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Ofsted Reports

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?

Ofsted:

  • ‘The school’s ethos, high expectations and exceptionally rich curriculum contribute strongly to pupils; spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.’
  • The School’s work to promote pupils’ personal development is outstanding. ‘Pupils are thoughtful and considerate of others’ views.’
  • ‘Relationships between staff and pupils are strong.’ ‘.. pupils are … secure in the knowledge they have their teacher’s support and confidence.’
  • ‘Students’ behaviour is exemplary. They provide excellent role models for pupils in the main school.  They are considerate and mature.’
  • ‘The curriculum engages and excites pupils. They are enthusiastic learners who remember what they have been taught.’  ‘They accept the school’s high expectations and they value all it has to offer.  Pupils are very proud of their school.’

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?

Ofsted:

  • The exceptional range of additional activities, visits and opportunities, contributes strongly to pupils’ personal development in all years.’

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?

  • We currently have over 100 girls and boys boarding, limited only by our current capacity.
  • Boarding was not included in this inspection report; we assume an inspection is imminent.

Ofsted:

‘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.’ 

  • ‘Pupils are thoughtful and considerate of others’ views and ’have confidence in the school’s adults to support them with any problems they face. They feel safe and well cared for in school.’

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?

Ofsted:

  • ‘Provision for pupils with SEND is led well.’ ‘… pupils’ needs are identified quickly when they join the school.’
  • ‘Highly effective pastoral support, especially for vulnerable pupils, is a strength.’
  • They use additional funding …. effectively in order to provide additional support and to ensure that they have exactly the same access to the school’s opportunities as all other pupils.’
  • ‘Vulnerable pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, those with SEND and children looked after, make good progress in all key stages. Effective teaching and well-targeted, extra support ensure they do not fall behind their peers.’

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?

Ofsted:

  • ‘The large number of pupils joining almost all year groups have settled quickly and now feel they belong to the school. They accept the school’s high expectations and they value all it has to offer. Pupils are very proud of their school.’
  • The school’s ethos, high expectations and exceptionally rich curriculum….. is increasingly recognised by parents, and the school is heavily oversubscribed.’
  • ‘Pupils behave well in lessons. The behaviour of most pupils is exemplary. They are enthusiastic learners who are keen to succeed.’
  • Most (pupils) have excellent attitudes to learning. The behaviour of most is exemplary. They are enthusiastic learners who are keen to succeed. 

Finally, could we as leaders and staff, deliver all this.

Ofsted:

  • ‘Leaders and governors have managed this rapid growth exceptionally well.’
  • The Principal…. Provides clear and direct leadership.’
  • Senior leaders and governors are ambitious and committed …. They are as dedicated to developing pupils’ self-confidence, values, attitudes and employability skills as they are to ensuring that pupils achieve appropriate academic qualifications.  The school is successful in achieving these aims.’ 
  • ‘Middle leaders in both primary and secondary schools form enthusiastic and committed teams’.
  • ‘Teaching is good throughout the school.’ ‘They (teachers) communicate a love of learning and of their subjects to pupils.’ 
  • ‘There are no common weaknesses in teaching across the school. However, there is less consistency, in each key stage…’
  • Teaching is now consistently strong in the sixth form. Teachers use their expert subject knowledge to explain new ideas well.

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

The Royal School Wolverhampton Ofsted Report 2019

 

 

 

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