We had been expecting our OFSTED inspection at Highfields School for some time when the midday call came in May to notify us that the inspection team would be visiting us the next morning.
Our last inspection was in September 2012, so we were well over the standard ‘three-year window’, and getting very close to the five-year point at which the next inspection must take place.
As a school judged to be ‘good’ at our last inspection we had a ‘Section Eight’ inspection.
These are relatively new, following a shorter one-day format, and are designed to decide whether a school is still a good school.
In order to make such a judgement in such a short time the pace is intense.
The inspectors covered a huge amount of ground, checking our safeguarding arrangements, meeting groups of colleagues and students, interviewing senior leadership and governors, observing lessons and social times and analysing the views of parents and carers.
The experience was very challenging and developmental.
We are delighted, but not at all surprised, that the team agreed with our own judgments about our strengths and improvement priorities.
They were quick to identify and praise the strong ethos of our school, the quality of leadership and governance, the good behaviour of our students, their positive approach to learning, and to identify the wide range of opportunities they enjoy.
They were also incisive in probing our areas for development.
We are already working on these and will ensure that they remain a core focus of our drive to be an even more successful and inclusive school.
To view the report in full visit the OFSTED web page www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted