Independent inspectors rate Elizabeth College as excellent

THE quality of students’ learning, achievement and personal development at Elizabeth College has been given the highest rating in its latest inspection report.

Elizabeth College principal Jenny Palmer was delighted with the excellent ratings given to all levels of the school by a team from the Independent Schools Inspectorate. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30376808)
Elizabeth College principal Jenny Palmer was delighted with the excellent ratings given to all levels of the school by a team from the Independent Schools Inspectorate. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30376808)

Prepared by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the school was given ratings of excellent across the two main criteria.

A team of eight inspectors spent several days at the school last November, during which time they observed lessons and spoke to tutors and students.

The review covered the college’s pre-, junior and upper schools.

Written questionnaires were given out to all involved with the school, including parents.

Students ‘respond well to a thoughtfully constructed curriculum and to teaching that demands active engagement by pupils,’ said the report.

‘When pupils are given the freedom to challenge themselves, they show considerable initiative.’

A minor criticism was that occasionally teachers set tasks which were ‘insufficiently interesting or appropriate for the age and ability of all the pupils’, and college principal Jenny Palmer said efforts to address these points, as well as the three main recommendations made in the report, were already under way.

There was praise, too, for

the extra-curricular activities offered and the pastoral care given to students.

This was Mrs Palmer’s first inspection as principal and she was delighted with the outcome.

‘I’m really pleased that from pre-school up to sixth form we’ve achieved excellence both academically and pastorally,’ she said.

‘When you come and work in a new school where things are going well it’s a case of evolution rather than revolution.

‘It’s always useful to have what you’re doing reviewed and challenged and explored. It really does give some confidence that what we are doing, we’re doing well for our students.’

Students’ ‘excellent’ decision-making skills were praised in the report and it said these were underpinned by the application of integrity – ‘a quality that pupils understand through clear, unambiguous teaching and guidance from the pastoral team'.

There was enthusiasm among the students who took part in extra-curricular activities, with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, sports, the arts and the Combined Cadet Force all referenced.

‘The pupils who participate in extra-curricular activities attain very high standards and for many this results in a resilient, well-grounded approach to other areas of their lives,’ said the report.

Of the three recommendations, two call for the school to strengthen particular areas – the application of information and communication technology skills across the curriculum at the junior school, while upper school students needed to have the ability to reflect on the philosophical and spiritual ideas to which they were exposed.

The third recommendation was to ensure that all students made equally strong progress across all areas of the school through the consistent application of marking, oral feedback and suitable challenges in all lessons.

Mrs Palmer said the ICT issue had already been identified by the junior school.

As for the recommendation aimed at the upper school, she said there were opportunities across the curriculum for students to be supported to reflect more effectively on ideas.

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