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City secondary school judged outstanding by Ofsted

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A city secondary school has leapt from satisfactory to outstanding in just three years.

Babington Community College, in Beaumont Leys, has been given the good news by Ofsted inspectors who visited the 700-roll school before the Easter holidays.

The inspectors said students were making outstanding progress at the school and the overall quality of teaching was outstanding.

Head teacher Denise Newsome, who has led the school since 2008, said: "I'm delighted with this news. It recognises all the hard work of staff, students, parents and governors. It's been a real team effort and I'm incredibly grateful."

When Mrs Newsome took over, 20 per cent of pupils were achieving the Government's benchmark of five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths, at GCSE.

Babington's results last summer were its best-ever, with 45 per cent of pupils achieving the benchmark.

That figure is still below the national average of 59 per cent, however, inspectors said pupils' achievement was still rising strongly.

They highlighted the school's rigorous tracking of pupils' progress so under-achievement can be quickly identified and support put in place.

Inspectors praised the head teacher for being an "inspirational" principal and said staff considered her "phenomenal" for her relentless drive for improvement.

Mrs Newsome said: "We've raised the bar in terms of pupil aspiration. They know they need to aim high and with hard work they can achieve whatever they want to. As part of that, we've developed strong links with universities so students get a feel for what it's like.

"We have audited every teacher's strengths so they can share their knowledge and practice with others, and we have a good relationship with parents so they can be part of their children's learning.

"Every child is closely monitored. As the report points out, this isn't about headline figures, it's about the progress every pupil makes, whether they start late in year 10 or 11 or arrive not speaking any English at all.

"I passionately believe every child can have a bright future and we can make a difference as teachers. That is what's behind my relentless drive."

Inspectors said teachers planned appropriate tasks to match pupils' abilities, behaviour was good and the school provided outstanding support to improve literacy, particularly for those students newly-arrived in the country.

Teacher training was highlighted as consistently good or outstanding. To improve even further they said even more of the teaching should be outstanding.

Pupil Abdlahi Hassan, 14, said: "I think Babington's outstanding because of the behaviour system and the way teachers get the best out of everyone.

Fellow student Molly Fitzjohn, 16, said: "Teachers always take extra time to help you succeed."

In February, Mrs Newsome was told the school was among the 100 most improved in the country for pupil progress last summer and was congratulated by schools minister David Laws.

Leicester West MP Liz Kendall said: "This is a phenomenal achievement, and every student and member of staff deserves huge praise.

"Backed by strong support from the council, Babington has shown we can achieve outstanding schools in all parts of our city."

Vi Dempster, ward councillor for Beaumont Leys and the city council's cabinet lead for schools, said: "My congratulations go to all those at Babington and particularly the head teacher."

Work began to rebuild the school last week as part of a £13 million redevelopment under the city council's Building Schools for the Future programme.

City secondary school judged outstanding by Ofsted


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