West Buckland School was inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) in January 2013. The ISI is a Government approved body responsible for the inspection of schools in membership of the Associations that make up the Independent Schools Council.
We were delighted to receive an 'Excellent' in the majority of judgement areas with 'Good' awarded in all other areas.
The 'Excellent' rating applies to the following areas:
- The quality of the pupils' achievements and learning
- The contribution of curricular and extra-curricular provision (including community links of benefit to pupils)
- The contribution of arrangements for pastoral care
- The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the pupils
- The contribution of arrangements for welfare, health and safety
During the inspection, inspectors conducted interviews with pupils and through their discussions found that "the great majority of pupils fully appreciate their education, feel they are well listened to, and take great pride in being members of a very happy school".
Within each section of the report, there are very positive comments about a range of detailed issues. For example, inspectors say that the school's provision of extra-curricular activities is outstanding and enriches the pupils' experience significantly, while Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and English as a Second Language provision receive a number of very positive comments throughout the report. The Early Years and Foundation Stage receive very strong praise on a very wide range of issues. The report says that the great majority of pupils fully appreciate their education, feel that they are well listened to, and take great pride in being members of a very happy school.
Parents will be particularly gratified to know that pupils throughout the school 'show positive attitudes to learning and (exhibit) exemplary behaviour'!
The two recommendations for further improvement will, of course, be acted upon, as will various other comments within the report which identify areas where we can focus our efforts a little more clearly.
The full report is available here:
West Buckland School was inspected by both Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate in the period December 2009 to March 2010. (Each of these bodies is authorised by the government and provides independent and authoritative judgements on schools' work.) The Ofsted inspection focused on our boarding provision while the ISI inspectors covered all aspects of our work in both the Preparatory and Senior Schools.
Both of our reports are very good indeed, and give strong endorsement for the hard work of everyone at West Buckland. You can read both reports in full by following these links:
Ofsted Report, December 2009
The inspectors' summary says, 'The boarding aspects of school are very well managed. The head of boarding is strongly supported by the headteacher and the board of governors, and there is clear commitment to continuing improvement. The school provides exceptional opportunities to students from all over the world to study, play sport and engage in other constructive activities, whilst keeping them healthy and encouraging responsibility.'
Other comments from the report include:
- This school offers an exceptional range of activities which cater for all students' needs.
- Pastoral care is of a very high standard.
- Relationships between staff and boarders are extremely good. Students are friendly, polite and respectful.
- The school has made a major financial investment in excellent medical treatment facilities. Boarders all say that they are looked after exceptionally well when they are ill.
- The school demonstrates sensitivity and awareness in picking up potential academic and personal difficulties.
- (There is an) effective and welcoming learning support department
- Boarders can express their views through boarders' meetings, suggestions boxes and in discussion with houseparents, tutors and other staff.
- Boarders have trusting and open relationships with each other.
Independent Schools Inspectorate Report, March 2010
There are a great many pleasing judgements, including:
- (The school provides) a rich and varied educational experience which resonates with the school's aims.
- Standards overall are high.
- Pupils are ambitious and have a positive approach to their work.
- The extra-curricular programme offers an exceptional range of opportunities. (It) provides significant enrichment for the pupils' education, and is a strength of the school.
- The quality of teaching in both (Preparatory and Senior Schools) is good and some is excellent.
- The pupils' personal development is excellent.
- (There is) excellent pastoral care.
- The experience of boarding contributes positively to personal development.
- (The) pre-inspection questionnaire reflected a high level of satisfaction with the education provided.
- The needs of pupils requiring support with their learning are met exceptionally well. Those pupils who need specialist support, including those with Special Educational Needs, Learning Difficulties and Disabilities and English as an Additional Language, receive high quality tuition and make good, and frequently exceptional, progress.
- (The school provides) a positive learning environment in which pupils thrive.
- The excellent quality of the pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural awareness reflects the happy, caring, respectful relationships and strong sense of community.
- Pupils develop well spiritually through the ethos of the school with its Christian foundation. The pupils' moral awareness is strong.
- The school, including the EYFS, is well led with strong support from subject coordinators, heads of department and house staff.
The inspectors made no significant criticisms of the school, and the lists of recommendations in each report are very short indeed. These are already being addressed, and in some cases had already been dealt with by the time of the publication of the reports.