OFSTED Inspection, 14-15 May 2019

As you are aware, the College was inspected by Ofsted earlier this term.  This was a full inspection of the school carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.  The inspection was conducted by Her Majesty’s Inspector, Mr Harry Ingham, and a team of four additional inspectors.  The College’s last full inspection was in February 2017.  A monitoring inspection was carried out in July 2018. 

We are delighted to inform you that the inspection concluded that Garth Hill College is once again a ‘good’ school (grade 2) in terms of overall effectiveness.  Every judgement area was rated ‘good’ (grade 2) and the report is very complimentary about the progress that has been made since the last inspection. 

We are very proud of and delighted with the positive inspection outcome.  It is a significant achievement for a very large school like Garth Hill to have re-gained their ‘Good’ status within a little over two years of being graded ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted.  This is testament to the hard work, teamwork and dedication of pupils, staff, governors, parents and carers who have all contributed to this success.

A copy of the full report can be found here on the website.  The report will be published on the Ofsted website very soon (as you read this bulletin it may already be available from www.ofsted.gov.uk).

Some of the highlights include:

After the last inspection, the Principal acted quickly in making much needed changes. Leaders have worked with determination to hold staff to account more effectively and to improve standards. 

Teaching, learning and assessment have improved since the last inspection. Most teachers have strong subject knowledge and they plan challenging activities that engage pupils. Teachers know their pupils well. As a result, pupils respond positively to teachers’ instructions and they work well with their peers.

Current pupils make increasingly strong progress, particularly in English, mathematics and science because of improving teaching and a more stringent accountability system.

After the last inspection, leaders renewed the school’s behaviour policy and demanded higher standards of behaviour from pupils. Pupils, staff and parents recognise that pupils’ behaviour has improved significantly as a result.       

In lessons, pupils behave well. They have positive relationships with staff. This means that lessons are calm and orderly. 

During social times, pupils get on well together. Many pupils socialise with each other in the well-resourced outside areas… There is a harmonious atmosphere around school during social times.   

Bullying is rare in school. Pupils report bullying if it does occur and they told inspectors that staff take it seriously and deal with it well if it does happen.

Pupils are proud of their school. They talked animatedly to inspectors about the improvements since the last inspection. They wear their uniforms smartly and are very well mannered to visitors. 

Staff morale is high. They feel well-supported by leaders. Staff told inspectors that leaders consider workload when setting school policies and that they believe the school is well led and managed. 

Governors are very knowledgeable about the school. They understand the school’s strengths and weaknesses and have ensured that external agencies have been involved in evaluating standards.

The report also highlighted work at Rise@GHC:

Pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans make good progress in the special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) resource base, ‘The Rise’, because teachers provide challenging and interesting activities. Teaching assistants know the pupils well and provided well-timed and thoughtful support. 

Comments about the College’s Sixth Form were also very positive including:

Students in the sixth form make good progress because of the strong teaching that they receive. Leadership is good in the sixth form and students are looked after well. 

Teachers have high expectations of students. They carefully plan activities that encourage students to work with each other and independently. Consequently, students make strong progress. 

Students’ outcomes are good. Historically, students make strong progress across their chosen subjects at A-level. Current students also make good progress because of effective teaching and high-quality pastoral support. 

Students are well informed about the career paths available to them when they leave sixth form because of good quality careers advice.

Students are well cared for by committed staff. There are a wide range of opportunities to participate in wider school life.

Whilst we are delighted that OFSTED again judges us to be a ‘Good’ school, we can assure you that there is no room for complacency, and we remain committed to the continued development of the College on our journey to excellence.

We are especially grateful for the support of parents/carers over the last two years – thank you for your faith in the College.  We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Local Authority for providing effective challenge and great support to the College over that time.  Congratulations to everyone!

Best wishes

Keith Grainger     Liz Dolby
Principal Chair of Governors