ISI Inspection – March 2021

To meet local demand, and in particular, many of the parents of our current pupils, the school proposed to introduce boys into the Prep School from September 2021.  The school was visited by the ISI in March of this year, at the request of the Department for Education (Dfe) to assess this proposal.

Feedback from Material Change Inspection of the Preparatory School March 2021

All the standards for the curriculum, teaching, safeguarding, behaviour, first aid, provision of pupils, toilet and washing facilities, medical facilities, information to parents and leadership and management were met.

Quality of education provided – curriculum

The school delivers an appropriately broad and balanced curriculum and makes suitable provision for all pupils, including those with SEND.

The curriculum prepares pupils for the move to senior school.

Education in class is complemented by a wide range of activities, trips and visits which pupils say they much enjoy.

The school has given appropriate attention to modifying the curriculum to prepare for the admission of male pupils, particularly in relation to PSHEC, RSE and PE.

It has suitable resources, such as a range of class and library books appropriate to any gender.

Quality of education provided – teaching

The school supports British values through emphasising the ‘Park School Way’, and this is reinforced by the approaches taken by staff.

Pupils describe how they are taught to welcome people from different backgrounds and to respect those with particular needs.

Teaching thus supports British values and protected characteristics.

Pupils speak highly of the way staff support them.

The great majority of staff have experience of teaching in a co-educational setting, this means they are well prepared for the proposed change to co-education.

Welfare, health and safety of pupils – safeguarding

Arrangements are implemented effectively to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils by means that pay due regard to statutory guidance, and to the requirements of the Prevent strategy.

Pupils are confident they always have someone to talk to, that they are listened to, and that action is taken when needed.

The school provides regular guidance to pupils on the safe use of mobile phones and social media.

Pupils are very aware of maintaining a safe culture.

The designated safeguarding lead together with the assistant safeguarding leads arranges induction, annual training and regular updates both in person and through the local authority safeguarding team.

In conversation, the staff showed that they are very aware of safeguarding issues, including pupil-on-pupil abuse and they understand reporting procedures, both for concerns about pupils and nay allegations against adults.

The school works very closely with local agencies with regard to pupil’s welfare, as evidenced in suitably thorough records.

Governors review the safeguarding policy annually, including in safer recruitment.

As a school which gives careful attention to the needs of individuals, it is suitably equipped to meet safeguarding requirements in a co-educational setting.

Governors are aware of the particular need to continue monitor safeguarding procedures and practice, as well as the formulation of the policy as the change to co-education takes place.

Welfare, health and safety of pupils – behaviour

The school promotes good behaviour successfully and has appropriate awareness of any changes needed for co-education.

The school provides effective behavioural support to pupils and deals well with any difficulties that arise between them.

Pupils say teachers take trouble to be even-handed and see both sides of a problem. As a result, pupils learn this too.

The school has an effective reward system and appropriate sanctions for poor behaviour, though the latter are rarely used.

Proper records are kept enabling any action to be reviewed later.

Welfare, health and safety of pupils – first aid

The school has appropriate arrangements for first aid, with suitably trained staff, including for pupils in the EYFS.

Staff have appropriate training and the level of first aid provision is appropriate for co-education.

Welfare, health and safety of pupils – supervision

The school provides appropriate supervision of pupils during break and lunchtimes.

Pupils are confident that staff are always to hand.

The current levels of supervision are sufficient for the proposed increase in the number of pupils.

Premises and accommodation – toilet and washing facilities

The school provides sufficient toilets for the use of pupils.

The school has made appropriate plans for male and female pupils over the age of 8.

Premises and accommodation – medical facilities

The school has appropriate accommodation for the medical examination and treatment of sick or injured pupils.

These facilities are sufficient for the proposed increase in the number of pupils.

A separate space has been identified which can be used if a male and female pupil need attention simultaneously.

Provision of Information

The school meets the requirements for providing information relating to safeguarding to parents and particulars for the arrangements for

safeguarding are published on the school’s website.

Quality of leadership and management

The proprietor ensures that the leadership and management demonstrate good skills and knowledge, and fulfil their responsibilities effectively, so that the other standards are consistently met.

They actively promote pupil’s well-being.

They monitor safeguarding and recruitment carefully, along with other aspects of the school’s day to day provision.

The governors are planning effectively for the proposed change in admissions in response to requests from parents.

The necessary arrangements have been put in place.

Conclusion

It is recommended that the application to admit male as well as female pupils to the preparatory school be approved.

The school has made appropriate plans to adapt aspects of the curriculum and is well aware of the academic and pastoral issues that may arise.

Its premises can be made suitable for any gender.

The inspector held discussions with the head teacher, senior leaders and other members of staff and met with their chair of governors. He visited different areas of the school and talked with groups of pupils. He scrutinised a range of documentation, records and polices.