Why some schools excel against the odds where others struggle

An Ofsted report published today showcases 12 schools in challenging circumstances that have been rated as 'outstanding' in at least two inspections and examines the elements that have created this success.

Read the press release









The outstanding schools in the sample succeed for the following reasons.

  • They excel at what they do, not just occasionally but for a high proportion of the time.
  • They prove constantly that disadvantage need not be a barrier to achievement, that speaking English as an additional language can support academic success and that schools really can be learning communities.
  • They put students first, invest in their staff and nurture their communities.
  • They have strong values and high expectations that are applied consistently and never relaxed.
  • They fulfil individual potential through providing outstanding teaching, rich opportunities for learning, and encouragement and support for each student.
  • They are highly inclusive, having complete regard for the educational progress, personal development and well-being of every student.
  • Their achievements do not happen by chance, but by highly reflective, carefully planned and implemented strategies which serve these schools well in meeting the many challenges which obstruct the path to success.
  • They operate with a very high degree of internal consistency.
  • They are constantly looking for ways to improve further.
  • They have outstanding and well-distributed leadership.

Download the whole report

Twelve outstanding secondary schools is available from its page as a single PDF and seven section PDFs.

Download the school's portrait