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Inspection Reports, reviews

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Inspectors praise Ardingly College as “outstanding” with “excellent” teaching, “excellent” achievements and “excellent” leadership. Ardingly has “a lively academic atmosphere” where “pupils are courteous, well-behaved and co-operative”.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) has praised Ardingly College as highly successful, with excellent leadership and some exceptionally high achieving pupils.

In the last ISI’s integrated inspection and all three of its schools – Senior, Prep and Pre-Prep –emerged with flying colours.

The ISI inspection report is characterised by the words, “excellent,” “outstanding,” and “exceptional. For example, Ardingly’s academic achievements and quality of learning are described as excellent; of the sixth form International Baccalaureate results the report says: “The pupils’ results in the IB were excellent in comparison with the international average over the years 2009 to 2011, with exceptional results in 2010.” It adds: “Pupils of high ability make excellent use of the exceptional opportunities that extend the curriculum.”

The team of inspectors spent 4 days at Ardingly College in February. Unlike ISI independent school inspections over the previous three years, we were one of the first to enter into a new cycle, so rather than just having two inspectors for each School, there were 15 inspectors, who looked at every area of school life, from Nursery through to the Sixth Form. They interviewed numerous members of staff, and students, sat in lessons throughout the age groups, shadowed students throughout the teaching day to gain a real sense of their experiences, discussed College life with our governors, and interviewed many of our support staff. They managed to get to the heart of Ardingly.

The inspectors observed that pupils “grow into courteous, welcoming and open members of the community, for whom the exploration of faith, ethics and issues of responsibility become second nature,” and that the “pupils’ personal development is outstanding by the time they leave the school as confident, thoughtful and caring citizens.”

The inspectors describe the quality of leadership and management, including links with parents, carers and guardians, as excellent; the teaching as excellent and relationships between staff and pupils and amongst pupils themselves as outstanding.

The report adds:  “Pupils are well-motivated learners who work independently and collaboratively…and the school’s provision of extra-curricular activities is outstanding.” It also states that there is “a lively academic atmosphere” and that “pupils are courteous, well behaved and co-operative,” while their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is “excellent.”

The inspectors also looked in detail at the Prep and Pre-Prep Schools, from Nursery to Year 8, judging it in one combined report to be “highly successful,” with “a welcoming, caring ethos and pupils whose overall achievement is excellent.”  Leadership and management at all levels are excellent, states the report.

Behaviour was observed as exemplary and polite; the curriculum was seen to be highly stimulating; pupils’ spiritual development outstanding and social development exceptional. The report says: “By the time they leave the school, pupils display a mature level of personal development, characterised by perceptive self-knowledge, confidence, empathy and social concern.