Dame Catherine Harpur’s School Ofsted Inspection June 2017
In June 2017 the school was inspected by Ofsted and received a grading of ‘Inadequate’. The report of this inspection can be found below.
We respect the inspection process and acknowledge the findings of the inspector. However we do not believe this grading truly reflects the qualities of the school, the learning and support that it offers to the children and the welfare and care that is provided.
If you read past the initial headlines of the report you will see both the areas in which the school did not meet requirements, but also the many positives that the Ofsted Inspector discovered.
We are a small school and we do not have a large administrative function. As a result, we have not kept the records to the standards that Ofsted require and not kept abreast of some of the independent school standards that have changed since the last inspection.
We have invested in additional administrative support and we have contracted with a 3rd party company who will provide alerts to any future Ofsted / Independent School standards. This will enable us to ensure policies, procedures and practices are updated in line with the requirements of the regulator.
The parents and families of the children at our nursery and school believe their children are safe and well cared for. This is what they have told Ofsted and what they have told the school. The Ofsted inspector confirmed to us that they did not see any child at risk or unhappy.
Our school has a very open approach, with parents encouraged to come in and engage so they are fully up to speed with their child’s learning and well being. Parents receive regular updates at the classroom door from teachers that you could only dream of at a larger school.
Parents are encouraged to be involved in the school, probably more than your average larger state school. We have had a number of new parents become involved in the last year and they have welcomed the open and transparent nature of the school and expressed how happy their children are, some of whom have experienced quite negative experience at their previous schools.
Updated safeguarding training that is difficult to source if you are not within the state school sector has been identified and completed. This will include the checks on the suitability of staff. Again it is important to put into context that we have a small, long standing and established staff team at the school. There have been no new employees since the last Ofsted inspection.
We do not test our children – we do not think it is worth the stress! We do follow a curriculum and there is structure and we have improved the ways in which we can record progress.
We see the progress every day in not only the learning that the children undertake but in the confidence, happiness and social skills that the children develop. As we are a small school, parents get regular progress reports from teachers and are able to ask questions and discuss any concerns.
You can see exactly what is going on – there is no waiting at the school gate here or having to save your questions and queries up at a once a term parent evening!
Hopefully, if you have read through the whole Ofsted report and have got to the end you will have read about the many strengths that the school has in terms of ‘Quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘Outcomes for pupils’.
Please don’t just take our word about the great work that our school does. Listed below are some of the fantastic observations made by the Ofsted Inspector, which we believe really gets to the heart of what our school is about.
Extracts from Ofsted Report June 2017
• “The head teacher knows the pupils well and has established a caring ethos where pupils are happy and learn well. Pupil’s behaviour is good.”
• “The curriculum is good. Teachers provide plentiful opportunities for pupils to develop their scientific, design and craft skills.”
• “Parents are highly supportive of the school. They appreciate how staff keep them informed about what their child is doing. Parents comment on how engaged in learning their children are. All parents who responded to Parent View said that they would recommend the school to other parents.”
• “Teachers have an accurate view of how well pupils are achieving.”
• “Teaching assistants and other adults make a valuable contribution to pupil’s learning. They support pupils in class as well as on to one basis to enable pupil’s to progress well.”
• “Pupils are becoming confident learners. They are interested in their learning and are keen to support tasks set.”
• “The school promotes emotional well-being of pupils effectively.”
• “Pupil’s attendance is good, reflecting their enjoyment of learning and their happiness in coming to school.”
• “Pupil’s display positive attitudes to their learning and have developed the key skills in English and Mathematics to enable them to be prepared for the next stage of their education.”
• “The teaching in the Nursery is enthusiastic and lively. This inspires children to be motivated and to quickly become confident learners. They remain highly focused on their learning for considerable periods of time and are making good progress. Their enthusiasm for learning continues in Reception class. Last year all children achieved learning goals. The curriculum in early years is exciting.”