I am delighted to inform you Shelley College was judged to be outstanding. This is a tremendous achievement under a very rigorous OFSTED framework and I hope it gives parents considerable confidence in the work we are doing.
It is widely reported that the new inspection framework became more rigorous in September 2012 and it was certainly the case that, by the end of Autumn, fewer than 9% of schools that were inspected were judged to be outstanding.
The Ofsted report concerns the section 5 inspection that was conducted on the 15th and 16th of May 2013 by five experienced inspectors, who observed 43 lessons, talked to a significant number of students and consulted widely with parents. The team were also visited by a senior HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspector), who verified the quality of their work.
There is much to celebrate in the report, as the opening paragraphs for each of the four key judgements illustrate:
The inspectors mentioned one of our initiatives, the Entice Project, specifically and I know they were bowled over by the quality of support we offer in helping young people secure meaningful employment or gain places on good quality post-16 courses. I want to single out Debbie Lumb, one of our Assistant Headteachers, who has developed this project with great skill and energy. It is truly a ground-breaking project and I am sure it will come to be copied across the country in years to come. Similarly, I know the inspectors were highly impressed with our support for students with special educational needs and our pastoral care, noting that “students with special educational needs made some of the best progress in the school” and that students are “positive about the work of the highly committed pastoral team”. Staff working in these areas often do not get the credit they deserve and I am delighted to see their efforts acknowledged by OFSTED.
The inspection team saw a much higher proportion of outstanding lessons at Shelley College than they would usually see in a school and I know from regularly visiting lessons that this is typical of the work we do. The lead inspector commented, “Teachers encourage students to aim for the highest standards.” Thank you to all the staff for their hard-work, enthusiasm and great professionalism.
The students deserve praise and recognition for their support during the inspection, which was, again, typical of the way they conduct themselves on a daily basis. The vast majority work extremely hard and are a delight to teach. We are fortunate to have so many talented young people attending our school and their achievements provide us all with the greatest sense of pride.
I am also grateful to the parents for their help. A number took the time to contact inspectors and the vast majority were very supportive. A small number expressed concerns but, where this happened, the inspectors checked our work very carefully and found it to be outstanding.
There are, of course, still some areas to improve and I can assure parents we do not consider ourselves to be perfect. The staff and governors will continue to try our hardest to improve the quality of education even further over the coming years.
It is also worth mentioning our work with Dr. Steve Peters and Dr. Kate Goodger and some of you may have seen Steve on the television recently, supporting Ronnie O’Sullivan in the World Snooker Championship. Steve and Kate have a wealth of knowledge from helping Olympic athletes achieve their full potential and their support is having a significant impact on the school; I think it has been an important factor in the quality of our work being acknowledged as outstanding.