As you will all be aware, just before half term, Westfield School welcomed a team of inspectors from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). It is over six years since our last inspection and much has changed in that time. The full report is attached to this letter, but I would like to take this opportunity to summarise and explain some of the main findings.
The report is divided into two sections: Educational Quality, which reviews the achievement of our pupils including their academic and personal development, and Focused Compliance, which considers the school’s compliance with several regulatory standards.
We are delighted to report that, in the Educational Quality inspection we were judged to be excellent or good in all categories. “Pupils of all ages achieve well so ensure the fulfilment of the school’s aim of a first-class education with a global outlook.” “Progress benefits from teaching which is characterised by expertise and enthusiasm.” We did, however, let ourselves down in a couple of instances in the Focused Compliance inspection and I would like to address this first.
In the Focused Compliance inspection judgements are either met or not met. Whilst we met the criteria in most aspects, we fell short in a couple of areas due to historic omissions. For example, we did not meet all the standards relating to the appointment of staff, supply staff and proprietors because historically when the school employed some contract cleaners they did not all have medical checks before starting work and some other past records were not kept correctly. This meant the required standard relating to the Quality of Leadership and Management could not be met.
The issues which did not meet inspection standards were predominantly historic, administrative matters which, where possible, have been resolved and the inspectors recognised that since the last inspection, as well as my appointment, there is a new Chair of Governors and there are now new systems and processes in place to rectify the errors and ensure compliance going forward. Furthermore, they acknowledged that “Leadership and Management do, however, actively promote the well-being of pupils”.
In the Educational Quality inspection, which is the key area for any school, we are very pleased with the outcome; one sentence encapsulates the overall inspection findings: “throughout the school there is a strong sense of family and togetherness”.
The Round Square IDEALS, which we espouse in our ethos, were particularly identified as contributing positively to our pupils’ strong development, which inspectors rated as excellent.
I should like to draw your attention to several further highlights from the report:
- The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent.
- Pupils make strong progress in developing self-confidence, perseverance and self-awareness
- Pupils make an outstanding contribution to the school and the wider community, fulfilling the school’s ethos and its emphasis upon internationalism
- Pupils’ very positive attitudes and values are shaped by the strong system for pastoral care and the positive ethos set by the school’s leaders
- Pupils demonstrate a strong moral framework and an instinctive ability to distinguish right from wrong
- Pupils develop an increasing spiritual awareness and an attendant appreciation of the non-material aspects of life
- The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is good
- Pupils are committed and enthusiastic learners and the norm is to always give of one’s best
- Pupils’ achievement at GCSE has been above the national average and benefits from individual attention and teaching which is characterised by expertise and enthusiasm
- Pupils are excellent communicators and are notably respectful and supportive of one another so express themselves confidently
- Pupils are successful in an extensive range of extra-curricular activities where they achieve well
This report demonstrates that our girls are being given the academic skills and information to fully realise their potential as well as a range of wider opportunities which allow them to be celebrated for their individual talents and achievements. A Westfield education clearly promotes leadership skills, tolerance of others’ differences and a curiosity about the world around them that drives the girls to explore and discover.
As the new Headmaster I am very happy with much of this report, which, I believe, accurately reflects the amazing educational opportunities offered by Westfield. However, we must always strive for even greater achievement and in the light of the report, I am already exploring ways to improve our teaching still further, adding more challenge to promote resilience both within and outside the classroom.
I should like to end by thanking you again for your continued support and engagement with Westfield. As the inspectors found, we offer a first-class education with a global outlook and your children, our pupils, are a credit to the school.
I will allow the inspection team to have the last words:
“Pupils have very positive attitudes to study, showing perseverance. Pupils have highly developed self-awareness and are socially mature. Pupils articulate their feelings clearly. Pupils from EYFS upwards are highly respectful of and value greatly the diversity of their own community. Pupil behaviour and attitudes to learning are excellent and pupils of all ages collaborate well and are mutually supportive. Contributory factors to this positive approach to learning are the ethos within the school which is enabled by supportive governance, strong leadership and management and the constructive approach of parents.”
Mr Neil Walker
You can download the report below:
2017 ISI Inspection Report
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Mr Walker's Monthly Column in The Journal
20 February 2018
See Mr Walker's debut column from last Thursday. Look out for his regular slot - next one is 15th March