Our Ofsted Report - October 2012

Excellent results, a national award and now an Ofsted report that praises outstanding leadership, an innovative curriculum and exemplary methods of safeguarding

The continued success of The Barlow has been recognised in our recent Ofsted Report. Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education who visited the school on 16th and 17th October 2012, praised pupils, staff and governors and stated that 'under passionate, visionary leadership, the school is going from strength-to-strength.'

Inspectors were so impressed with standards in all aspects, they upped the school's grading to 'Good'. They added that The Barlow would achieve an 'outstanding' status in the near future, by following recommendations set out to them.

Headteacher Claire McCarron said,"We are delighted the Inspectors recognised that the school has improved rapidly in all aspects since our last inspection only 18 months ago. It is a great testament to the hard work of staff and students alike. We are securely on track and just one short step away from becoming an outstanding school; a goal that we are determined to achieve. We have already implemented additional changes to deliver the areas of further improvement identified in the report."

Inspectors reported that The Barlow is innovative in developing the curriculum with attainment significantly above average. Pupils achieve well because teaching is consistently good. They stated that behaviour is also consistently good; outstanding in some lessons and that The Barlow has exemplary methods of safeguarding pupils. Bullying is not tolerated and staff at the school go the extra mile to ensure all children are safe and happy. 

The full Ofsted report can be viewed here

It has been an excellent year for The Barlow with GCSE results rising significantly for the fourth year in succession. In 2012, 95% of the pupils achieved at least 5 A*- C grades, with 74% including English and Maths. These outstanding results placed The Barlow yet again as one of the highest performing secondary schools in Manchester. In July 2012, The Barlow also received national recognition from The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT)for achieving some of the fastest improving GCSE results in the country.

Paul Chidgey, Chairman of the Governing Body at The Barlow added,"The new, rigorous Ofsted framework raised the bar, yet the report confirms progress at The Barlow is exceptional. Alongside the excellent exam results and our award, itis a wonderful reflection of the hard work and enthusiasm of all the staff who Ofsted state, 'share the same vision to make the school even better and know how they are going to achieve this goal.'"


Comments from OFSTED Report about our school


  • Under the outstanding leadership of the Headteacher, the school has improved rapidly in all respects since the last inspection 18 months ago.
  • Under the passionate, visionary leadership of the Headteacher, the school is going from strength-to-strength.
  • A team of committed and dedicated professionals determined to improve this good school further.
  • Leadership of teaching has led to strong improvements in its quality.
  • The Governing Body have a deep knowledge of the school's strengths.


  • In the last 2 years pupils have made such good progress that by the end of Year 11, attainment is significantly above average.
  • Pupils are exceeding expectations so that more pupils are achieving the higher levels.
  • Pupils achieve well in lessons.
  • Nearly all pupils progress to higher-level courses after Year 11.

Learning & Teaching

  • Good and outstanding lessons are characterised by a brisk pace and a good balance of activities.
  • All pupils achieve well because teaching is consistently good across the school.
  • The school is innovative in developing the curriculum.
  • There is a strong focus on literacy.
  • Literacy is promoted across all subjects.

Behaviour / Safety

  • Behaviour is now consistently good and is outstanding is some lessons.
  • Exemplary methods of safeguarding its pupils and goes the extra mile to ensure they are safe and happy.
  • Pupils enjoy school and feel proud to attend here
  • Bullying is not tolerated.
  • Pupils feel safe and free from harassment.
  • Pupils very much enjoy the challenge of being given leadership roles.
  • Pupils make a good contribution to the local and wider community through their fund-raising.

About Ofsted

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. It reports directly to Parliament and is independent and impartial. School inspections are required by the government to help parents judge how good a school is and to help schools improve the quality of teaching and learning. Ofsted writes independent reports of the quality of schools, checks whether pupils are achieving as much as they can and publishes the results on its website.

Download 'School Inspections - a Guide for Parents'

Parent ViewOfsted has a new online questionnaire that allows parents and carers to give their views on their child's school at any time of the year. Ofsted use this information to help make desisions about which schools to inspect and when. The results will also be available to inspectors at the point of inspection.

Give your views on the Parent View website

The 12 questions asked on Parent View were carefully chosen to ensure that they cover a range of issues which are important to parents but are equally designed to provide Ofsted with the right information to support decisions about inspection. Results are published in real-time and are available on the website for schools, parents/carers and the general public.

Ofsted inspects most schools every few years. The last inspection at The Barlow took place in March 2011. The inspectors observed 31 lessons, taught by 29 teachers, they held discussions with the Head Teacher, school staff, the Deputy Chair of the Governing Body, the school council and groups of students. They observed the school's work and analysed the responses to both parental and student questionnaires.