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The Bishop Bell CE Mathematics and Computing Specialist School, Eastbourne Diocese of Chichester Statutory Inspection of Anglican Schools Inspection Report

Date of inspection:

9 June 2010

Name of inspector:

Glyn Willoughby

NS inspector’s number:


School address:

Priory Road Eastbourne East Sussex BN23 7EJ

Unique reference number:



Voluntary Aided

Number on roll:


Age range of pupils:



East Sussex

Name of chair of governors:

Revd Canon Gordon Rideout

Name of headteacher:

Terry Boatwright (Executive Headteacher) and John Ross (Head of School)

Date of previous inspection:

3 & 4 October 2007

The inspection of denominational education and collective worship in the school was carried out in accordance with Section 48 of the Education Act 2005

Description of the school Bishop Bell is a large over-subscribed school with specialist status for mathematics and computing. The majority of pupils are of white British heritage. The number of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is in line with the national average. The Bishop Bell School was awarded High Performing Specialist School status in 2009 and leads a partnership with a local secondary school. The school has gained awards including the Bishop’s Commendation in 2010 for work with partnership primary schools.

The distinctiveness and effectiveness of The Bishop Bell CE Mathematics and Computing Specialist School as a Church of England school are outstanding. The Christian ethos that nurtures the supreme value of each person is lived out by all members of the school community. Christian beliefs and values underpin every aspect and dimension of the life of the school and are making a significant impact on the pupils. The pupils respond to the encouragement and support provided by the staff and gain a sense of self-worth as well as a realisation of their capacity to achieve their true potential.

Grade: 1 Established strengths •

The outstanding leadership of the executive headteacher and head of school.

The strong Christian ethos that has a significant impact on the personal development and academic achievement of all the pupils.

The positive impact of the staff and chaplain on the spiritual life of the school.

The quality of the relationships across the whole school between students and staff.

Focus for development •

Religious Education to become a model of best practice as a result of inspired teaching and by helping pupils to develop their own spirituality through reflection on their learning.

Regular and consistent pupil involvement in the planning and delivery of collective worship.

The school meets the statutory requirement for Collective Worship The school meets the statutory requirement for Religious Education

The Bishop Bell CE Mathematics and Computing Specialist School, Eastbourne: SIAS Inspection Report

Yes Yes


The school, through its distinctive Christian character is outstanding at meeting the needs of all its learners. The pupils thrive in the nurturing Christian ethos that prevails throughout the school, utilising the innovative curriculum to succeed academically, socially and spiritually. They speak confidently of how generosity and kindness are a hallmark of the Christian ethos of the staff in their school. The positive relationships with staff result in very good behaviour around the school and create a school environment that is conducive to learning and high achievement. The pupils recognise the hard work invested by the staff for their benefit and this inspires them to want to succeed. The school is outstanding at enabling the pupils to realise there is more beyond the accepted limitations of their lives. A pupil who plays basketball for England described how she has been helped and encouraged by the school staff ‘who gave me confidence’. Providing opportunities for spiritual development is central to the life of the school. The emphasis on spirituality across the whole school means all members of the school community are able to express and share their views very comfortably. One governor commented on how faith ‘is a very natural thing to talk about and is not forced or pressured at all’. The school provides an impressive range of activities that enable pupils to develop their social, moral and cultural skills. Many of the pupils take up these opportunities to contribute to the wider community, the school and to help younger pupils. There is considerable involvement of the pupils in raising money for charities both locally and internationally; for example, fund raising for Sierra Leone. A group of pupils spoke about how they gained in confidence and felt a real sense of achievement by being encouraged to write and perform a musical in order to raise money for a local hospice. Over seven hundred pupils submitted entries for the competition to design a stained glass window. The depth of the artistic development for the competition combined with other examples of spiritual art seen around the school shows how the pupils undertake a journey that deeply involves them in the creative Christian life of the school. The care-fully placed display of awards, art work and Christian symbols around the school presents a celebration of achievement and enhances the spiritual development of the pupils.



