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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 09:58 GMT
'Best of the best' schools named
John King
Head teacher John King involves pupils in setting the curriculum
Seven schools have been dubbed "outstanding" for a third time in the annual report by England's education watchdog Ofsted.

Of these, three are comprehensives, three are grammar schools and one is a junior school.

To attain the outstanding status, schools have to perform well in exams and be highly rated for qualities such as teaching and discipline.

A further 43 have had two mentions in annual reports, which started in 1993.

This year, 393 schools and colleges are listed as praised for being outstanding.

Ofsted said these had "done particularly well on virtually all fronts", or "achieved highly against the odds".

One of the seven schools to be mentioned as outstanding a third time is Gable Hall School, a comprehensive in Stanford-le-Hope, Essex.


Its head teacher, John King, told the BBC News website that improving children's self-esteem was vital for success.

The school involves them in setting the curriculum and even has four pupils on its board of governors, although they do not vote.

Mr King said: "The area that we are in is pretty socially deprived. The key part of our job is raising children's aspirations.

"You have to show the children what's there to achieve and show them how to get through and support them."

The school's 14-year-olds choose one of three "pathways" - vocational, technical or academic - which can be combined.

Gable Hall, with 1,230 pupils aged 11 to 16, has recently become a specialist school, focusing on the performing arts.

Mr King said: "We chose performing arts because it helps improves pupils' self-esteem. This has an impact on the curriculum.

"The children should be involved at every stage in the running of their school. They have to become engaged."

Last summer, 76% of Gable Hall's final-year pupils gained five or more A* to C grades in GCSEs or equivalent. The national average for England was 53.7%.

The other comprehensives in the "magnificent seven" are The Downs School, Newbury, Berkshire, and Oxted School, Surrey.

The selective schools are: Henrietta Barnett, north London; Colyton Grammar School, Devon; and Heckmondwike Grammar School, West Yorkshire.

Woodlands Junior School in Tonbridge, Kent, is the only one listed for the primary sector.

Clicking the name of any school will take you to its most recent inspection report on the Ofsted website. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

Institution Location LEA
Three mentions
The Downs School Newbury West Berkshire
Gable Hall School Stanford-le-Hope Thurrock
The Henrietta Barnett School Hampstead Garden Suburb Barnet
Colyton Grammar School Colyton Devon
Oxted School Oxted Surrey
Heckmondwike Grammar School Heckmondwike Kirklees
Woodlands Junior School Tonbridge Kent
Two mentions
Atkinson Road Nursery School Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr Challoner's Grammar School Amersham Buckinghamshire
Invicta Grammar School Maidstone Kent
St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School Egham Surrey
Morpeth School - Tower Hamlets
St Peter's CofE School Paddington Westminster
Stratford School Forest Gate Newham
King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls Birmingham Birmingham
Birchley St Mary's Catholic Primary School Wigan St. Helens
Wirral Grammar School for Girls Wirral Wirral
Piper Hill High School Manchester Manchester
Rawmarsh Childrens Centre Rotherham Rotherham
Bottisham Village College Cambridge Cambridgeshire
Fowey Community College Fowey Cornwall
Penrice Community College St Austell Cornwall
Lindal and Marton Primary School Ulverston Cumbria
Arnside National CofE (VA) School Carnforth Cumbria
Weeley St Andrew's CofE Primary School Clacton-on-Sea Essex
Chipping Campden School Chipping Campden Gloucestershire
Hiltingbury Junior School Eastleigh Hampshire
Watford Grammar School for Girls Watford Hertfordshire
The Folkestone School for Girls Folkestone Kent
The Rochester Grammar School Rochester Medway
Morecambe and Heysham Westgate Primary School Morecambe Lancashire
Bury St Edmunds County Upper School Bury St Edmunds Suffolk
St Giles' CofE (Aided) Infant School Ashtead Surrey
South Wilts Grammar School for Girls Salisbury Wiltshire
St John The Divine CofE Junior Mixed and Infant School - Lambeth
St Stephen's CofE Primary School - Westminster
Turves Green Girls' School and Technology College Birmingham Birmingham
King Edward VI Aston School Birmingham Birmingham
St Sebastian's Catholic Primary School and Nursery Liverpool Liverpool
East Boldon Infants' School East Boldon South Tyneside
Overleigh St Mary's CofE Primary School Chester Cheshire
Newbarns Primary School Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria
Westcliff High School for Girls Westcliff-on-Sea Southend-on-Sea
Charles Kingsley's Church of England Primary School Hook Hampshire
Elms School Preston Lancashire
Rushey Mead School Leicester Leicester
Fernwood School Nottingham Nottingham
St Peter's Church of England Controlled Primary School Newport Telford and Wrekin
Therfield School Leatherhead Surrey
St John The Baptist Catholic Comprehensive School Woking Surrey
Source: Ofsted

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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