St John’s College School in Cambridge is celebrating after achieving the Independent Schools Inspectorate’s (ISI) highest grading of excellent.
The rigorous four-day inspection included interviews with pupils and staff; lesson observations; parent, pupil and staff questionnaires; an examination of pupils’ work; and a scrutiny of all policies to enable the inspectors to assess the school’s compliance as well as the educational quality in all areas of school life.
In particular, the inspection focused on the outcomes of pupils in terms of their personal development, as well as their academic and other achievements.
Neil Chippington, Headmaster, said: “I am immensely proud of this School and our community, and I am delighted that the inspectors saw in their visit what I think we display every day; a deep commitment to helping our children to thrive.
“While we have the highest of academic expectations, inspectors looked at every aspect of school life; including the breadth of our enrichment opportunities and the quality of our pastoral care and support. At every level, our staff and, most importantly, our children shone.
“As the inspectors noted, our children “respond enthusiastically to high expectations, briskly paced lessons, judicious questioning, imaginative challenges and warm encouragement”, and leave us as young people who are “socially mature, displaying generosity of spirit and kindness.”
“While the inspectors’ findings are heartening, we also take a great deal of pride in the comments our parental community provided throughout the inspection process. The warmth and positivity included in their feedback really framed the outcome, and ensured that this report puts us alongside the very best independent schools in the country.”
The ISI inspectors also concluded that “all members of Year 8 pass the entrance examinations to the senior schools of their choice, many to schools with demanding entrance requirements and many achieve academic and other awards.”
As part of the process, inspectors reviewed St John’s College School against ISI’s compliance standards, which focuses on issues such as health and safety, safeguarding and leadership and management. The School is compliant in all areas.
Lindsay Dodsworth, Chair, added: “The school’s leadership team deserve a huge amount of credit for their vision and unwavering focus on helping every child to achieve in an environment that is caring and supportive.
“We are also grateful to the Department for Education for helping us to navigate the only real challenge we had throughout this inspection process, which was linked to how our School meets the new, and welcomed, additional focus on equality of opportunity as well as providing the talented young people to feed into what was, at that point, an all-boys choir with such a prestigious reputation.
“The evolution of our governance structure, in partnership with St John’s College’s independent decision to move to a mixed-sex choir, further ensures that every child has access to fantastic academic and enrichment opportunities.
“The publication of this report is not only a chance for us to reflect and celebrate, but it also provides an opportunity to focus on developing and embracing exciting opportunities for our future.”