I was very pleased this week to receive the final copy of our Ofsted report, after our two-day inspection earlier this term. The staff, governors and I are delighted to have maintained our rating of ‘Good’ since our last inspection in December 2015. A copy of this report can be found in the ‘Ofsted’ section of our website.
We were the first school in Somerset to be inspected under the new Ofsted framework, which is acknowledged as being broader reaching and more rigorous than the previous framework. This has made us even prouder to be recognised as still being ‘good’. Whilst we judge ourselves by far more than just external inspection outcomes it is nice to validated by an independent body such as Ofsted.
Built into the inspections are now what Ofsted term 'deep dives' where the inspectors look in considerable detail at the teaching and learning of one subject from the youngest children (in our case, playgroup) to the oldest. We had deep dives into reading, maths, art, geography and computing, which meant that teachers plans and children's work in these subjects were scrutinised, as well as the children being asked about their learning in these areas. We found these deep dives to be forensic in detail but fair in the judgments that were reached once they had been completed.
The report contains many highlights of which we are particularly proud, such as:
“The school is a warm and welcoming community.”
“Values are at the heart of the school’s work.”
“This school is a place where pupils cooperate and value each other.”
“Pupils are happy and say they feel safe.”
“Pupils learn why it is important to show respect for others.”
“Children enjoy learning. They are often engrossed in the activities they choose.”
“The school is a secure and safe place to be.”
I think it is important that I share these comments with the children, before we send home paper copies of the report to our parents, so I will be speaking to the children in our celebration assembly this afternoon. I am delighted that the inspectors could see our ethos as a school in action, as reflected not only in the comments I have highlighted above, but in the report in its entirety.
If you read the report you will see that Ofsted have set us targets, and I can inform you that the three targets outlined in the report were areas we had already acknowledged that we need to work on in our SDP (school development plan), which outlines strategic priorities for the coming 12 months. Whilst we are celebrating the result of our inspection we are constantly trying to do things better as a school, and I am confident that when Ofsted return in 4 years’ time they will see that we have fully achieved the targets we have been set.
Having spoken to many of our parents during their visit, the inspectors reported that they were all extremely positive about the school and that this was reflected in our online Parentview results. On behalf of the staff I would like to thank our parents for such overwhelmingly positive support.
I could go on and on picking out comments from the report that I would like to share, but I will just add one more to this blog. In our feedback from the inspector at the end of the two-day process he commented on how positive the staff team were about the work that we are doing here. This is reflected in the report as “staff are overwhelmingly positive about the work leaders do.” This comment gave me cause to reflect, as I do regularly, on how lucky I am to lead such an amazing team of committed professionals as the Head of Wookey School!