Traditional Core Values Pay Dividends at 'Civilised' School; Secondary Earns Inspectors' Praise

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Byline: Gareth Evans

PUPILS at a Welsh secondary school have been praised for their "outstanding" behaviour and respect.

Traditional core values remain central to Stanwell School's philosophy, and results are paying dividends.

Inspectors awarded the Penarth comprehensive top marks in all key questions, with learning, leadership and teaching worthy of Grade 1 status.

As a result of the school's good provision, students with special educational needs make outstanding progress and achieve high standards.

In his report, commissioned by education watchdog Estyn, William Gwyn Thomas described Stanwell as "very good with many outstanding features".

A major strength was leadership, which is of a very high quality at all levels, though stand-out performance in Key Stage 4 and the school's sixth form was also noted.

Pupils perform well above local, family and national averages in GCSE and A-level examinations.

According to Mr Thomas, students at Stanwell are proud to be members of the school, which they enjoy attending.

He said: "All pupils behave in an outstanding manner. A high priority is given within the school to respect for one another.

"Learners value the opportunities that the school provides for them on a daily basis and take exceptional pride in the superior quality of the buildings' interior. The school is a very civilised community in which all pupils are courteous and respectful."

Extra-curricular activities and partnerships with other organisations are also "outstanding", with good liaison between support services and outside agencies.

Teachers are accessible and supportive, and arrangements to eliminate bullying, discrimination and all forms of harassment are second to none.

Transition and induction arrangements are well accounted for, and there is considerable regard to different social, ethnic and linguistic groups.

Leadership is "inspirational" with an open and approachable management style and "rigorous" management of the school budget. The inspector concluded: "Resources across the school are outstanding. The investment in ICT contributes significantly to improving standards in teaching and learning.

"The accommodation provides an outstandingly positive and stimulating environment for learning."

Deputy head teacher Derek Jones said the governors, head and staff were very pleased with the report. …