ISI Report

St Albans School receives highest possible inspection gradings

 

We were inspected in November 2022 by the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) whose purpose is to:

  • Assess the School’s compliance with the standards for independent schools laid down by the Department for Education.
  • Assess the quality of education provided by the School.

The outcome of the Compliance Inspection is that the School meets all the regulatory standards and associated requirements. There are no required actions or recommendations in respect of compliance.

The ISI inspection model does not give an overall grading for the School (and therefore differs from inspections conducted by Ofsted of, for example, state-maintained schools). ISI makes judgements on a four-point scale (excellent, good, sound, unsatisfactory) focused on outcomes for pupils in two areas: the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements and the quality of pupils’ personal development.

We are delighted to share the outcome of the Education Quality Inspection and that St Albans School has received the top grade of ‘excellent’ in both categories.

 

The Key Findings are as follows:

The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent

  • Pupils achieve excellent A-level and GCSE results and make strong progress.
  • Pupils achieve at a high level in co-curricular activities such as sport, music and drama.
  • Pupils’ competence in communication (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and its application to other areas of learning is a strength of the school.
  • Pupils exhibit excellent attitudes to their learning. 

The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent

  • The behaviour of pupils is excellent; they are courteous, articulate, and confident.
  • Pupils are mature, highly reflective and thoughtful.
  • Pupils show respect and celebrate diversity. They show humility in their interactions with others, and a willing acceptance of each other’s differences.
  • Pupils develop a mature self-confidence which strengthens strong relationships between pupils and teachers and helps to create a cohesive culture and sense of community.

The conduct and engagement of our pupils as they were observed by inspectors in lessons, in interviews and meetings with them and as they went about their daily routine also received much favourable comment in the verbal feedback at the end of the inspection as well as in the report. 

Highlights from the report

PUPILS' ACHIEVEMENTS:  

  • These high levels of attainment are supported by teaching which sets clear learning objectives and uses a range of well-produced and varied resources delivered with pace.
  • Even from their strong starting points, pupils’ GCSE and A-level results are higher than expected for their ability.
  • The development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills across all areas of learning is excellent. Pupils regularly display an ability to work at levels higher than would be expected for pupils of similar ages.
  • Pupils’ knowledge and understanding in many subjects is supported and developed by skilful questioning from teachers and consistently high expectations.
  • Pupils’ communication skills are advanced for their age. They actively look for opportunities in lessons to argue or discuss and in so doing develop their knowledge and understanding. Pupils are highly articulate when providing explanations and demonstrate an excellent ability to listen attentively; their oral and written communication skills are highly developed.
  • Pupils demonstrate excellent numeracy skills across all subject areas and they transfer these skills successfully between subjects.
  • Pupils in all year groups demonstrate strong information, communication and technology (ICT) skills in their ease of using information technology to take notes across all subjects; they move between books, tablets and other devices to organise their studies and exhibit a determined independence.
  • Pupils show excellent study skills developed through the many opportunities provided.
  • Pupils’ academic and other achievements are excellent, in conformation of the school’s aspiration to help each pupil flourish intellectually and personally.
  • Pupils’ strong attitudes towards their learning are a key factor in assuring their high levels of achievement. These extremely positive attitudes are central to the aims and values of the school, which are well understood and practised by pupils, and which the school succeeds in meeting. They are strengthened by the value the school places on high achievement and by the pupils’ own desire to attain highly.

PUPILS' PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Pupils have a highly developed sense of self-understanding. In this way the school successfully achieves its aim to develop pupils’ self-knowledge and self-confidence. Pupils understand themselves and clearly express both the importance of continued learning and their pride in the school. This is because the school’s culture of strong pastoral care, through which pupils’ progress and well-being are carefully monitored, means that pupils are well-known by their teachers and are given time to develop and express themselves. Pupils are extremely self-confident and independent. The school thus fully meets its aim to help each pupil develop self-knowledge and self-confidence.
  • Pupils understand that the decisions they make are the determinants for their own success. They are mature and reflective self-starters and need little behavioural correction.
  • Pupils have a highly developed spiritual understanding and can give convincing reasons for the values they espouse, responding with enthusiastic arguments in discussion.
  • Pupils have high standards of behaviour in class and around the school. They are supportive of the school’s values and appreciate the way in which their teachers deal promptly with any behavioural issues. They understand the importance of rules and laws, accept responsibility for their own behaviour and show a keen sense of fair play in sports.
  • Pupils form productive relationships with each other and collaborate well. A strong sense of a proud community allows the pupils to feel secure to discuss moral, social and political issues.
  • Pupils … collaborate exceptionally well in lessons and regularly provide encouragement, advice and guidance to each other.
  • Pupils have a sophisticated sense of their responsibilities to each other and the local community.
  • Pupils show great respect to their peers and value diversity within their school. Inspectors witnessed a tolerant, inclusive, multi-cultural learning community whose pupils demonstrate sensitivity, acceptance and, at the very least, tolerance to all and a willingness to listen to the views of others. Pupils demonstrate excellent levels of empathy.

“This report is as positive as could be expected from a Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection. My warm congratulations go both to my colleagues for their professional expertise and dedication which underpin and facilitate these ‘excellent’ outcomes for our pupils and to the pupils themselves whose excellent achievements and personal development have been duly recognised in the report. For me the report only adds to the keen sense of the pride, privilege and humility I feel in leading such an outstanding learning community.” 

Jonathan Gillespie, Headmaster

 

 

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