Bohunt Education Trust and The Costello School Set Out Vision


Bohunt Education Trust (BET), which already sponsors three high-performing schools in Hampshire, and the Costello School have today set out their vision for the school after it was announced last week that it would be joining BET.

BET, which has been providing support and advice to the school since January, has set out its plans to drive up standards and build on existing strengths. This follows the school’s recent Ofsted inspection, which said that “BET is to be commended for agreeing to provide senior leadership support, at short notice”.

Philip Avery, Director of Education at BET, who has been acting co-head at the school since BET instigated support, said:

“From the first day Bohunt Education Trust began supporting The Costello School in January, we – together with the Board of Governors and senior leaders – have been exploring and evaluating  what the school is doing well, and areas where it can improve. The Ofsted report outlines many strengths, including its inclusive community, strong curriculum, the strategies in place that will improve standards, and the quality of the Personal Development, Behaviour and Wellbeing at the school.

“BET has a proven track record of being a school improvement provider across the South East of England, as well as sponsoring high-performing schools in the local area. As the school joins BET, we will be continuing to work hard, alongside students, staff and the whole school community, to drive improvement and provide students with a high-quality education which delivers outstanding results.”

The report, which rates the school as ‘Requirements Improvement’, says the school’s inclusive community “celebrates individual students’ differences, and promotes tolerance and equality effectively”. It highlights the strong school curriculum across both academic and vocational pathways, which leaders are “increasingly tailoring to the specific needs of each student at the school”. Inspectors also praised the senior leaders responsible for the pastoral care of students, being “unwavering in their attempts to maintain good behaviour and strong levels of well-being among students.”

Regarding leadership, inspectors praised the way in which the acting co-headteachers, Philip Avery and Gary Green, have “quickly acquired a realistic evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the school”, recognising that they “know what is working well and what needs to improve urgently”. The report also highlighted that leaders at the school are clear about their roles and “share a common purpose, that is to return The Costello School to the school parents believe it should be”.”

Inspectors noted other positive aspects of the school, including:

  • Leaders have focused on raising standards of teaching overall, and effective systems for school improvement have been put in place.
  • Parents commended the school’s transition arrangements, which help students settle quickly and “get off to a good start” at the school.
  • In 2017, GCSE results had improved on the year before, indicating that planned improvements were underway, which was notably the case in the Progress 8 measure. Leaders showed inspectors clear evidence that these improvements are set to continue, so that outcomes in 2018 will be better again.
  • Inspectors also recognised that pupils are safe in the school. In addition the “pastoral care of pupils is good, and is aided by a dedicated and committed team.” Pupils are supported skillfully to develop resilience. Those facing personal challenges benefit from endlessly available pastoral team leaders who know the pupils well.
  • Parents that spoke to inspectors are optimistic about the future direction of the school and said that they were “looking forward to positive changes being made by new headteachers.”
  • Teaching is set to improve quickly with the wider distribution of existing expertise and the external support of the trust.
  • Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are cared for well and are supported to make steady progress.
  • Pupils benefit from good quality independent careers advice and guidance which means they are well prepared for their next stage of education, employment or training.

Hilary Todd, Chair of Governors at The Costello School, said:

“The Costello School is a school with many attributes to be successful across the board, which is underpinned by a culture of good behaviour amongst our students. It is very encouraging that the strategies for improvement that are being implemented have been recognised by Ofsted. The support lent by BET to the school has been invaluable and we are delighted to be joining the Trust as we continue to work hard to drive standards and improvement, to ensure our students are receiving a first-class education.”