Ofsted Inspection – June 6th 2017

The new Ofsted framework involves inspection teams visiting schools currently rated as ‘Good’ and deciding whether this has changed since the last judgement (for us in October 2012). Because the inspection framework has changed, the focus is very much on key lines of enquiry based upon external data, and this focus is reflected in the letter that we have received.

Very few schools convert to ‘Outstanding’ these days, as schools are then deemed to be exempt from Ofsted inspections except in exceptional circumstances.  At Sheldon, we have been aware that there are some areas that we need to improve still further and this is recognised in the letter, but overall, the feedback we have received is very positive.

In particular, the following are highlighted as strengths:

  • Academic success and emotional wellbeing of each pupil at the centre of what the school does;

  • Pupils’ engagement in learning;

  • Pupils’ behaviour;

  • Atmosphere of the school;

  • Governing body;

  • Leadership team;

  • Safeguarding procedures and practices exemplary.

Areas highlighted for continued development centre around our work with our disadvantaged students to ensure that they make the same progress as all other students. This is also the case with students with special educational needs and/or disabilities. We have been working hard on improving the attendance rates of disadvantaged students and have had success, but the inspection team has challenged us to take this further.

Following the GCSEs in 2016 when results were not quite as good as we had hoped at the top end in a minority of subjects, we have been implementing a number of different initiatives with all year groups and across all subjects. These have shown extremely good results and inspectors recognised that this is leading to more rapid progress and is something we can consolidate. Boys’ progress was also investigated as it is behind that of the girls (although still positive compared to the national picture). Recognition was made of the specific strategies employed over several years that had taken effect.

The key lines of enquiry show that the inspectors agreed that we had identified precisely what we needed to be working on and in all areas we have shown improvement. We will continue working on these, whilst striving to maintain the very high levels seen in all other areas of the school.

Finally, as a parent myself, I always reflect on what experiences the young people have at this school and whether it would be one fit for my own children. I have absolutely no doubt that I would be delighted to have them educated here. The inspection team were unanimous in feeding back that this was a delightful school, and I am particularly pleased with the following extracts:

“The all-pervading caring ethos ensures that pupils are happy and able to thrive from the moment they arrive at school. The vibrant atmosphere created reflects the commitment to pupils’ enriching and positive school experiences.”

Whilst I live too far away to be able to send my children to Sheldon, you do not – and as parents of children who are at the school, I hope that you are pleased with the report, which you can read in detail by opening the attachment below. Looking ahead, I can assure you we will do all that we can to make the Sheldon experience even better.

Neil Spurdell