Headmaster Daniel Berry has been reflecting on a busy but rewarding first year in charge at KIRKHAM GRAMMAR SCHOOL that has seen the school rated as “excellent across all areas” by Independent School Inspectors.
“It seems to be a common occurrence to end my first full year in post as Headmaster with an excellent inspection report, having followed a similar pattern when I served as Head at St. George’s Church of England Academy and with the most recent inspection being my third in three years, I thought I was well placed! Although, having been subjected to an OFSTED inspection in May 2015, then a Church School Inspection in February 2016 at St. George’s, I did feel apprehensive about embarking on the process again, despite being confident that Kirkham Grammar School was well prepared. However, the rigour, volume and attention to detail of an Independent School Inspection meant that every area of the school was under scrutiny. Of the last three inspections at Kirkham Grammar School the earlier two had both been deemed “very good” and the final one recognised the school as “excellent across all areas”. This history, coupled with my recent experience of the inspection regime meant, whilst I cannot say I was looking forward to it, I was both anticipating and judiciously deployed to undertake yet another version of the inspection framework.
“However well prepared a school might be for an inspection, once the call is received from the inspectorate at 9.22am on the Monday morning the heart does miss a beat. The reality is that that the team will be at the school at 7am the next morning, leaving the request: “Please can we have the following information…”
“Needless to say that, even though the wheels of preparation at Kirkham Grammar are well-oiled, the school went on red alert, staying open continuously for the next 72 hours. The next few days rose and fell with over 60 lessons observed, meetings undertaken and every aspect of school infrastructure and life inspected. When the team of eight inspectors are waved goodbye to there is a sigh of relief, but the wheels of school life continue turning as if nothing ever happened!
“The recent inspection has confirmed what we all knew about Kirkham Grammar School; it is the best kept educational secret in Lancashire. However, it is really pleasing that it has been officially acknowledged against national criteria that we are working hard to ensure our pupils get the finest education.”
The Inspection found that:
The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent:
- Pupils are articulate and display excellent verbal and communication skills.
- Pupils achieve excellence in co-curricular activities.
- Pupils are ambitious learners, eager to respond to challenging opportunities in lessons and clear target setting in marking, which in the senior school is not always evident.
The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent:
- Pupils reflect the strong family ethos of the school and demonstrate excellent collaboration in and out of lessons.
- Pupils develop excellent levels of confidence at all ages, supported by the strong personal, social, health and educational (PSHE) and enrichment programmes.
- Pupils show a clear respect for different faiths and diversity, demonstrating excellent levels of empathy and tolerance towards others.
- Pupils make informed choices, empowered and supported by their teachers.