Tuesday, 31 March 2020

‘Excellent’ rating for school from inspectors

AN independent school in Sonning has been awarded top marks by inspectors.

Reading Blue Coat School was rated “excellent” by the Independent Schools Inspectorate following a visit in November.

The inspectors scored the school highly for the quality of education and staff, the pupils’ spiritual and moral development, their welfare and safety, the premises and accommodation, leadership and complaint handling.

Most parents and pupils also rated the school highly across the board in response to a questionnaire.

Inspectors said students made good progress at both GCSE and A-level and their results always met expectations and would often exceed them.

Overall results were above the national average and progress was well monitored so almost all students got into their first-choice universities.

The inspection report says: “Pupils have high expectations for themselves and are prepared to work hard and do their best. [They] develop excellent knowledge, skills and understanding in all areas of learning.

“Pupils have outstanding communication skills. They read widely, with excellent speed, accuracy and comprehension... and grow in confidence from taking part in public speaking, recitation classes and drama productions.

“They speak with assurance and maturity in lessons and in formal and informal settings. In class they listen carefully and respectfully to one another and their teachers so group work is effective.

“Pupils are highly numerate and apply their knowledge successfully to a range of subjects across the curriculum. They have excellent skills in computing and ICT, which is present in all aspects of school life.

“Their attitude is characterised by enthusiasm and positivity, encouraged by teaching which is quick to praise pupils and encourage them to be more ambitious still.”

The report said pupils were given plenty of responsibilities, such as organising assemblies, arranging teams for competitions and mentoring peers.

It said: “Pupils generally make shrewd and well-judged decisions about how to use their time and accept responsibility for the consequences of their decisions.

“They make an outstanding contribution to the lives of others and are extremely respectful and tolerant towards those of different backgrounds and traditions.”

The school was advised to offer pupils more guidance on using written feedback to improve their work.

Headmaster Jesse Elzinga said: “I am absolutely delighted. We have known for a number of years that we are operating well beyond the expectations of an ‘excellent’ school.

“I am extremely grateful to all members of staff, both academic and operational, governors, pupils and parents, all of whom were asked to contribute to the inspection in some way.

“We can all take pride in being affiliated with this excellent school in the years to come.”

The Sonning Lane school, which was founded in 1646, has 760 pupils aged 11 to 18. It was last inspected in 2011.

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