In its first inspection as an Academy, Hayesfield Girls’ School has received a very positive report. The Inspectors were extremely complimentary and identified many outstanding features including attitudes to learning, behaviour and safety as well as leadership and management of the School. Ofsted were impressed with the students who have a thirst for knowledge and achieve well above national average in the highest grades.
The inspection team agreed with the school’s self- assessment and confirmed that ‘teaching is typically good and sometimes outstanding. The core subjects of English, Science and Mathematics were identified for special praise with students performing particularly well across these subjects, as well as in Languages, Humanities and Technology. Teachers were praised for their strong subject knowledge, careful planning, engaging activities to challenge and enthuse students, and generally helping to create a positive learning atmosphere. Importantly, the team were unanimous in their opinion that the students at Hayesfield are exceptional and that ‘Behaviour is outstanding in lessons and social time. Students are exceptionally well cared for and feel safe.’ The Inspectors were extremely impressed with the Sixth Form and noted ‘teaching is particularly effective in the Sixth Form’ and this ensures that students are well prepared for their next steps in education, training or employment. It was noted that progression into Higher Education is well above the national average for Hayesfield students.
The Headteacher, Erica Draisey, said “The inspection team accurately identified the good and outstanding practice that goes on in our school and their comments about our students were particularly pleasing. We are all proud to be members of Hayesfield School and it is testament to the school as a whole that the inspection team recognised that we are a highly cohesive, positive and hard-working community which is ambitious and driven in our pursuit of excellence. We are all aware of how important it is to develop the whole person and, as such, we are justly proud of the extensive range of extension and enrichment opportunities available at Hayesfield including sports, leadership challenges and creative and performing arts. It is therefore a pity that under the new Inspection Framework the Inspectors were unable to comment on these vital aspects of the Hayesfield experience.”
Overall the school was graded as ‘Good’ on the new, much tougher Ofsted framework. The school just missed out on achieving outstanding overall as a result of some variability in the quality and use of feedback and development of extended writing in some subjects. The team was confident that the detailed plans are already in place will enable the school to iron out inconsistencies by drawing on the strengths identified in English, Humanities, Languages and Technology.
Behaviour and safety was judged to be ‘Outstanding’ with inspectors reporting that: ‘the school is a calm and welcoming environment where students are polite and thoughtful’ and ‘students’ exemplary behaviour in class allows teachers to take an imaginative approach to their teaching.’ In the verbal feedback the inspectors were clearly impressed with the students and noted that they showed both passion and enthusiasm for learning; lessons were ‘joyous’ and ‘creative’ and students are proud of their school. The inspectors who interviewed the students talked of the strong ethos at Hayesfield and of how students are ambitious and take the lead on so many different initiatives which make the school such a vibrant place. As part of the new inspection process parents were invited to offer their views and those who responded commented favourably on the high standard of behaviour and said they would recommend the school to other parents and carers.
The leadership in the school was also judged to be ‘Outstanding’. The Headteacher was praised for her ‘passion, drive and steely determination to achieve exceptionally high standards.’ Importantly the Inspectors recognised the excellent leadership across the school from the highly effective senior and middle leaders to the astute and challenging governing body.
Colin McInnes, Chair of Governors, added: “This inspection confirms that we are an effective and supportive school with high standards and the rapid rates of improvement are brought about because of the combination of high quality teaching and the strong ethos alongside a clear vision and direction shared by all members of the school community. I continually feel privileged to be associated with Hayesfield and believe that it is an exceptional school. All bodes well for the future of the school with increasing numbers of students applying to join us and the next phase of the building refurbishment plan now underway.”