19 May 2015
The outcome of the recent Ofsted was both disappointing and surprising. Since opening, and in preparation for this visit, we have had fair external evaluations by a DfE advisor and a pre-Ofsted inspection by a Registered Ofsted inspector. These led us to believe we were at least ‘Good’ and had many ‘Outstanding’ features.
The difference in opinion stems from a difference in acceptance of the baseline we use to judge progress and in the end, as the report suggests, we were unable to demonstrate the excellent progress we as leaders, teachers, Governors, parents and carers know we are making.
Many really good things that you already know are highlighted in the report:
• The Sixth Form is good.
• Behaviour and safety is good.
• Staff support students well and help them engage with their learning, using effective strategies that address their different needs.
• The curriculum is good.
• Leaders and Governors have an aspirational vision for the further development of the Courtyard.
• Leaders have gained the trust of and support of staff, students and parents.
• Vulnerable students are supported well.
Over our time of operation we have been surprised by the excellent behaviour of the students and the positive atmosphere in the school. We were sure, as were our advisors, that this aspect was ‘Outstanding’. That is why it is hard to comprehend the judgement summed up by one bullet point:
• Behaviour is not outstanding because some students do not always demonstrate a love of learning by working independently or being self-motivated.
The Governors and I, supported by the Trust, will take on board the advice given by the inspector to enable us to demonstrate at the next opportunity that we are an ‘Outstanding’ school in every way.
Should you require a copy of the report, you can locate it here. Hard copies of the report are available from reception at a cost of £1.