Taunton School is celebrating after receiving an outstanding Inspection report across the board from its Nursery through to Year 8. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), equivalent to Ofsted in the state sector, judged Taunton Preparatory School as “Excellent” in the quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements and “Excellent” in pupils’ personal development – the two areas the new inspection framework focusses on. Excellent is the highest rating available as schools are rated on a scale from ‘Unsatisfactory’, ‘Sound’, ‘Good’ to ‘Excellent’. The Inspectors also judged the Senior School (Year 9-13) as “Good” and “Excellent” respectively.
The inspection focused on educational quality and compliance and judged the School to be fully compliant with all statutory regulations and requirements. Taunton School, on Staplegrove Road, which educates 1,000 pupils, received just 24 hours’ notice before the arrival of 18 inspectors for the rigorous three-day whole school inspection in March. The process required lengthy preparation examining regulatory information provided by the School, a formal inspection in School, surveys with parents and students, as well as interviews with staff, Directors and students.
In the Prep School, the Inspection report stated that pupils’ attainment is often well above national age-related expectations. It reports that pupils’ progress rapidly and states: “All groups of pupils demonstrate exemplary attitudes to learning.” It continues that pupils are “highly motivated to learn and succeed” and “exhibit great delight in finding out more.”
Inspectors praised the Prep School stating that it fully meets its aim to challenge, inspire and nurture pupils to achieve in a global community and rapidly changing world. Inspectors also found that pupils demonstrate outstanding self-confidence, exhibit notably strong moral understanding and are extremely respectful towards others. Inspectors noted that “Pupils’ exemplary attitudes towards learning are nourished by the teachers’ substantial expectations of them, and due to leaders and governors successfully embedding the school’s ethos.”. They observed that “The EYFS outcomes in 2016 were above national age-related expectations” and “Pupils including boarders and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) children progress rapidly from their starting points.”
Inspectors commended the school because “Children in the EYFS exhibit outstanding levels of self-confidence due to their extremely strong emotional attachments with staff.” Inspectors also observed that “Pupils maintain outstanding social relationships”. They commended teachers saying “This is as a result of the extremely welcoming, warm and positive daily routines including in the EYFS and all boarding communities”. They applauded the school for the fact that “Pupils feel extremely safe, well-known and nurtured”.
Inspectors agreed that the School fully meets its aim to challenge, inspire and nurture pupils to achieve in a global community and rapidly changing world. Inspectors also found that pupils demonstrate outstanding self-confidence, exhibit notably strong moral understanding and are extremely respectful towards others. The Inspectors found that results at GCSE and IGCSE are above the national average and worldwide norms. It stated that in 2016, results were significantly stronger than in previous years. Results at IB have been higher than worldwide norms and BTEC Extended Diploma (Level 3) in Sport and Exercise Sciences achieved excellent results. “Pupils have excellent attitudes to their learning” the inspectors stated and “outcomes for pupils in the co-curricular programme are outstanding”. The report continues: “Pupils demonstrate high levels of self-understanding for their age and make intelligent and thoughtful choices.” It states that they value their friendships with peers from other parts of the world.
ISI is an independent, government-approved body which provides objective inspections to safeguard the quality and effectiveness of the education, care and welfare of children in schools. Taunton School and all other independent school inspection reports are available to view on the ISI website http://www.isi.net/reports/.