Skip to content ↓

Ofsted June 2019 - school judged 'Good'

‘High-powered and pacey’ – Orchard School going from strength to strength following 'Good' rating by Ofsted

Our teaching staff have been praised in glowing terms by Ofsted inspectors, who described the quality of teaching and learning as ‘high-powered, pacey and demanding’.

The inspection team, which visited last month, said Orchard School was on ‘an ambitious path’ academically – while the 11-16 school was also ‘highly effective’ in its pastoral role for the children.

They said the result of this high quality teaching was that students ‘respond with energy and eagerness and are keen to … make contributions to lessons’.

The school was judged ‘Good’ by lead inspector Michael Merchant and head teacher Julia Hinchliffe said she was delighted that her staff’s cutting edge approach to classroom teaching had been recognised.

In a letter to Mrs Hinchliffe, inspector Mr Merchant said:

  • Teachers, invariably, have a good knowledge and understanding of the subject they teach.
  • Staff use this strong subject knowledge to create questions in class that are precise and targeted
  • Teachers expect much of their pupils, both in terms of work rate and in intellectual demand
  • Pupils, particularly the most able, respond with energy and eagerness.
  • The most able pupils grow in confidence and quickly develop a deep understanding of their work.
  • Teaching is now successful at encouraging middle-attaining pupils to develop their understanding across a range of subjects, to feel challenged and supported in lessons and not to be afraid of making mistakes.

Mr Merchant also praised work done outside the classroom.

He said: “There is strong pastoral and multi-agency work…a highly effective team... and very effective pastoral managers.

“Pupils have access to a wealth of curriculum, pastoral and online guidance that ensures that they know how to keep themselves safe. They report that lessons are calm and orderly.”

He added that comments made by parents also added to the positive ethos of the school.

He told Mrs Hinchliffe: “You reach out to your local community in a very real way.  Parents are overwhelmingly supportive and appreciative of your work and that of your staff.”

“One parent spoke for many when saying: ‘This school has been amazing. I can't believe how well they have communicated with us, supported my child emotionally and challenged her with her learning. Any issues I raise with them are dealt with really effectively. I can see how much each and every teacher really cares for all of the pupils. I could not imagine a better place for my child’s education. I cannot praise this school enough’.”

Mrs Hinchliffe, whose leadership team was described as ‘sharing high ambitions for pupils’, said: “The whole staff team have pulled together magnificently to drive the changes I needed to implement since starting as headteacher in September 2017.  The Ofsted inspectors could see just how far we have come. The quality of teaching and learning at Orchard School is phenomenally good, and inspectors were really blown away by what they saw in every single classroom. 

"Students are receiving a very good education at Orchard School, and the inspectors could sense our warm and positive learning environment which is leading to rapidly improving outcomes for students.  This Ofsted report confirms without doubt that Orchard School is on a very exciting journey to deliver outstanding education for our children and young people.”

The full text of Mr Merchant’s Ofsted letter can be found HERE.