This good report, which evaluates pupil outcomes and leadership over a three year period, confirms that the school is “emerging from a challenging period and is facing the future with growing confidence”.
As the report acknowledges, “in the last two years, decisive action has been taken to address concerns” and “the Governing Board has implemented a comprehensive plan and a broad range of actions in response to concerns”.
The inspection team identified four areas for improvement, these confirm the strategy adopted by the Governing Body and the new Senior Leadership team which was appointed in 2019, and we completely agree with their recommendations.
We note that the Estyn team also report that where necessary suitable structures have been put in place; these set strong foundations for our pupils and it is on this basis that we are justifiably confident for the future.
We are pleased to note that the school complies with all seven regulatory requirements including the “quality of education” and the “welfare health and safety of pupils”.
In particular we note that “the school’s arrangements for safeguarding meet requirements and give no cause for concern”. This aspect is rightly given particular emphasis during the inspection of schools and the Governing Board consider the safeguarding of our pupils to be paramount.
In addition to the improvements to provision which are now underway there are many very pleasing aspects of the report. For example, that pupils have “high levels of wellbeing and positive attitudes” and that in each of the last three years “pupils’ overall performance in the core subjects has greatly exceeded national averages”: and that ‘A’ level performance is also above national average.
Parents will know that this inspection took place during a highly challenging period for the school, for parents and for society. The Prep School ski trip over half term had returned from northern Italy and the Coronavirus pandemic was rapidly escalating: at the time we had staff and pupils in isolation and some boarders had returned home.
Governors wish to pay tribute to staff and pupils for their “Keep calm and carry on” attitude and we are in no doubt that this report should be read bearing in mind the difficult circumstances that were in play at that time. In addition, parents may be aware that CIW (Care Inspectorate Wales) should have also inspected the school at (broadly) the same time.
Unfortunately no CIW inspection took place and CIW have announced that no inspections will be carried out at this time because of the pandemic. In light of the unique circumstances the school has requested that once society is able to return to some sense of normality, both Estyn and CIW carry out inspections.
Estyn’s report describes Rydal Penrhos as “an inclusive Christian community …… dedicated to realising the unique potential of each pupil” and with “a strong commitment to promoting these Christian values”. I am in no doubt that the many wonderful contributions being made over the last two months are a true reflection of the school.
You can view the full Estyn inspection report relating to Rydal Penrhos School here.