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The Independent Schools Inspectorate reports to the Government through Ofsted on the quality of education in Independent Schools.
In the autumn term of 2008 9 Inspectors spent 4 days at the College, having previously received significant quantities of information on the life of the College in preparation for their visit and received a sizeable response to the questionnaire that was sent out to all parents.
No area of activity at the College was judged as less than good, and a very significant number of the aspects of Ellesmere life were rated as "outstanding". The report's concluding comments included the following:
"Pupils achieve well as a result of both the individual attention and support they receive and the good standard of teaching in classes, the best of which provides challenge, interest and opportunity for pupils to develop their own learning. Ellesmere College provides a strong sense of community underpinned by Christian values and a deep concern for the individual, richly fulfilling its own aims and those of the Woodard Foundation. Within the vibrant and well-integrated boarding and day community, pupils of all ages are quick to care for and support each other, and also take a wide range of responsibilities seriously.
Outstanding standards of pastoral care, seen in careful monitoring but also expressed through individual support and care from both teaching and non-teaching staff, are much appreciated by pupils. The school takes innovative steps to involve parents in their children's education, and these links, together with those with the local community, are outstanding. A broad curriculum is enhanced by outstanding extra-curricular opportunities in many of which pupils achieve exceptional standards and by an innovative programme for younger pupils."
Everyone at Ellesmere was delighted with the Report. Some concluding remarks in the Report focus appropriately on the pupils and really capture very well what we are trying to do at Ellesmere:
"by the time they leave, pupils are mature, fulfilled individuals who are comfortable with themselves and relate well to others; they are well-prepared for adult life."
The Boarding and Child Safety Inspection, which was conducted at the same time as the ISI Inspection, involved 2 Inspectors spending time in the College, a questionnaire to boarding parents, a questionnaire to pupils, formal group and individual meetings with pupils, informal meetings with pupils and visits to all Boarding Houses and meals with the pupils.
Of the 6 categories the College was found to be good in 3 categories and outstanding in 3. The 3 outstanding categories were "helping children to be healthy", "helping children achieve well and enjoy what they do" and "helping children make a positive contribution".
It is by no means unheard of for Independent Schools to fail a Boarding and Child Safety Inspection so to achieve a Report with a mixture of "outstanding" and "good" is very pleasing.