Sexey’s School celebrate ‘Good’ Ofsted rating for its boarding offer


Headteacher Helen Cullen with Boarding Students

Following a recent Ofsted inspection, Sexey’s School are delighted to be awarded a ‘good’ rating for its boarding provision.

The glowing report raises the schools social care grading to ‘good’ and takes into account how well children and young people are helped and protected and the effectiveness of leaders and managers. The key findings identified safeguarding as priority and highlighted the commitment by all staff to ensure the welfare and safety of all students.

A remote social care inspection identifying no areas for concern had previously taken place in October 2020 due to covid stopping formal inspections during the pandemic.

Inspectors said that “Boarders reported that boarding at the school feels like belonging to a big family” and that “a strength of the boarding provision is the way in which boarders learn to make friendships and support each other in a nurturing and caring environment.” They also mentioned that “Boarders are treated with dignity and respect. They receive help with overcoming any previous trauma or any concerns that they have and are helped and supported to build emotional resilience.”

“Boarders clearly benefit from boarding, both academically and socially. Examination results show that boarders’ academic achievement is positive as a result of them  boarding at the school. Boarders learn to make friends, and improve their confidence and social skills.”

The report praised the school for the variety of extracurricular activities and trips available to boarders. Stating that “Activities are varied and boarders enjoy swimming in the school pool and travelling to football matches, firework displays and the cinema. Boarders are encouraged to join the school’s cadet force or undertake community service. These activities support boarders to learn new skills, make friends and access the local community.”

With respect to the boarding staff, the inspectors stated that “Children reported that they feel safe when boarding’ and that ‘the boarders reported that they are comfortable about speaking to all staff members’ and ‘trust the staff and have confidence that they will listen.”

“The staff know the boarders well, and show professional curiosity and vigilance that alert them to any small changes in the behaviour of a boarder which may indicate that they are worried or upset.”

Inspectors noted that leaders and managers create comprehensive assessments of risk to promote the safety of the boarders. They said that “Any individual vulnerabilities are promptly identified and a support plan and a comprehensive individual risk assessment are put in place. These documents are reviewed at daily staff meetings, and are accessible on the case management system across the school to keep all staff informed. The headteacher holds other agencies to account if information is not promptly shared.”

Inspectors praised the Leadership team and managers for their “ambitious vision for boarding” and the “high expectations and aspirations for the boarders”. Headteacher, Helen Cullen, and Director of Boarding, Tim Allen, were also commended for their “strong leadership and rigorous approach that has led to improvements in the quality of boarding.”

They noted that “A comprehensive development plan for boarding is in place. The strengths and any areas identified for improvement are clearly identified and acted upon by leaders and managers. There are effective systems in place for monitoring the quality of the boarding provision.”

The report also highlighted that “Leaders and managers have the necessary skills and experience to give the effective help and support given to children and their families and carers”.

It said “For example, the school’s sessions on understanding and responding to children’s behaviour are very popular with parents and carers. When COVID-19 restrictions were in place in 2020 and 2021, boarding staff supported the boarders and their parents by offering a comprehensive programme of regular communication and support”.

Helen Cullen, Headteacher at Sexey’s School said, “I am delighted by the exceptional findings of this Ofsted Inspection of our boarding provision. The inspectors spoke to a significant number of boarders, their parents and professionals about the quality of our boarding offer during the course of the inspection. For 100% of parents to comment that they would recommend the school’s boarding provision to other parents is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our boarding staff.

“I am extremely proud and thank each one of them for everything that they do to support the care and safety of the young people in our boarding houses and in particular the exceptional work done by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Clare Wilson and her team.”

Karen Canham, Chief Executive Officer at Quantock Education Trust said “I am delighted that at last, the school has been recognised for its high quality of care and commitment in delivering an effective education boarding provision, where students clearly feel safe, happy and able to flourish. My congratulations to all!”

Mr Malcolm Broad MBE, Chair of Governors at Sexey’s School said “On behalf of the school governors I want to congratulate all those involved in achieving a strong ‘Good’ from the most recent Ofsted Care inspection visit and especially Mrs Helen Cullen, Headteacher. In her first headship role to turn round the care assessment from the previous judgement of “Inadequate’ to now ‘Good’ is a remarkable achievement not least against the current pandemic background. This has been a long and difficult journey and those involved deserve a huge ’thank you’ for restoring the school to where it should be and ensuring we combine the best of care and high quality education to the pupils/students we serve.”

The report can be read in full on the School website.

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