The school was inspected from the 30th September to the 2nd October 2015 by the School Inspection Service (SIS). SIS is tasked by Ofsted with inspecting groups of schools including Steiner and Montessori Schools, and their findings are reported to the Department for Education. It is important to note that we were inspected under the new Common Inspection Framework so this was a new experience for the inspectors as well as for us. Please also note that schools no longer receive an overall grade. Grades are received for five key judgements, and further details are given below.
The quality of education was deemed good with some outstanding features, including the upper school’s breadth of curriculum, artistic experiences and performing arts. The inspectors urged us to develop pupils’ ICT skills further and to make better use of marking to enable pupils to progress. This is something we are addressing.
The quality of pupils’ personal development was also deemed good with some excellent features. The inspectors commented extremely favourably on our pupils’ spiritual development, their self-esteem, self-confidence and ability to be self-reflective and critical. They were also impressed with pupils’ behaviour, courtesy, cultural awareness and ability to debate issues logically and effectively. They were very inspired by our Michaelmas festival, which took place during the inspection. However, the inspectors felt that pupils’ understanding of the diverse and changing nature of the UK could be improved. This is something we are addressing.
Safeguarding pupils’ welfare, health and safety. Very positive comments were made about the school’s safeguarding arrangements, its effective approach towards bullying and the rigour of pre-employment checks on staff and volunteers. However, due to two lapses during the inspection regarding access to chemicals, the school was judged inadequate in this area. Both risks were eliminated before the end of the inspection. Given the many safety improvements since the previous inspection, this was deeply disappointing.
The effectiveness of leadership, management and governance. This was judged as having considerable strengths, and the inspectors commented that considerable progress had been made in this area since the last inspection, but overall it requires improvement because we did not consistently meet all the independent school standards. The inspectors felt that the roles and responsibilities of the Chair of College and the chairs of each department of the school should be clearly defined. They also felt that there should have been better systems in place to ensure that the accessibility of chemicals was more carefully controlled.
The effectiveness of the Early Years provision was judged as good, and very positive comments were made about the department’s assessment, planning and use of activities to develop and challenge the children, enabling them to develop into confident learners. We were told that among all the Early Years questionnaires returned, not one negative rating was made – something the inspectors had not seen before!
We have subsequently had two monitoring visits and have now met all the required independent school standards.
The latest SIS report can be accessed here: SIS Monitoring Report June 2016
The previous two reports are also available for your information: