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The Netherhall School, Cambridge, retains ‘good’ Ofsted rating but warned ‘attendance of some pupils too low’

Overall Ofsted found Netherhall ‘continues to be a good school’

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A Cambridge school retained its ‘good’ by Ofsted after a 2-day inspection in March was urged to improve curriculum plans and improve attendance rates. “The attendance of some pupils is too low,” says Ofsted. “These pupils do not routinely benefit from the strong academic and pastoral support the school provides.

“When they are in school, they do not always meet the school’s expectations for behaviour. With trust support, school leaders should continue to prioritise and implement their planned actions to improve attendance for all pupils.”

The comments by Ofsted comes after inspectors visited The Netherhall School in Queen Edith’s Way on March 5 and 6.

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On curriculum plans, Ofsted found some “are not precise enough. This means that teachers do not always know which precise concepts or knowledge they should prioritise in lessons.

“As a result, pupils do not always have a clear understanding of the key concepts they need to learn in some subjects. Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans set out more clearly the knowledge pupils are expected to learn over time”.

“A small number of curriculum plans require greater precision so that staff understand what key knowledge they need to prioritise and when to teach this.”

Ofsted agreed that teachers use their strong subject knowledge to present new concepts well.

“They use assessment thoughtfully to identify which pupils need additional help and provide them with extra support,” says their report. “They check learning in lessons and address misconceptions as they arise. Pupils in Year 10 and Year 11 study a broad range of qualifications.

“The school has introduced innovative programmes of study for those pupils who need an adapted curriculum. Pupils make strong progress and achieve the grades they require to follow their chosen pathway. Most students in the sixth form proceed into university education. “

Overall Ofsted found Netherhall “continues to be a good school.

“At The Netherhall School, pupils learn how to lead happy, successful, and fulfilling lives. They are prepared well for life in modern Britain.

“Leaders set high standards for all. Pupils and students in the sixth form step up to this challenge. They consistently achieve well. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) benefit from the programmes implemented specifically to meet their needs.

The Netherhalls School principal Chris Tooley said: ‘Maintaining our ‘good’ rating from Ofsted is a tremendous achievement, a testament to the dedication of our entire school community’

The Netherhalls School principal Chris Tooley said: ‘Maintaining our ‘good’ rating from Ofsted is a tremendous achievement, a testament to the dedication of our entire school community’

“The house system underpins the strong pastoral care available to pupils. Pupils trust adults and feel safe.”

Ofsted says: “There are high expectations for pupils’ behaviour. Most pupils behave well but attendance is not always sufficiently high. A small number of pupils do not always show sufficient respect for others.

“Pupils welcome the many leadership responsibilities that they can take on. Pupils’ personal development is a cornerstone of life at the school.

“Pupils have an influential voice, for example, through the Netherhall anti-bullying committee and through their involvement in the redesign of toilet facilities. Leaders understand the barriers that might stop some pupils from accessing after-school clubs.

“They work to address these effectively.”

Ofsted says the most disadvantaged pupils consistently benefit from the wide range of opportunities provided by the school.

It says the school identifies well the additional needs of pupils with SEND. Teachers receive the training and information they need to adapt teaching effectively for these pupils. Pupils accessing specially resourced provision are particularly well catered for. Leaders are suitably ambitious in their plans to prioritise the love of reading.

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“Their well-planned interventions provide the right support for pupils who need extra help with their reading,” says the report.

“Since the previous inspection (4 years ago), leaders have taken effective action to address inappropriate behaviour. Pupils behave well on the whole. They trust adults to keep them safe. The number of pupils who receive a suspension has been significantly reduced.

“This is because leaders now implement appropriate strategies when pupils make mistakes. This helps pupils to avoid repeated poor behaviour sanctions. The school has secured a recent improvement in rates of attendance. However, school leaders and the trust recognise they need to do more. The attendance of some pupils is still too low.

“These pupils do not benefit routinely from the school’s strong academic and pastoral support. As a consequence, they do not always meet the school’s high expectations for behaviour.”

The report adds: “Students in the sixth form have respectful and trusting relationships with staff. They value their education and the personalised support they receive.

“Leaders prepare them well for a deeper, more independent way of learning.

Ofsted describes as innovative the ‘I3ntegrate’ programme which they say is well received by parents who get “informative guidance on how to support their children.

“The school is well led at all levels. The trust has been highly effective in helping the school to secure key improvements.

“Trustees and local governors know the school well, and provide leaders with expert scrutiny, support, and challenge.”

Principal Chris Tooley said: “Maintaining our ‘good’ rating from Ofsted is a tremendous achievement, a testament to the dedication of our entire school community. The achievement affirms our commitment to supporting every pupil through our unique curriculum.

“The Ofsted report’s recognition of our innovative programmes aligns perfectly with our vision, and we’re thrilled to see their positive impact on community engagement, career preparation, and pupil well-being.”

He added: “As shown in the report, The Netherhall School equips leaders with skills and strategies that encourage a positive culture, improving pupil behaviour: ‘Leaders have taken effective action to address inappropriate behaviour’, leading to pupils that ‘behave well’ and ‘trust adults to keep them safe.’

“Inspectors noted that as a result, ‘the number of pupils who receive a suspension has been significantly reduced’”.

Mr Tooley said the school was also complimented on its careers education and Ofsted noted that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities can access ‘specially resourced provision’ and are ‘particularly well catered for’ by teachers who have ‘received the training and information they need to adapt teaching effectively’.

He said: “This praise reinforces the importance we place on establishing a strong community based on great relationships. We believe in inspiring our pupils by providing a nurturing environment; meeting the needs of the individual and creating an inclusive place where all pupils and staff are valued.

“It is fantastic to see these values radiate throughout the report.”

The Ofsted report can be accessed here:

 

https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50245126

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