Ofsted inspectors recently visited the school and its boarding house. The school was rated as ‘requires improvement.’ The inspectors’ report acknowledges the progress new headteacher, Steven Henneberry has made since his appointment in February (2023).
With a new leadership team, including a new head of boarding and deputy headteacher, inspectors noted:
- Leaders are now taking appropriate steps to establish a respectful and caring environment between pupils and staff.
- Leaders have raised their expectations of pupils’ behaviour.
- Leaders have high aspirations for the achievement of all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
- In recent months, leaders have placed greater emphasis on how well staff are supported to deliver the curriculum.
- The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Leaders have recently made considerable and appropriate changes to how safeguarding incidents are reported and recorded by staff.
The report from Ofsted who visited the school in May, listed six areas where the school needs to improve. In response to the Ofsted reports, Headteacher Steven Henneberry and a new senior leadership team have put together an ambitious three year improvement plan.
“We’re pleased that inspectors could see the changes we’ve made were already making a difference. The focus is on a new approach in the classroom, a positive change in the school community and students’ personal development.
“We’ll be relaunching student residentials and team-building days, making form tutor time more productive, continuing the good work of the pastoral team, and ensuring that the themes of respect and inclusivity are woven into the curriculum.
“Students will benefit from lots more interactive lessons, lots of checks on understanding, and subject teachers spotting the gaps in knowledge so that every student can learn as effectively as possible.
“Work’s also underway to ensure students meet the school’s high expectations of conduct and behaviour. Each student matters, and we are working to create a positive environment so that all students achieve their full potential,” adds Steven.
Ofsted also inspected the school’s boarding house provision in March. The boarding house was rated as ‘requires improvement.’
In a letter to boarding students, inspectors said it was clear that Mr Henneberry and his team want to make things better, have good plans to do this and that the staff care for and want the best for pupils. They wrote, ‘You all told us that the best thing about boarding is the friends you make. We both felt that there was a real sense of community and that you respect each other’.
There were other positives in the inspectors’ report. They said there are no serious or widespread failures that result in pupils’ welfare not being safeguarded or promoted. That the designated safeguarding lead is experienced and knowledgeable and takes decisive action and there are plans already in place to address some issues they flagged.
“We were pleased that Ofsted spoke to boarders and found many had a positive boarding experience. Our boarders bring a unique dimension to school life, making it a great place to learn. They’re living away from home, developing independence and resilience, as well as improving their language skills. So it’s really important that they have a great experience.”
The school says they would welcome visits from any prospective parents and children, to see for themselves the school, sixth form and boarding house.