The best and worst schools in Southwark according to Ofsted


Southwark has a huge range of schools all around the borough.

In terms of Ofsted ratings, it’s a mixed bag. Some schools received Outstanding while others were rated as Requires Improvement.

Notably, no schools in Southwark are currently Inadequate.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, more commonly known as Ofsted, is an independent, impartial body that reports directly to Parliament.

It is responsible for inspecting any service providing education or skills to learners of all ages, as well as striking fear into the heart of teachers up and down the country.

Schools, colleges, academies or other institutions are rated from the coveted “Outstanding” to “Requires Improvement” or even “Inadequate”.

These rankings are not just important tools for the schools themselves, but they’re also good information for parents to have.

That’s why we’ve listed all the Southwark schools (both primary and secondary) that were ranked “Outstanding” by Ofsted, as well as those told they must improve.

Find them below and view the full Ofsted reports here.

First up, it’s the schools rated Outstanding:

Albion Primary School

Albion Primary School

Albion, a primary school consisting of 199 pupils aged three-11, was rated Outstanding at its last full inspection in October 2011.

This “smaller than average” primary school was said to have “an outstanding quality of education” by the inspector.

The inspector added that “it serves its local community exceptionally well” and “leaders, managers and members of the governing body work successfully together”.

Most importantly, the inspection concludes: “Pupils’ caring attitudes towards one another, strong teamwork skills, respect for pupils from a wide variety of different cultures and generous charity fundraising are evidence of their excellent spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development.”

Angel Oak Academy

This mixed school for three to 11-year-olds was rated Outstanding in October 2017 and does not have any previous inspections.

Highlights of its review include the fact that pupils’ progress and attainment are “rising at an impressively rapid and sustained rate”.

The curriculum is also highlighted as “innovative and tailored closely to pupils’ needs”. Pupils learn a strong system of values, based partly on its ‘Rights Respecting School’.

Boutcher Church of England Primary School

Boutcher had a full inspection, in which it was rated Outstanding, all the way back in May 2008, but did have an interim inspection in January 2011, in which the high standard of the school was judged by Ofsted as having been “sustained”.

In its original assessment, inspectors said: “The school provides an outstanding all-round education for its pupils in an oasis of peace, happiness, and calm within a very busy area of London.”

They continued: “By the end of Year 6, standards are higher than average in English, mathematics, and science. This is very impressive as many pupils join the school with lower than expected skills.”

The Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overy

As is typical with Outstanding schools, the last inspection of this mixed primary school was a while ago in October 2008. At the time, this 300-year-old school received a sparkling review.

Valuing children’s enjoyment of learning, pupils say they like their teachers because they “explain things so that you understand and they teach you in a fun way”.

Overall, inspectors concluded: “Pupils are enriched at this school, as they receive a thoroughly rounded and exciting education. There is an excellent focus on health and fitness and pupils have a very well developed understanding about the dangers of the world around them.”

Charles Dickens Primary School

Last inspected in July 2009 and going through an interim inspection in 2011, this school of 455 pupils is “an outstanding school where pupils’ achievement is excellent”.

The inspector wrote: “Staff are dedicated to doing the best for the pupils. The care shown by adults is impressive.”

They went on: “The school is a very harmonious and inclusive place to be. The relationships between pupils, staff, parents and the community are exceptionally strong.”

The Charter School North Dulwich

In November 2009, this secondary school for 11-18-year-olds was rated as Outstanding, serving 1085 pupils in the best way it can.

Inspectors noticed there is “a powerful culture of continuous improvement in the school” and the school has continued to see improvement “year on year”.

They added: “The highly inclusive nature of the school owes much to the contributions students make. One example of many is the high quality and extent of peer mentoring. Behaviour is very good and often outstanding.”

Cherry Garden School

Rated as Outstanding in 2015 saw Cherry Garden continue its streak of excellent Ofsted ratings.

The inspector noticed that “teaching is consistently good” throughout the school and “children receive a very high level of individual support.

