Praised by Ofsted as a school with ambition that sits at the heart of its local community
Ofsted has praised Richmond School and Sixth Form College as being a school with ambition, whose leaders prioritise pupils’ academic achievement but also show a strong commitment to pupils beyond just academic success. The recent Section 8 inspection has seen the school retain its ‘Good’ rating. A Section 8 inspection means that a change of judgement for the better is not possible however the inspector confirmed that the school has improved since its previous inspection, highlighting strengths across a number of key areas, including safeguarding, SEND, extra-curricular provision and Careers support.
The inspectors reported that leaders support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to achieve their potential. They highlighted that behaviour around the school is orderly and respectful and there is a vigilant safeguarding culture that leaders have established, ensuring that staff are not only clear about what the key risks are for their pupils but know how to report concerns, with robust procedures in place to monitor vulnerable pupils.
The careers provision featured as being a considerable strength of the school and college. This was evidenced by the destinations of pupils when they leave school, the thorough information about careers, university and the world of work they receive, as well as reports from students in the sixth form who said they feel well supported to take their next steps.
The School joined Areté Learning Trust in December 2017 and Richard Crane, the Trust’s CEO, said: “I am immensely proud of the inspection result. It reflects the hard work and dedication of our students and colleagues within the School and across the Trust, affirming their passion and vision of being the best they can be, by going the extra mile for our school community.
“Richmond School and Sixth Form College really is a special place with so many great facets, which ensure our students receive a superb holistic learning experience. Building on this success at Richmond and the recent positive Ofsted report for Northallerton School, as well as the great work that is being delivered at Stokesley School, we will ensure that the Trust continues to go from strength to strength, to provide the best-possible educational opportunities for our students.”
The opening line of the Ofsted report stated that the large and vibrant school sits at the heart of its local community. Jenna Potter, Headteacher, said: “We pride ourselves on being a close-knit community, inside and outside of school and college, being a big family that is firmly at the heart of its community. I am delighted that the inspectors recognised this, as it is something we are incredibly and justifiably proud of.”
The inspectors spoke with a wide range of senior leaders, staff and students, describing students they talked to as happy, courteous and articulate. The school was commended for the wealth of opportunities that pupils can take part in outside the classroom, with an impressive range of sports and performing arts clubs, as well as a much-valued library space where pupils can play chess or read.
In addition, the inspectors considered responses from staff, student and parent surveys, with many parents praising the school for their ‘fantastic’ response to lockdown. They appreciated the hard work and dedication of staff for continuing to deliver a high-quality education to their children remotely. Parents were grateful for the pastoral support that staff provided during this time, reporting frequent contact, especially for more-vulnerable pupils.
The report also found that leaders have ensured that lessons are challenging and well planned and that subject teachers are confident about exactly what they want pupils to learn, focusing on pupil understanding through the use of ‘knowledge organisers’.
Jenna Potter, Headteacher, concluded: “One student who spoke to the inspectors said that ‘School helps us to find out talents and interests’. This really does sum up why we are here. We may be a big school, however our teachers know our students well and our aim is to discover what their aptitudes and interests are, to nurture and develop them to help all our students to be the best they can be. Our fantastic careers team then work with the students to support them on the next steps of their journeys. We are honoured that so many of our former students keep in touch and support us by joining our alumni network, passing on their knowledge and expertise to our pupils and continuing to be at the heart of our community.”
The Ofsted report can be viewed HERE.