State school boarding is regularly inspection by Ofsted. Inspectors visit lessons and hold meetings with governors, staff and students, scrutinise documentation and analyse parental questionnaires as they would in a conventional inspection. In addition, in inspecting boarding provision, the Ofsted Social Care Inspector interviews boarders, inspects the boarding houses and meets with managers.
Ripon Grammar School’s boarding provision was inspected by Ofsted in Summer 2014. Of the 4 categories reported on, 2 were graded ‘outstanding’ and 2 were graded ‘good’. Outcomes for boarders and leadership and management were both graded ‘outstanding’ and boarders’ safety and quality of boarding provision and care were both graded ‘good’.
Ofsted gave the school three hours’ notice of the inspection of its residential provision. Inspection evidence came from one-to-one and group discussions with boarders; analysis of written surveys received from 48 boarders, 8 parents and 9 residential staff; discussions with residential staff, the Headteacher and the Head of Care; assessment of the school’s policies and records; a tour of the residential units and observations of boarding routines.
The inspectors were very impressed with the overall leadership of the boarding provision, both in School and Johnson House. The policies employed and approaches adopted are under constant review and changes are made where necessary. Outcomes for boarders, in particular, are outstanding reflecting outstanding outcomes in external examinations (A level and GCSE). Boarders also develop a strong sense of independence as well as excellent social skills which prepare them very well for life beyond school.
You can read the full inspection report by clicking here, but we've also listed a few highlights of direct quotes from the Ofsted report:
"The leadership and management of boarding is excellent".
"Boarding is providing significant benefits to the boys and girls who reside at the school. They become more independent, they develop social skills and confidence and they gain academically".
"Boarders thoroughly enjoy their residential experience. They like having friends around them and the range of activities available in their leisure time. The tutoring system and group meetings are help them to have an effective say in how care may be improved".
"Outcomes for boarders are outstanding. Boarders thoroughly enjoy living at the school and all were keen to express the difference that boarding made to their lives. They have a deep appreciation of the opportunities that boarding gives them, for example, the ready access to superb sporting and cultural facilities. Many have developed new skills and aptitudes or built on existing ones. Additionally, boarders are keen to take part in activities outside the school. They have free time to go into the nearby town, as well as participating in more structured outings, for example, to local theatres".
"Boarders enjoy extremely positive relationships with staff and with each other. For much of the time they require very little direct supervision and motivate themselves to carry out their daily routines. Boarders are tolerant of each other and show great consideration for their needs. They respect and celebrate the diversity within the boarding group, enjoying the opportunity to learn about different languages and cultures. They also identify strongly with the school in general and the boarding community in particular. This is demonstrated in recorded comments made by boarders who have left the school, such as: ‘…leaving here was like leaving your family…my time here has had a massive impact on me… you’ve literally changed my life for the better…’ Boarders’ sense of pride is reflected in their clear desire to ‘put something back’ into the community, for example, by undertaking the role of prefect".
"During their time at the school, boarders become markedly more confident and self-reliant. A parent commented, ‘My child is much more independent. They have learned how to get on with others and how to work in a team. These are fantastically valuable life lessons which the
boarding experience has given them.’ Boarders develop self-discipline and a clear vision of what they want to achieve in their school career. For example, they undertake set studies within boarding time largely without the need for staff oversight. One boarder said, ‘I definitely prefer boarding to being at home – I don’t have to worry about homework.’ The benefit of this is reflected in the significantly better examination results achieved by boarders in comparison to day students".
"Boarders are in exceptionally good health, and have an extremely good awareness of what makes for a healthy lifestyle. As a result they are able to make sensible choices, for example, in following a balanced and nutritious diet".