They continued: “Pupils are relaxed and happy learners. Their behaviour is excellent. It is exceptionally well managed by adults who ensure that relationships with staff and other pupils are warm and positive.”

Crampton Primary

This primary school for pupils aged 4 to 11 is made up of 193 students and received its last Ofsted inspection in February 2014.

Observations from inspectors found that “pupils respond well to their teachers’ very high expectations of them”.

They also wrote how pupils from different groups, including those with disabilities, often do very well because adults understand their individual needs to excel.

In summary, Ofsted said: “The school vision is everywhere and mutual respect and success for all are at the heart of the school’s work.”

Crawford Primary

This school was rated Outstanding in 2013, a huge leap from its previous Satisfactory rating.

The inspector said that teachers and other staff behind the school “have secured significant improvements since the last inspection. Their unwavering commitment to raising achievement ensures teaching, learning and curriculum are of the highest quality.

Standards of all pupils at the end of Year 6, including pupils with disabilities and special educational needs, are above the national average.

In conclusion the report said: “Pupils and staff respect each other and are unfailingly polite and courteous. Pupils from different backgrounds play well together creating a friendly, happy atmosphere.”

Dulwich Hamlet Junior School

Dulwich Hamlet Junior School

The previous school closed and a new one opened when this school became an Academy in April 2011. It has not yet had an inspection as the new academy converter.

It received Outstanding at its last inspection in September 2008, and the report said: “Pupils do very well because the staff work hard to provide such a stimulating curriculum that, the words of one parent, ensures that ‘every child is given opportunities to flourish and develop their full potential.”

You can’t officially take the previous Ofsted rating once a school has converted to an academy, although the rating is taken into account to judge when the new school’s next inspection should be.

Dulwich Village Church of England Infants’ School

This mixed school of four to seven-year-olds has 234 pupils and was rated Outstanding at its last inspection in 2008.

Inspectors found: “Pupils want to learn because teachers make the work interesting and enjoyable and have high expectations for what pupils can achieve.”

The report continued: “[Pupils] show a very strong awareness of right and wrong, and understand the concept of fairness.”

They also “take full advantage of the healthy options available at lunch and the extensive opportunities for physical exercise, including active play.”

Harris Academy Bermondsey

This secondary school for girls has 730 pupils and was judged as Outstanding in its last inspection in April 2015.

Inspectors said: “Students are spirited, energetic, courteous, and well-mannered. They are also very caring and supportive towards one another.”

The students were also described as “enthusiastic learners who willingly take responsibility”.

Ilderton Primary School

In the school’s last full inspection on June 18 (2015), they received Outstanding in every category they were assessed in.

According to the report “the executive headteacher and head of school have created a culture of inclusion, commitment and success for all.

John Donne Primary School

The school has an outstanding rating since being converted to an Academy in January 2014.

John Ruskin Primary School

The school was rated Outstanding by Ofsted in January 2009 so it had a monitoring visit in October 2018.

The report from this latest visit included comments like “leadership is strong”, “teachers have high expectations” and “the school’s vision ‘Be responsible, be fair, stay positive and care’ is borne out by the exemplary behaviour and attitudes of all the pupils in the school”.

Kingsdale Foundation School

Kingsdale for 11-18-year-olds received Outstanding at its inspection in June 2017, having progressed from a Good at the previous inspection.

Highlights from the report include describing leaders as “tenacious in their pursuit of outstanding outcomes for pupils” and referencing how the school is a “harmonious environment where pupils learn how to be successful in modern Britain”.

Notre Dame Roman Catholic Girls’ School

After being inspected in November 2012, the school received an Outstanding rating in all categories.

The report was glowing, explaining that “students make exceptional progress regardless of their academic ability or background when they join the school.”

Phoenix Primary School

It had its last full inspection in June 2015, reaching an Outstanding despite getting a good in the previous inspection.

Leadership is described as having “unrelenting focus” and “strength”, governors are “ambitious” and pupils have “impeccable” behaviour and are “rightly very proud of the standard of their work”.

