Dear Parents and Carers,

As you know, we were contacted by Ofsted on Monday morning to say that they were coming to inspect the school on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I was pleased to hear that because we’ve been working hard to make this the school that the students and the community deserve. We have made a lot of changes over the last four years it has been clear to me for a long time that the report from the inspection in 2019 no longer reflects our school accurately.

I can’t tell you the outcome but the inspection went well. I will be sent a draft report in the next few weeks and I would expect the final report to be published before the end of this term. Any judgements I have been told already are provisional as the report needs to go through several stages of checking and revising before it is finalised, but I am confident that the report from this inspection will be a much more accurate reflection of the very good work we do with our students. Inspectors were very complimentary about the school, the staff and, of course, the students.

I have been absolutely clear with staff that, although we’ve been expecting and hoping for an Ofsted inspection, nothing we do is for the benefit of Ofsted. On the contrary, the things we do are all for the benefit of the students. The way we teach is the way we teach – you can’t turn that on and off overnight. We have been developing our provision for more vulnerable students, including The Study, for years. Our curriculum has been written and re-written, constantly evolving. We haven’t put on some kind of show this week - everything the inspectors saw was us as we normally are, including the students, who made a very good impression.

Inspectors were extremely complimentary about your children. Students were described to me as being well behaved, sensible, articulate, kind, thoughtful, engaged and welcoming. Our students are very used to talking to adults because we work hard to be approachable and to model respectful relationships. It was good to watch so many students go and introduce themselves to inspectors and have a chat. One visitor to the school told me that they thought it might be the most polite school they had ever visited. They saw good behaviour in lessons, in corridors and in social time.

I’m not trying to claim that our school is perfect because of course it isn’t, but I heard so much that was positive this week I felt I had to share it with you.  In a school as large as this there will be incidents every day when a student doesn’t get things quite right, but I hope we always deal with those incidents with patience and understanding. Those things happen in all schools.  Inspectors make their judgments based on what they see in school and on what students tell them the school is like. Lots of students spoke with inspectors. They were very positive about their school, about their friends, about their teachers.

I look forward to sharing the report with you later this half term. In the meantime, I would be grateful if you would pass on my thanks to your children for their very mature participation in the inspection this week.

Have a good weekend,

Andy Hunter

Executive Headteacher