We’ve produced these FAQs to provide more information about the two Ofsted inspections in March and May 2023, of the boarding house and the school.
What were the two Ofsted inspections?
One was for boarding and the other was for the school. They are separate processes, but with each taking place over two days and involving at least two inspectors. Coincidentally, Ofsted gave permission to release the two reports in the same week. The first inspection, of the boarding house, was Tuesday 14 to Thursday 16 March 2023 under Ofsted’s social care common inspection framework. The second inspection was a school inspection between Wednesday 24 and Friday 26 May 2023.
What’s the difference between the two Ofsted inspections?
The boarding house inspection looks at the quality of care, under the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF). The school however is inspected under the Education Inspection Framework and looks at quality of education, behaviour and attitudes of students, student personal development and the leadership and management of the school.
Where can I find both Ofsted reports?
What triggers an inspection?
Our boarding and school were last inspected in 2018 and 2017 respectively. Both inspections fall into Ofsted’s standard three-year cycle for provision that was rated good – allowing for the temporary cessation of inspections during the pandemic.
What are the different ratings?
Currently, there are four overall judgements that Ofsted can reach about schools and boarding provisions: outstanding; good; requires improvement; and inadequate.
Surely this is a disappointing set of results?
We are incredibly ambitious about every student having the best experience here: from their learning to developing as a person and being part of a caring and thriving school community. We are pleased that inspectors saw the results of changes being made by our new head, Steven Henneberry, as part of a wide ranging improvement plan for the school and boarding house. The school’s three year plan goes beyond the focus of Ofsted’s. For our school community, the head, school leaders and governors, it’s the start of an exciting, progressive, and impactful journey, with consistency and stability at its core.
It means building on actions each year to support three priorities around learning, community, and personal development.
How does Ofsted follow up, when will they be back?
Ofsted say that where schools are judged as ‘requires improvement’, the school will receive a graded inspection again within a period of 30 months. But we also challenge ourselves to provide the highest quality of education and boarding provision. As Ofsted inspectors noted, ‘Governors are eager to make rapid gains in the quality of education for pupils. To this end, they provide robust challenge to leaders’.
Who will drive forward the school action plan?
It will be the responsibility of the new headteacher and new deputy headteacher, supported by the senior leadership team. And ultimately held to account by governors and Ofsted when they return to check on our progress.
What improvement can we expect?
We’ll be relaunching student residentials and team-building days, make form tutor time more productive time, continue the good work of the pastoral team, and ensure themes of respect and inclusivity are woven into the curriculum. Teaching and learning are changing in the classroom. Pupils 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 all students achieve their full potential.
I’ve still got questions, where can I find out more, who can I contact?
You can find more information here about the boarding house. You can also contact use via the enquires Gateway on Synergy, directing your questions to either the boarding team or to general enquiries.
We also welcome visits from any prospective parents and children, to see for themselves the school, sixth form and boarding house. You can find details of how to do that here.
The FAQs below provide more information about the Ofsted inspection of the school’s boarding house in March, 2023. You will also find our response to the inspectors’ findings here.
What happens during an inspection? What are inspectors looking for?
Ofsted boarding inspections make a judgement of the overall experiences and progress of children, taking into account how well children are helped and protected and the effectiveness of leaders and managers. Two inspectors came to visit us over two days (14-16 March 2023) where they met governors, staff and students. They looked at our documentation and parental questionnaires.
Why did you get rated as ‘requires improvement to be good’?
We didn’t meet their National Minimum Standards in three areas, with three points for improvement. We quickly took action to address these. We were also already making changes through our own boarding house improvement plan. This was recognised by the inspectors.
What reassurances can you provide about boarding at Dallam?
There were 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 in 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, plus they heard from staff and parents about the benefits of boarding and pupil achievements.
In a letter to boarding pupils, inspectors Catherine Fargin and Paul Scott, said it was clear that newly appointed Headteacher Mr Henneberry and his team want to make things better, have good plans to do this and that the staff care for pupils want the best for them.
How quickly can you address the improvement points? What’s the pace of change? What are the school’s priorities for boarding going forward?
We quickly took action to address these and we were already making changes through our own boarding house improvement plan. This was recognised by the inspectors. Additionally we have big ambitions for our boarding house and we’ve made two key appointments – a resident school nurse and a head of boarding from a boarding school rated excellent. You can find out more about our vision, values and life at Dallam here.
How do you Ofsted ensure the boarding provision improves, at least to meet their minimum standards? The report mentions improvements from the previous inspection not being actioned?
We’ve made some new appointments; we now have a resident school nurse for Dallam boarders. There’s also a new head of boarding, Nicola Gilbert from Ackworth School in West Yorkshire. Nicola joins us in September although she’s already been involved in the improvement plan. Nicola will also be part of the school wide senior leadership team, working directly with the recently appointed headteacher Steven Henneberry.
The report mentions lots of staff changes, have you resolved that now?
Like all schools, we experience the same ebb and flow of staff. But we’re in a settled period and staff are excited about the pace of change and the plans to greatly enhance our boarding provision. Our new Headteacher, Mr Henneberry, joined us earlier in the year and it’s his ambition to release the huge amount of potential we have here at Dallam for the benefit of our students and community.
Where can I go for other information, my question hasn’t been answered?
Please contact use via the enquires Gateway on Synergy, directing your questions to our Boarding team.
We have further general boarding FAQs available here.
We would welcome visits from any prospective parents and children, to see for themselves the school, sixth form and boarding house.