Dear Old Sedberghians,
All Schools are Inspected according to a regular schedule and the Senior School was visited by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) between 9th-11th May 2017. Seven Inspectors visited the School over a period of three days and visited lessons, Boarding Houses and activities, reviewed our records, interviewed pupils and staff and assessed pupils’ work in detail. Many parents and pupils also completed questionnaires for the Inspectors.
The Inspection covered all areas of compliance and the quality of education and pastoral care that pupils at Sedbergh School receive. The Inspectors determined that Sedbergh School is compliant in all areas of School regulations including maintaining the safety of pupils and graded the school as ‘Excellent’ in every area of review. I do hope you will wish to read the report which may be found by clicking on the link below:
We were particularly pleased Inspectors found that, “Pupils of all abilities realise their potential, achieving a balance between academic success and striving for excellence in co-curricular activities” [2.1]. They described teachers as being “assured and inspiring with high expectations and expertise in their subjects” [3.3] and observed a “culture of stretching and challenging pupils, both in lessons and through various academic initiatives which encourages, stimulates and validates intellectual development……” [3.3], going on to say that “Pupils demonstrate excellent learning habits and have extremely positive attitudes to their academic work” [3.8].
They commented equally favourably about the pastoral care and highlighted that “Pupils’ self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience are exceptionally well-developed.” [4.2] and acknowledged that the “extra-curricular programme is instrumental in developing this” [4.3]. As we know, House staff are at the heart of our pastoral care and they highlighted “the encouragement and support of house staff and subject teachers who have a genuine care for their (pupils’) development.” [4.7]. We were also pleased to note that they observed how well pupils work together and support each other [4.8].
The Inspectors identified two areas for improvement; the consistency of marking and careers education. The latter is a matter that we had resolved when they visited and we have appointed Mr Lucas as Head of Careers and provided him with time and resources to work with pupils in this important area. This is in addition to revising our PSHE programme to ensure that it is relevant and which will include some elements of careers education.
The advice about marking is welcome as we know that feedback is the most important influence on pupils’ performance beyond teaching. The Inspectors acknowledged that we provide comprehensive verbal and individual feedback which pupils find helpful, but observed that sometimes this is at the expense of traditional marking. We have already moved to respond to this and have refreshed our guidance to teachers, undertaken training and implemented marking reviews to start in September.
I shall leave you with a final extract from the Report:
“Pupils appreciate the unique setting of the School and come to understand the transformative effect of its natural beauty” [4.6]. Sedbergh is so much more than a School and it was heart-warming to hear that our pupils recognise it and that the Inspectors endorsed it so warmly.