It is a great pleasure to share a copy of the report on the inspection conducted in October 2014 by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). This report is also available from ISI on its website, www.isi.net
The ISI inspection model does not give an overall grading for the School (and therefore differs from inspections conducted by Ofsted of, for example, maintained sector schools); rather it makes judgements on a four-point scale (excellent, good, sound, unsatisfactory) on eight aspects of the School’s work. However, in one area, achievement, the judgement ‘exceptional’ may be made where inspection evidence indicates performance in the upper reaches of the ‘excellent’ category.
We are delighted that the quality of our pupils’ achievements and learning has been rated as ‘exceptional’. We are also very pleased to have received the top grade (‘excellent’) for curricular and extra-curricular provision; contribution of teaching; spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils; pastoral care; and welfare, health and safety.
The high response rate to, as well as the generally very positive feedback given in, the parental questionnaires made a strong impression on the inspection team. My grateful thanks go to all parents who went to the trouble of completing the questionnaire at short notice. The conduct and engagement of our pupils as they were observed by inspectors in lessons, in interviews with them and as they went about their daily routine also received much favourable comment during the inspection as well as in the report.
A few highlights from the report to whet your appetite, firstly about our pupils’ engagement with their academic work:
The achievement of pupils across all ages is exceptional. The school fully meets its aims to enable pupils to achieve the highest standard of academic success according to ability and similarly in their extra-curricular interests ……. Motivated by a broad-based curriculum, high quality speakers and challenging extension work, pupils have excellent attitudes to learning. They demonstrate resilience and perseverance.
Pupils across all ages demonstrate exemplary attitudes to learning. They are eager to learn and respond confidently to intellectual challenge and rigour. The pupils’ excellent behaviour in lessons allows them to develop high levels of concentration and perseverance when work is particularly challenging. Motivated and ambitious for their future success, they are co-operative learners. They show resilience and are prepared to take risks in their learning and deal well with any failure which occurs. They strive for excellence in all aspects of their school life.
And secondly two extracts which underline the St Albans School ethos which sees academic and intellectual progress at the heart of a holistic, value-rich education:
The pupils’ personal development is excellent. Pupils are highly appreciative of the excellent individual pastoral care and guidance they receive which helps them to grow into mature, caring and self-disciplined adults. The many opportunities provided for them to make valuable contributions to their school, the local community and charity work allows them to develop strong social, moral and cultural awareness and an understanding of the value of service to others.
As pupils progress through the school they grow into confident and independent people who demonstrate a high standard of personal development ready to contribute to society by the time they leave. They are mature and responsible citizens well prepared for the next stage of their education or working life. The school fulfils its aim to develop the pupils’ character and personality so as to become caring and self-disciplined adults.
My warm congratulations go to my colleagues whose inspirational force both in and beyond the classroom has rightly been cited in the evidence for the grading of teaching as ‘excellent’ and to our pupils whose exceptional achievements, excellent attitude and notable personal qualities have been duly recognised in the report. For me the report only adds to the keen sense of the privilege I feel in leading such an outstanding school. Finally, I hope that the wider St Albans community will take pride in this further evidence that it has a world-class school at the heart of the City.