Redriff Primary School

Redriff has an Outstanding rating after becoming an Academy in February 2012.

Riverside Primary School

Riverside Primary School

Riverside was last inspected in October 2011 and received Outstanding.

The reported noted that the school “meets the needs of its pupils very effectively, so that they are exceptionally well prepared for their future lives”.

A parent said: “The teachers really care about the children being happy as well as doing well academically”.

Sacred Heart Catholic School

The school converted to an Academy in January 2013.

While you can’t judge the school entirely on its previous inspection before it was an Academy, it is worth noting it had a full inspection in December 2012 and received Outstanding.

Spa School, Bermondsey

The Spa School converted to an Academy in September 2018 and has not yet been inspected.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School

St Joseph’s received an Outstanding in their Ofsted inspection in 2012.

Most notably, the report said the school is “much loved in the local community” and “pupils’ achievement is outstanding”.

St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School

This school was awarded Outstanding status all the way back in January 2007 and it had an interim assessment in July 2010 to check whether it needed assessing again – which the conclusion was ‘no’ because it was still doing very well.

St Michael’s Catholic College

St Michael’s was converted to an Academy and assessed in 2013, when it achieved Outstanding in all its categories.

The report said: “[The headteacher] believes passionately that all students, whatever their backgrounds, are entitled to a high quality education,”

It also said: “GCSE results are well above the average. Progress and results in mathematics are exceptionally good.”

St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Church of England School

This girls’ school for 11-18-year-olds received Outstanding in its full inspection in March 2009.

Highlights from the report include how “the school, judged outstanding at the time of its previous inspection, has not rested on its laurels. It has continued to develop at an astounding pace, for example in securing very high achievement among its students and by expanding and improving the sixth form”.

St Thomas the Apostle College

St Thomas the Apostle College

It received Outstanding in a very recent inspection in December 2018.

Staff at the school “go the ‘extra mile’ to make sure pupils achieve, feel cared for and thrive within a supportive and productive learning environment”.

And “pupils’ attitudes to learning are highly positive”.

Surrey Square Primary School

Surrey Square converted to an Academy in September 2018.

Tuke School

After it’s full inspection, where it received Outstanding, in 2011, Tuke had a short inspection in June 2016 where it was judged to still be outstanding.

It is described as being “fully committed to an inclusive approach to learning”.

The report also said: “The school is a welcoming and inspirational place. Leaders have successfully adapted the provision to meet the changing needs of pupils based at the school. There are now more pupils with severe learning difficulties and autistic spectrum disorders and fewer pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties.”

Next up are the Southwark schools who received a Requires Improvement rating:

Charlotte Sharman Primary School

This school has had very mixed reviews since it opened in the early noughties.

It’s most recent in November 2018 judged that it requires improvement because its quality of teaching, learning and assessment is “too variable to secure consistently good outcomes across the school”.

It also requires improvement in its leadership and management and its outcome for pupils.

Cobourg Primary School

It was last judged as requiring improvement in June 2018 across all categories.

Leaders have not “secured consistently good teaching” and “teachers’ expectations are not high enough” according to the report.

It adds that “too few children make good progress in the early years”.

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Oliver Goldsmith Primary School

Oliver Goldsmith Primary School

The school was rated as Requires Improvement in October 2018, although its personal development category and early years provision category received a Good rating.

It mentioned that since the previous inspection, leaders have been slow to make “sustained improvements”.

Also “where teaching is poorly planned, work is not well matched to pupils needs”.

Robert Browning Primary School

Unfortunately, after a series of Good inspections, this school got a Requires Improvement in November 2017.

The report said: “Since the last inspection, there has been a decline in pupils’ achievements.

“The quality of teaching is improving but remains variable.”

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St John Walworth Church of England Primary School

Quite surprisingly, this school went from an Outstanding rating in June 2009 to a Requires Improvement in September 2018.

The Ofsted report said: “In 2017, the pupils’ progress and attainment in writing at the end of key stage 2 were well below the national averages.”

Also “teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve are not high enough”.



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