find case studies of schools and further education providers that have improved to good or outstanding from either requires improvement or special measures. In other case studies, you will see how some institutions have successfully maintained good and outstanding practice over a number of years.

The leaders in these videos have taken different approaches. But they all have a relentless focus on improving standards through robust self-evaluation, effective teaching and learning, rigorous assessment and a curriculum which meets the needs of all students and learners.

Watch the short introduction video from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw and read about the schools and providers featured in the videos to decide which will be most useful for you.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector introduces the ‘achieving success’ video collection

Berkeley Primary School

From requires improvement to outstanding in 18 months.

Self-evaluation and action planning

Demanding action planning to quickly secure lasting improvement.

The Executive Headteacher states: “Where schools have resources that they are keeping for a rainy day, requires improvement is your rainy day, spend them then”.

Berkeley’s leaders and governors took urgent and effective action to set ambitious targets in a succinct action plan where monitoring the impact was constant and focused. Improving teaching quickly was right at the heart of the action plan and all staff played a role in the improvement journey.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Berkeley Primary School

Teaching, learning and assessment

Getting the basics right from the start to remove mediocrity and secure outstanding practice.

The Head of School describes how frank, regular discussions with all staff coupled with coaching support, helped leaders tackle weak teaching and ensure high levels of consistency across the school.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Berkeley Primary School

Penwortham Girls’ High School

The journey from good to outstanding.

Self-evaluation and action planning

Involving leaders on a regular basis to implement and evaluate actions across the school.

The head teacher used her understanding of the abilities and proven capacity of her leadership team to ensure that all leaders took ownership of key priorities. She secured a rapid journey to outstanding by setting high expectations, an ambitious culture, and by monitoring the action plan closely.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Penwortham Girls’ High School

Teaching, learning and assessment

Meticulous monitoring of teaching and sharing best practice to sustain outstanding teaching and learning.

Leaders have developed highly effective learning communities across subject areas, and all staff meet frequently to share best practice. A teaching and learning newsletter celebrates achievements in teaching and newly qualified teachers are recognised as catalysts for fresh, new ideas to improve practice.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Penwortham Girls’ High School

Netherfield Primary School

From inadequate to outstanding in 4 years.

Self-evaluation and action planning

Aspirational planning involving the whole school community .

The entire school community, children, parents, teachers, leaders and governors is involved in shaping the ambition for the school. The school uses a ‘Path’ (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope), to set the vision for the year ahead and reflect the culture and ethos of the school.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Netherfield Primary School

Teaching, learning and assessment

Strategies for helping individual teachers to improve.

Leaders help teachers to develop aspirational improvement plans to motivate and support them. They focus on identifying and sustaining outstanding practice and sharing this across the school.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Netherfield Primary School

Shenfield High School

The journey from requires improvement to good.

Self-evaluation and action planning

Decisive leadership and concise self-evaluation to drive school improvement.

Leaders worked with the whole school community to involve everyone in evaluating the impact of actions to secure improvement. Middle leaders were the engine in the journey to secure improvement.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Shenfield High School

Teaching, learning and assessment

How a ‘spirit of curiosity’ has improved teaching.

The main principle underpinning the teaching policy is making sure ‘every child is known and known well’. Teachers are empowered to take risks, learn from each other and continually reflect on their practice.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Shenfield High School

Curriculum

Broad and balanced, engaging and enjoyable - getting the curriculum right for all students.

Leaders at Shenfield want students to thrive. They listen to students about the values they want for their school, and ensure that these are reflected within a broad and balanced curriculum.

Achieving success: curriculum - Shenfield High School

Wheelers Lane Technology College

An outstanding school.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Trusting teachers to innovate in teaching, learning and assessment – one size doesn’t fit all.

Leaders stripped away a prescriptive planning model so that teachers felt trusted to try out new teaching strategies for mixed age teaching. A combination of greater freedom and close monitoring ensures students want to learn and achieve well.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Wheelers Lane Technology College

Curriculum

Rethinking the curriculum and timetable to give greater choice to students and deepen subject study.

At this boys’ school, leaders decided to give much greater choice by reorganising the timetable and immersing pupils in subject study. Leaders continually emphasise the importance of positive attitudes to learning to prepare pupils for employment or further training. They reinforce the links between the curriculum and pupils’ career aspirations.

Achieving success: curriculum - Wheelers Lane Technology College

John Ruskin College

A sixth form college that moved from inadequate to outstanding in 3 years.

Self-assessment and action planning

Establishing a culture for rapid improvement.

Leaders recognised the demands of the journey ahead and quickly worked with all staff and learners to establish a culture of high expectations and standards. They increased learner involvement in evaluation and improvement planning, and sought feedback from them on the quality of teaching and learning.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - John Ruskin College

Teaching, learning and assessment

Learning together in a culture of transparency and openness.

Leaders helped staff take gradual steps in the journey from inadequate to outstanding. They consulted staff, and staff took responsibility for developing their own practice and next steps. Leaders used a carefully planned three-year strategy to overhaul teaching and learning. This had a high impact on learners.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - John Ruskin College

Curriculum

Making radical changes to redesign the curriculum.

