‘Ambitious, vibrant and highly inclusive’ Chichester school celebrates strong Ofsted report

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Chichester Free School (CFS) is currently celebrating high praise from Ofsted Inspectors, following its fully graded inspection in May.

Inspectors thoroughly explored all areas of the all-through school and were impressed at how the school’s values of ‘nurture, challenge and inspire’ are embedded throughout.

The report, published next week, comments on ‘the broad and ambitious curriculum’ that ‘provides countless opportunities to develop talents and interests’, ‘expert’ teaching and the ‘respectful and friendly’ pupils.

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Of particular note, is the school’s Personal Development curriculum, which achieved the highest Ofsted grade of Outstanding.

CFS Ofsted CelebrationsCFS Ofsted Celebrations
CFS Ofsted Celebrations

This reflects a whole range of aspects, including pastoral care, character development, social/moral/cultural education, enrichment opportunities, careers support and mental health and wellbeing.

Inspectors commented on the ‘exceptional pastoral support’, ‘exemplary’ careers provision and ‘impressive’ club offer and engagement.

In all other areas CFS achieved a ‘Good’ grading, although several elements of Leadership and Management were also judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in the detailed feedback during the Inspection, with the report specifically commenting on the impact of ‘strong leadership throughout.’

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Leaders report that Inspectors were highly complementary throughout the inspection, reflecting on the strong progress made in all aspects of the School since the last Inspection in 2019. The overwhelmingly positive parental and pupil voice was also noted – parents talked of their children ‘thriving’ at CFS.

Executive principal, Louise New, said: “I am so proud of the whole school community – pupils, staff and parents. The Inspectors really saw what it means to be a part of CFS and how we successfully support pupils in all aspects of their education – academic, social and moral.

“I am particularly pleased that they noted that pupils are safe and thriving at CFS, and that our work ensures they are ‘extremely well prepared for adult life.

“As a leader working in a difficult educational landscape, I am also extremely humbled that it was recognised how well staff are valued and proud to work at CFS. We are a passionate team, and the staff’s tireless dedication to our pupils has been recognised in this very pleasing report.

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“Inspectors were very impressed by the behaviour of our learners, their ‘self-respect and self -regulation’, and also commented on our fairly unique and highly successful All Through model.

“The report only gives a snapshot of their findings, and myself and the heads of the primary and secondary phases were privileged to hear and have the opportunity to record even more detailed feedback on the final day of the Inspection.

“They recognised things like, “the notable culture of praise and celebration,” leaders’ “strong moral imperative,” and many examples of “creative, innovative and engaging teaching.”

Inspectors also praised the school’s work on transition, especially through its creative Year 7 middle school model.

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Inspectors agreed with the school’s own identified area for further development – to continue its work to improve consistency in the implementation of the curriculum in a few subject areas.

CEO of Sussex Learning Trust, Jonathan Morris, said: “We were reassured that Inspectors agreed with the main focus of the school improvement work that is already happening within the school – to ensure that the ‘expert’ teaching seen in many areas is consistent in every subject.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the CFS leaders in their relentless and ambitious work in this area, as the school will continue to go from strength to strength.’

From next week, the full graded report can be found at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/.

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