Ofsted praise Netherthorpe for its ‘nurturing and caring’ environment after ‘fair’ inspection and Headteacher Mrs McVicar vows to work on feedback
Our school has recently been inspected by Ofsted and we thought that we would share their findings with our community.
This was the first inspection that Netherthorpe School has had under the new Ofsted framework, which was introduced in 2019. Headteacher Helen McVicar said: “We feel this was a fair inspection and our senior leadership team had already identified the areas of priority highlighted by Ofsted as requiring improvement. These are evident in the schools’ strategic plan.
“We are not a school that makes excuses, and we always make decisions that are best for the school community. The comments in the report give us something to work on and there were plenty of highlights in there too; things that we are proud of and that should be celebrated.”
Ofsted recognised that leaders are in the early stages of their development work and the new senior leadership team have the determination and capacity to realise their vision of providing high quality education at this school.
Mrs McVicar said: “We think very carefully about the knowledge that we want our young people to know, and offer a broad range of subjects at key stage 4 and 5. We are proud that our curriculum and teacher’s subject knowledge was recognised by Ofsted to be good and ambitious with plenty of opportunities.
“More importantly to me was that safeguarding was recognised as being effective and the pupils feel that the school is a ‘safe and happy’ environment.”
“The school recognises that there is always work to be done in education and we are already working hard on improving the provision for all pupils, including strategies to tackle low level behaviour disruptions.”
“In addition to the extension to the schools Special Educational Needs Hub, a Trust-integrated resource centre is expected to open soon on site to further support our pupils with increasing social, emotional and mental health needs.”
The school was praised for its ‘nurturing and caring’ staff with inspectors noting that there are ‘lots of opportunities for pupil leadership’. The inspection team also recognised the pride of pupils in representing their house and in the achievement badges worn.
Kudos was also given to the amount of extra-curricular activities available.
Year 13 head prefect James Vernon, who has aspirations to pursue his career in sport at Loughborough University and runs the year 9 girls’ football team, said: “There is a real sense of community here at Netherthorpe and everyone who comes here is proud to do so.”
Netherthorpe School is fortunate to be able to offer a Sixth Form provision to the community and this was recognised as being of high quality and ‘good’ by Ofsted, with students consistently speaking highly of this provision.
Lily Haywood, a Sixth Form pupil in her final year, wants to study pharmaceutical medicine when she leaves Netherthorpe. Her family are former pupils and she said: “You can go to any member of staff here for support, and receive it. My sisters both came here; one is a deputy headteacher and the other qualified as a doctor. I wouldn’t have wanted to go anywhere else - I love it here.”
Our school has almost 1,200 pupils on roll and we are extremely proud of our community and rich history.
Mrs McVicar, who joined the school as a newly qualified science teacher in 1999 and taught many of the pupils’ parents, wants Netherthorpe to be a pillar in the community, and recognises the importance of good communication.
In addition to being an integral member of the school’s Parent Voice group, the school is pursuing its Leading Parent Partnership Award.
“Netherthorpe continues to look at what we can do to build positive relationships and support everyone in the school community,” added Mrs McVicar, “including looking to extend our current parent workshop offer to include ‘how to support your child with anxiety’ as the exam season approaches.
“Post-covid, one of the biggest challenges in education has been dealing with the social, emotional and mental health of students, staff and parent/carers.
“As soon as we could, the school ran trips and put on events to try and bring some ‘normality’ back to the lives of those in our community. That’s something that I’m very proud of. The staff always have the best interests of the pupils at heart here at Netherthorpe and go above and beyond to deliver.
“Of course, there is always more that can be done. There are unreached parts of the community who we want to target and events such as the forthcoming charity gig featuring Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont, which has raised more than £10,000 so far, and next year’s celebrations to mark 450 years of the school, are ways in which we can do this.”
Former pupils at Netherthorpe include Olympic medallist Liam Pitchford, while talented artist Hollie Pointon recently made national news after her winning design for a fleet of ambulances that transports sick children to and from Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, was unveiled at the NEC’s emergency vehicle show.
Hollie, a Year 9 pupil, said: “It’s a good school and I feel supported here.” Classmate Charlie Hutchinson added: “It’s a privilege to be a part of a school with such rich history and I feel supported and enjoy my time at school.”
You can read the full Ofsted report here