The impact of Collective Worship on the school community is outstanding. Worship plays an important role in the life of the school and in the development of its Christian character. Since the last inspection the school chaplain has been appointed and has carefully planned a varied and stimulating programme of school, year and tutor time worship. This programme enables all pupils to experience a diverse approach to worship and promotes spiritual growth as well as reinforcing Christian teaching and values. Weekly worship themes are provided for the entire academic year and a thought for the week is reflected upon in tutor time using skilfully produced resources. One parent said that ‘Worship is quite special and enjoyed by the children’. The weekly report on school worship in ‘Contact’, the school newsletter, provides further evidence of the importance of worship in the life of the school. A training programme developed since the previous inspection has enabled tutors to develop the skills required to effectively facilitate the tutor based worship. ‘I love tutor worship’ a pupil remarked, adding that ‘we talk it through and get deeper into the subject’. The school’s diverse programme of worship includes voluntary Eucharists, praise and prayer services as well as services in the local church. These occasions offer pupils and staff opportunities for creative and interactive worship, make a significant contribution to the pupils’ spiritual development and enable them to become more familiar with a range of Anglican tradition and practice. Senior leaders and governors regularly consult with the pupils in order to review the worship programme. As a result the need for regular and consistent pupil involvement in the planning and delivery of worship has been identified.



The Bishop Bell CE Mathematics and Computing Specialist School, Eastbourne: SIAS Inspection Report


The effectiveness of Religious Education is good. Since the last inspection standards in Religious Education (RE) have been in line with standards in other core subjects and the pupils have continued to make above average progress across each key stage. A new head of RE has been in post since September 2009 and, in response to the last inspection, professional development has been provided for staff who teach most RE as nonspecialists. All staff benefit from the support provided by the senior leaders. This will continue as the department aims to become a model of best practice as a result of inspired teaching and by helping pupils to develop their own spirituality through reflection on their learning. The quality of teaching seen during the inspection was very good and at times outstanding. Teachers with excellent subject knowledge were highly effective in engaging the pupils and challenging their thinking. In a Year 9 class considering Christian beliefs about marriage the teacher effectively built on each pupil’s prior learning throughout the lesson, culminating in a paired assessment allowing pupils to reflect upon their progress. All pupils made extremely good progress as their thinking was challenged through reflecting on the events during a church wedding service. In a Year 10 GCSE class the story of Christ’s passion was recounted. The lesson included a short film extract showing an emotional scene in which a hospital chaplain tried to reassure a frightened patient. In pairs the pupils then reflected upon how they would role-play the chaplain in the conversation with the patient. The insightful and sensitive opinions shared in the class discussion that followed indicate the high level of confidence the pupils have in their spiritual awareness and also was evidence of the positive, supportive ethos in the room. During a very good Year 7 lesson the pupils responded enthusiastically in a discussion on the use of various artefacts associated with prayer. The teacher’s excellent subject knowledge, combined with a carefully differentiated learning plan presented in a lively style, enabled the pupils to make very good progress. The pupils have a good knowledge of the Christian faith and also show respect for, and an understanding of, other faiths.

Grade: 2 The effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school as a church school is outstanding. The executive headteacher and the head of school both have a clear Christian vision for the school. Their continued commitment and inspired leadership, strongly supported by the experienced chair of governors, have embedded the nurturing ethos that is so effective in promoting the pupils’ spiritual development and academic attainment. The chair of governors describes how the ethos ‘comes top-down and right through the staff’. The school’s robust selfevaluation programme portrays an accurate picture of its strengths and the governors are closely involved in the review process, particularly in those aspects relating to its distinctive Christian character. Staff training on spirituality led by the head of school is very effective in promoting the spiritual dimension of the school and in helping staff to realise the Christian vision of the school leaders and governors. In turn, this has a significant impact upon the spiritual, moral and social development of the pupils as they respond to the encouragement and enthusiasm of the staff. The school’s Christian foundation is made explicit through its documentation, weekly newsletter and website. The chaplain is also extensively involved in the life of the school and has, as one pupil stated, ‘made a real difference’. There is strong mutual support between the school and its partners in the local church, the Diocese and the world wide church. Being awarded the Bishop’s Commendation for its work with local schools indicates the effectiveness of the school’s partnership within the community. The pupils are proud of the links with schools in Sierra Leone and Uganda. The school has received the International School Award in recognition of its global community work. Parents too are extremely supportive of the school and say how impressed they are with the support provided by the staff for their children. Referring to the pupils, a parent stated that ‘They leave here with a deep respect for themselves and for each other.’

Grade: 1

The Bishop Bell CE Mathematics and Computing Specialist School, Eastbourne: SIAS Inspection Report


Ofsted Sec.48 report. June 2010  

Section 48 Church Schools Ofsted inspection report. June 2010

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