In our recent ISI Inspection our boarding provision was rated as excellent in all areas. Below is an extract from the report:
The quality of boarding education is excellent.
Outcomes for boarders are excellent. Boarders are courteous, confident and tolerant, reflecting the ethos that everyone counts and is included and supported. In questionnaire responses, an overwhelming majority of parents expressed their appreciation of all aspects of the boarding experience.
A family atmosphere exists across all year groups, from Years 5 to 11. Boarders are proud of being part of their community and are actively encouraged to make a positive contribution. A thorough induction procedure helps them to become fully integrated into the life of the houses. The homely environment gives them the confidence to express their ideas at house meetings, and to help plan their weekend activities. Qualified boarding staff give extra help with homework to pupils with SEND or EAL. The heads of house are valued both by staff and pupils for helping to build the mutual trust and respect that exist amongst boarders and between boarders and boarding staff. Boarders of all ages are given responsibilities. They say that they have many people to whom they can turn for help and advice. Helpline numbers and details of the independent listener are displayed on notice boards. Pupils have access to news and current affairs through newspapers, television and the internet.
The quality of boarding provision and care is excellent. Boarders are housed in two adjacent buildings a short walk from the school. Boarding accommodation is comfortable. Rooms are shared by between two and four boarders. They are bright and cheerful, warm, well lit and ventilated, and boarders are able to personalise their own space. They all have lockable storage space, but few see the need to use them. The numerous bath, shower and toilet facilities afford appropriate privacy. Supervised homework is mainly completed at school or in the boarding house; senior pupils can work in their rooms. Following the previous inspection recommendation, ICT facilities for boarders have been improved. Laundry is organised in the house, and a high standard of tidiness and cleanliness is maintained throughout.
In pupil questionnaire responses, a large majority said that their food is good. The negative response from a small minority about the availability of snacks was not reflected at any time during the inspection. Inspectors found that suitable snacks are available after school and in the evening, with the older boarders being able to make hot drinks in the house kitchen. Drinking water is suitably labelled. Weekday lunch is eaten in the school dining hall, but all other meals are prepared by the house staff and taken in the boarding house. House meals are relaxed and inclusive social events, and table manners are impeccable. Food is plentiful, nutritious and varied, catering, where necessary, for special diets and allergies. Pupils make suggestions for the menus through a food council.
Boarders are well cared for if they are ill. Separate medical accommodation exists in the houses for boys and girls. Boarders are registered at a local surgery, to which they are taken if necessary. Appointments at a local dentist and optician can be arranged if the need arises. Rigorous procedures are in place for the safe storage and administration of homely remedies and prescription drugs. Pupils’ confidentiality is respected and senior pupils are allowed to self-medicate in accordance with a detailed protocol.
The safety of boarders is given a high priority. Risk assessments are regularly updated and acted upon. Fire precautions are in place, and drills are regularly undertaken and effectively assessed. Pupils are aware of the complaints policy. Accurate pocket money records are kept, and pupils can buy daily necessities when they are taken to local shops.
Pupils appreciate the freedom of the large garden. In the evenings there is a variety of activities for them to enjoy such as visits to the sports hall, quizzes, and the swimming pool in the summer. There are also comfortable places for pupils to be alone and read or just to reflect. This balanced lifestyle contributes significantly to their mental well-being.
The effectiveness of arrangements for welfare and safeguarding is excellent. Boarders feel safe in their boarding house. Staff are thoroughly trained in safeguarding and implement the policy and procedures. The anti-bullying policy is clear and implemented appropriately. Pupils live together in an atmosphere where good behaviour is promoted, and encouraged with rewards, such as a competition for the tidiest dormitories. Few sanctions have to be applied. Boarders say that there are few incidents of bullying and when they occur they are dealt with promptly.
The resident members of staff have suitably separate accommodation, but can all be accessed easily at night in case of emergency. Resident students give extra help and support with evening and weekend activities. Visitor access to the houses is carefully controlled and monitored. Younger pupils are driven to and from the main school in a minibus, with older pupils follow safe procedures for walking between the house and school at specific times.
The effectiveness of leadership and management within the boarding provision is excellent. A clear statement of boarding principles and practice is wholeheartedly adhered to by the committed and dedicated boarding staff. One of the trustees, who has been trained on the necessity of compliance with requirements, visits the house and has tea with the pupils at least once a term. Records are well maintained in the houses, and monitored by the head.