Ipswich School is excellent in all areas, finds independent inspection

Ipswich School has been judged as ‘excellent’ in all areas, according to a recent independent inspection. A team from the Independent Schools Inspectorate visited the school in November, and the report on their findings has now been published.

Headmaster Nicholas Weaver said: “We are absolutely delighted that all aspects of Ipswich School have been rated as excellent.  This is a wonderful endorsement of all that we do here to enthuse young people with a passion for learning, helping them to reach their full potential.  As a school inspector myself I know how rare it is to get such excellent results across the board, and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved.”

Karl Daniels, Chairman of Governors, added:  “I would like to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of all members of staff, governors, parents and pupils who have contributed to this outstanding report.  The inspectors spent a lot of time investigating all aspects of Ipswich School, and to have such a positive report really is excellent news.  With the completion of our fantastic sports centre at Rushmere there is much to celebrate.”

The inspectors found that: “Pupils demonstrate excellent levels of knowledge, skills and understanding across all subject areas, in response to an ambitious curriculum and excellent teaching.” 

They found that the following key areas were all excellent:
• The quality of the pupils’ achievements and learning
• The contribution of the curriculum
• The provision of extra-curricular activities
• The contribution of teaching
• The personal development of pupils
• The contribution of arrangements for pastoral care
• The arrangements to ensure the welfare, health and safety of pupils
• The quality of boarding
• The quality of governance
• The quality of leadership and management, including links with parents, carers and guardians

In addition they made the following judgements:
• “Pupils consistently achieve at all levels well beyond those expected of their age.”
•  “Pupils make excellent progress in response to the particularly vibrant curriculum which includes an exciting and extensive array of activities and sports.”
• “Pupils develop high order thinking skills because the teaching allows them to think for themselves.”
• Ipswich School provides a “learning environment which is characterised by thorough enjoyment and good humour.”
• “The curriculum provides very effectively for all areas of learning and contributes significantly to the pupils’ achievements.”
• “Teachers know their pupils well and all lessons demonstrate excellent working relationships and strong subject knowledge,” and that teaching is “dedicated and often passionate”.

• “The pupils’ personal development is excellent, supported by an extremely effective and well-organised pastoral care system.”
• “Pupils show high levels of confidence, are thoroughly articulate, and demonstrate very strong moral and cultural awareness.”
• “Pupils show a generosity of spirit and appreciate the circumstances of those less fortunate than themselves.  Their strong commitment to community service is evident with high levels of participation in volunteering and charitable fundraising.”
• “Boarding makes an excellent contribution to boarders’ personal development.”
• “Leadership, management and governance are excellent, promoting the school’s aims very strongly.”

The inspection team found that the school “has made significant progress since the previous inspection” with all recommendations being met. The inspectors said: “Pupils leave the school with highly developed person skills, as confident, emotionally mature young people, able to respond to the challenges of the modern world.”

Nicholas Weaver said: “The inspectors found one area to recommend for further improvement – ensuring consistency of practice across all departments – an area we already have in our development plan.  Added to this a number of exciting developments happening over the next year, not least the official opening of the Ipswich School Sports Centre at Rushmere and the building of the new Music School, which will provide excellent facilities for the local community as well as the school, and we can look to a very positive future.”

The inspection report is available to read on the Ipswich School website: www.ipswich.suffolk.sch.uk/inspection


Ipswich School was inspected by a team of nine from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) from 18 November to 24 November 2014.  They observed lessons, conducted formal interviews with pupils and examined samples of pupils’ work.  They held discussions with senior members of staff and the chair of governors, observed extra-curricular activities and visited the boarding house.  They also analysed the responses of parents and pupils to pre-inspection questionnaires and examined regulatory documentation.

Ipswich School was last inspected by the ISI in October 2008, and there was an intermediate boarding inspection in March 2012. ISI reports give a clear judgement on each aspect of the school’s work at the beginning of each section, including one of the descriptors ‘excellent’, ‘good’, ‘sound’ or ‘unsatisfactory’



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