Ofsted – Outstanding (December 2011)
‘Southend High School for Girls is an outstanding school. All aspects of the school’s work are excellent and the great majority of parents, carers and students are extremely pleased with the quality of education and the care , guidance and support it provides.’
Southend High School for Girls is a girls’ grammar school based at the eastern side of Southend. There are currently 1054 students who come from the top 26% of the ability range. 180 girls are admitted each year. The majority arrive with level 5 from KS2. There are 290 in the sixth form including 45 boys.
The school was founded in 1913 and moved to the present site in 1957. This year is the centenary. The buildings are situated in beautiful grounds which include tennis courts, hockey pitches and outstanding facilities for athletics. Inside there are nine laboratories, over 500 computers, a new sports hall, with fitness suite, an art and technology block, a well-stocked library, sixth form block and specialist facilities and rooms for media, music and dance. There is a new kitchen and cafeteria.
‘The curriculum is innovative in providing an outstanding range of opportunities to ensure students study the subjects they want, and have enrichment activities that widen their experiences.’
The senior team was delighted when one of the Ofsted inspectors said “the school is at the forefront of innovation”. Year 7 have a ‘flexible Friday’ every other week when they concentrate on one topic for a whole day. For example they learn about a medieval village by enacting it with lord and knight and peasants. We create similar curriculum days for all year groups. This facilitates group and team work and develops the students’ ability to articulate their ideas. All students take two languages at KS3 and at least one to GCSE. Almost all students take triple science at GCSE. At A’ level the school offers over twenty subjects.
‘Teaching is excellent, never less than good and effective in promoting outstanding progress and sustained high levels of achievement.’
The school has a long and well established tradition of academic excellence. It is one of the most successful schools in Southend, and is regularly in the top 100 state schools nationally. The majority of our students stay on in the sixth form and after A’ levels go on to Higher Education, mostly to the best universities and colleges.
‘Students’ progress is outstanding’
We believe that our bright students have the right to the best teaching: teaching and learning are our core purpose. We hold Investors in People status. There is a strong commitment to CPD for all staff in the school; there is rigorous training for trainee teachers and NQTs as well as opportunities at middle and senior management level. Teachers are well supported by accomplished associate staff.
The school has an extensive outreach programme. It leads on promoting the teaching of Languages at primary level, coordinates the Borough’s Music Services, facilitates primary PE events and has a Fronter (VLE) ambassador on the staff. We are also involved in innovative work in maths across the Borough and lead on ITT for the South Essex TSA. We have a tradition of dialogue with and support of other schools. In 2014 the school will take responsibility for the Southend SCITT.
‘The range of out of school activities is excellent and extremely well supported by students.’
Education here extends well beyond examinations. There are numerous and challenging opportunities for students: the engineering scheme, World Challenge, project work in Namibia and Vietnam, maths challenge, ski trips, visits to theatres, concerts, lectures and art galleries. The school is regularly in the finals of the National Athletics and Cross Country. The athletics team came fifth in the World School Games in the Czech Republic in 2013. About 150 girls take instrumental lessons and drama and music play a central role in the life of the school. Many Year 9 take their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Some progress to Silver and Gold. The school has three times been awarded the coveted International Award which acknowledges the extensive work done in the curriculum to promote international understanding.
We have also gained the Healthy Eating Award, Eco-school status and Arts Mark Gold.
‘Pastoral arrangements are outstanding and class tutors have exceptionally good relationships with their students.’
SHSG is known for its pastoral care and has a reputation as a happy school. There is a strong team of Learning Managers responsible for each year group. In addition there is a House system which encourages students to take responsibility and to work for others. The school regularly raises over £10K a year for charity.
The school has always aimed to help young women develop independent, open minds, curiosity and a keen sense of responsibility. We want them to relish their learning and their experiences, to attain a very good education and to have the resilience and strength of character to enjoy a fulfilling life and contribute to their community.