Three years ago we opened as a Free School. We have now had our first scheduled Ofsted inspection, and are pleased to be able to comment on our success so far and to reflect how it is resoundingly supported by their detailed report.
When the Governors, Principal and leadership team set out to transform The Royal School from a small independent day and boarding school into a large thriving Free School of 1300 pupils, we set out with a passion to develop the whole person in a truly holistic manner and the Ofsted inspectorate has confirmed that ‘personal development and welfare is outstanding’. Our objective has been to extend this transformative capability to many more young people. This Ofsted report confirms our success.
We had a number of major areas of focus when we started our transformation to a Free School. All indications are that these challenges have been successfully overcome, though we are still only part way through a major building programme and must continue with substandard facilities in some areas for a much longer period. Parents and pupils tell us how much they value the school and what we offer. Demand has been overwhelming: in our two years as a Free School, we have been the most oversubscribed senior school in the country. Good to know, but not good when we currently cannot extend our offering to even more young people.
The one aspect that has been missing is the long-awaited Ofsted Inspection. We now have it.
Those foci are set out below with brief Ofsted comments. They indicate the journey we are on and how well our close-knit community of pupils, staff and governors has responded and succeeded.
Our areas of focus:
Could we really maintain the unique caring, aspirational and supportive ethos of The Royal when we were more than three times as large?
Could we maintain, and even expand, the extended day for pupils, with a large range of extra-curricular activities (sports, music, debating, Combined Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme etc.) to help develop self-confident, committed, articulate, employable leaders of the future?
Would we be able to attract enough international, and UK, Boarding pupils to maintain the international flavour, which is so valued, and would they continue to contribute so much to school life?
‘They (pupils) see the school’s diverse population as a strength. The school is a harmonious, multi-cultural community where equality of opportunity is enshrined in all areas of school life.’
Could we maintain and improve the extensive support we give to our pupils, especially those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities but also those just needing reassurance and the support of our community?
Would a much larger group of pupils and parents buy into what we offer: an all-through, non-selective, non-denominational, 4 to 19, day and international boarding school for boys and girls from all ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds?
Finally, could we as leaders and staff, deliver all this.
We are ambitious for the pupils in our care and our ambition for our school is that it is recognised as ‘Outstanding’ in all it does. As an all-through school, we cover Early Years, Primary and Secondary Phases, Sixth Form and Boarding. The task is wide-ranging as well as difficult. They each have an impact on the overall assessment – to be ‘Good’ overall you have to be ‘Good’ in every aspect of these areas. I believe this report shows we are well on our way to achieving our objective.
We hope you enjoy reading it and continuing to be part of our journey for our young people.
Peter Hill Mark Heywood
Chairman of Governors Principal