In what was probably the final Ofsted inspection of a school before lockdown, school inspectors have confirmed that Colyton Grammar School has maintained its ‘Outstanding’ rating while praising its students, staff and wider school community.
Colyton Grammar School is a state school with 954 students who come from across Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
The school was inspected following a decision by the Department for Education to revisit all schools with an ‘Outstanding’ rating. A previous ruling had deemed that ‘Outstanding’ schools need not be inspected which meant that many had not had an inspection for some years. This rule changed last year and Colyton’s inspection fell within the changes – it had not received an inspection since 2007.
In the copy of their report on the Ofsted website, inspectors said: “The quality of education provided at the school is exceptional. Across year groups and subjects, staff have the highest possible expectations of pupils. Leaders and staff know that pupils thrive on a high level of challenge. They ensure that the curriculum continually delivers this challenge. The school’s culture is one of high achievement and pupils expect a great deal of themselves. Pupils love learning at this school. They are intellectually curious and keen to discover new things, from Year 7 through to Year 13. Pupils, particularly in the sixth form, delight in asking questions, sharing their views and ‘sparring’ through discussion and debate.”
Inspectors praised the school team for its integrity, citing its efforts to increase the numbers of students from disadvantaged background (4% four years ago to 10% now) as an example. Their research with parents revealed that 98% would recommend the school.
Commenting on the school’s work with disadvantaged students, the inspectors commented “Disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND are very well supported. As a result of this bespoke support, these pupils make very strong progress. Moreover, for some measures, the progress of disadvantaged pupils exceeds their peers. This is because you, other leaders and staff expect the same of these pupils as their peers. Last year 18% of disadvantaged students went to Oxford or Cambridge and 79% attended Russell Group universities. Additionally, all disadvantaged pupils were entered for the EBacc last year.”
One inspector even went so far as to say that Colyton Grammar School was ‘”the El Dorado of education” which inspectors look for.
Speaking of the school’s success Tim Harris, Head Teacher, said: “We are delighted to have maintained our ‘Outstanding’ status. It stands testament to the hard work, dedication and uniqueness of the relationship which exists between students, staff, parents, trustees and supporters of the school.”
He added: “However, we have never done anything for the benefit of Ofsted - this is not a ‘tick box’ exercise. All our planning and work is for the benefit of our students and of our school. We recognise that we are not perfect and that we have areas to improve. The inspection team recounted a discussion they had with a student group in which they had asked them to rate their school experience with one being the best to five the worst. All of the students gave the school a one apart from one student who awarded the school a two. When asked why he simply and quite brilliantly acknowledged that no-where is perfect! I agree entirely. This report is not a conclusion to our progress rather it provides another spur for us to improve still further.”