Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. That may be true, but one is never totally surprised to receive a call from the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate. All independent schools which have earned membership of IAPS (as we have) are routinely inspected by ISI. One never knows when they are coming: the call comes in on a Monday morning and the team arrives 24 hours later. We were pleased to learn that we had received the call on Monday, and we welcomed the 4-strong team of inspectors into ECS for the next three days.
Day 1 was the Focussed Compliance Inspection: the Compliance Inspector and the other members of the team scrutinised school policies, handbooks, records, registers, procedures – and then set about ascertaining whether these are followed up in practice. Days 2 and 3 were the Educational Quality Inspection. All four inspectors observed lessons in all departments across all three sections of the school. They met with pupils (upper years, lower years, pre-prep, boarders, choristers, those with positions of responsibility) and with staff, and took into account the data from the parent and pupil questionnaires (many thanks indeed to those who were able to complete theirs).
At the end of Thursday, I met with the inspectors for some broad-brush feedback. They were most effusive about the many areas of school life that they had seen, and commented on the warm welcome they had received and the feeling of collegiality that they had found in our school. Crucially – and this is the message I wanted to pass on via the HM’s Blog – they said how impressed they had been with the children. They commented that they had found them to be polite, exceptionally well behaved, highly motivated, engaged and hard-working, and that they had all been very passionate about their school. The inspectors spoke of the children’s consideration for others and of the kindness that they witnessed as they went around the School. That made me very proud, and I wanted to share it with you so that you can be proud, too. Mrs Bowles and I will congratulate the children on Monday in assembly/worship, and I hope you might take a moment to do the same at home.
The ISI report about ECS will take 5 weeks to be published. At this point we will know the content of the report and the qualitative judgements that they have chosen to award us. Once that report is with me I will send a copy to you all and publish it on our website. Meantime, thank you for your continued support of all things ECS, and we look forward to another positive week in the run-up to the half-term break. To those sitting exams – good luck. To those revising for Common Entrance – keep going. To those competing in any of the three athletics meets over the weekend – dig deep. To those singing services – sing up. And to those attending the FECS Auction and Gallery this evening – spend big!