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Outstanding for a generation: Peter Symonds College celebrates another impressive Ofsted inspection

Students and staff at Peter Symonds College are celebrating the result of a recent Ofsted inspection which reconfirms the College’s status as an ‘outstanding’ provider, a grade the College has now maintained for an incredible 15 years.

Inspectors graded the College as ‘outstanding’ in every key judgement following an inspection in January, in one of the first inspections to take place under Ofsted’s challenging new framework.

Principal Sara Russell said “Peter Symonds has long had a great reputation for excellence, support and enrichment and I am so pleased these qualities come through so strongly in the report. Fifteen years as an outstanding provider is an incredible achievement and not only testament to the strong foundations of the College but also recognition of our commitment to continuously evolve and improve.

“Our students are at the centre of everything we do and we strive to ensure they are always receiving the very best education and support, both inside the classroom and in extra-curricular activities and services.”

Sara added “I’m so proud of our wonderful staff, students, governors and entire College community and delighted that the report recognises the dedication and passion they all bring to Peter Symonds year after year.”

The report praised the student experience at Peter Symonds, noting that “students are very well prepared for their aspirational next steps” and applauding the College’s “excellent facilities and resources.”

Inspectors drew attention to the College’s efforts to ensure that every student achieves their best, commending the College for implementing “a challenging curriculum that enables students to achieve and often exceed expectations” and noting that “Teachers provide high levels of support for students outside of lessons. Students value the accessibility of drop-in workshops and the one-to-one support they receive. These high levels of individual support contribute to the very low number of students leaving their courses early and the high proportion who achieve better-than-expected grades in their subjects.”

In addition, the report recognised that “students with high needs develop the confidence and resilience to enable them to become more independent…as well prepared for progression to university or work as their peers.”

Inspectors were impressed with the College’s enrichment and activities programme, noting that “Students’ participation on enrichment activities develops their sense of social justice and their roles as active citizens” and “Managers and teachers provide students with a wide range of enrichment activities that broaden the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom.”

“Our view is that education shouldn’t be limited to the classroom” Sara Russell said. “We have worked hard to develop and maintain a remarkable enrichment offer, with over 140 activities available to students each week, to give all our students an opportunity to stretch themselves, learn something new, develop a current skill or take some time to relax and have fun. It’s about providing a balanced, well-rounded education and great to see the benefits of this programme recognised by the inspectors.”

The College’s Governors are also praised for their role working with staff to “maintain an inclusive curriculum and supportive ethos, while still maintaining expectations about high standards.”

“We’re so pleased and proud to have been providing inspiring, supportive and inclusive education at an outstanding level for a generation,” said Sara Russell. “We know from the league tables and university progression data that our students do well here, but this inspection focused on the quality of education, not just the results. To get an ‘outstanding’ judgement for every single area graded is remarkable and shows just how seriously we take the business of educating young people.”

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