Leaders developed a detailed understanding of the locality and needs of employers to inform radical changes to the curriculum on offer at the college. They invested time in involving employers in planning vocational courses and apprenticeships to meet local and regional skills needs.

Achieving success: curriculum - John Ruskin College

3AAA – Aspire Achieve Advance

A large national independent learning provider judged outstanding at its first inspection.

Self-assessment and action planning

A self-assessment report in 1 page.

Leaders are relentless in setting high expectations for all learners, staff and stakeholders. They involve them in a continuous cycle of evaluation and self-assessment and use systematic and robust processes to check the impact of everyone’s work on the progress of apprenticeships.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Aspire Achieve Advance Limited

Teaching, learning and assessment

Innovative approaches to help learners achieve their goals.

3AAA took innovative approaches to off-the-job training, focused on apprentices’ employability and personal development skills. They introduced mandatory hours for off-the-job training for apprentices to help all learners develop the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to improve their employability.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Aspire Achieve Advance Limited

Curriculum

Outstanding practice in apprenticeship provision.

Leaders and employers make sure that learners receive detailed and accurate information, advice and guidance throughout their apprenticeship programmes. This supports progress to higher-level qualifications or the confidence to move to new employers or job roles.

Information, advice and guidance continue beyond the end of the learner’s apprenticeship to support with future career development.

Achieving success: curriculum - Aspire Achieve Advance Limited

Chichester College

The journey of a further education college from good to outstanding.

Self-assessment and action planning

Involving all managers in evaluating effectiveness.

Managers work closely with each other to moderate judgements across the college. They involve all curriculum managers in self-assessment ‘speed dates’ to evaluate the effectiveness of their provision and scrutinise all aspects of performance. They set focused targets and continuously improve the college as a result.

Achieving success: self-evaluation form / school development plan - Chichester College

Teaching, learning and assessment

Turning policy into outstanding practice.

An emphasis on exploration and reflection helps all staff to be more creative in their practice and evaluate the impact of this on outcomes for learners. Leaders emphasise that staff should teach the love of the subject and always ask for learner feedback. This has ensured a tight focus on improving quality and has led to innovation in teaching and learning.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Chichester College

Exeter College

The journey of a general further education college from good to outstanding.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Innovative approaches to teaching English and mathematics.

Leaders recruited new English and mathematics graduates in order to fill a skills gap in teaching provision. New graduates received a tailored package of training and support to develop their teaching practice. Leaders also helped all teaching staff to enhance their maths and English skills and embed these in their teaching.

Achieving success: teaching, learning and assessment - Exeter College

Curriculum

Embedding English and mathematics skills across study programmes.

Leaders work closely with local schools to ensure that students receive effective information, advice and guidance about their study programmes. They emphasise the importance of English and mathematics to their progress at the college and beyond.

Exeter College: curriculum

Blackpool and the Fylde College

The journey of a general further education college from good to outstanding.

Self-assessment and action planning

Innovative approaches to self-assessment to secure improvement.

Leaders and managers identify underperformance early through rigorous self-assessment. This enables them to intervene swiftly to improve and then to sustain improvement. The college’s ‘intensive care’ programme gives focused attention to particular areas of provision.

Blackpool and the Fylde College: self-assessment and action planning

Teaching, learning and assessment

Achieving outstanding through innovation in teaching.

The college introduced a teacher innovation programme. Peer-to-peer support encouraged staff to experiment with teaching and learning methods and evaluate the impact of these on learner outcomes.

Blackpool and the Fyle College: teaching, learning and assessment

Curriculum

Working with employers, partners and stakeholders to meet local and national priorities.

Focused work with a wide range of employers, partners and stakeholders ensures that the curriculum, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) meets local and national priorities and skills shortages. All stakeholders have a strong voice in shaping the curriculum so that learners can progress from entry level programmes through to higher education courses at the college.

Blackpool and the Fylde College: curriculum

New College Pontefract

The journey of a sixth form college from good to outstanding.

Self-assessment and action planning

Taking all leaders on the improvement journey.

The college holds all leaders to account for analysing information about outcomes, including subject leaders, senior leaders and governors. Leaders maintain a relentless pace to keep everyone appraised of the findings from evaluation and self-assessment, and the actions required as a result.

New College Pontefract: self-assessment and action planning

Teaching, learning and assessment

Setting shared priorities for teaching and learning.

The college introduced ‘six pillars of teaching and learning’ to support their approach and apply it across the college. Leaders encourage innovation, sharing and mentoring among teaching staff and measure the impact of this on outcomes for learners.

New College Pontefract: teaching, learning and assessment

Curriculum

Changing the curriculum to meet the needs of students and employers.

The college engaged closely with learners, staff and employers to develop a curriculum that meets skills shortages in their area, and beyond. Putting a long-term plan in place enabled leaders to steadily introduce changes, balancing vocational and academic provision.

New College Pontefract: curriculum

Published 7 August 2015