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Cherwell School in Oxford retains its ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted


Cherwell School in Oxford has retained its ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted.
Cherwell School in Oxford has retained its ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted.

The Cherwell School in Marston Ferry Road received the ‘outstanding’ rating after inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education, Children‘’’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) watchdog visited in October.

According to the report, “Pupils receive an excellent education, both academically and for their wider development. They experience a broad curriculum, which is ambitious for all pupils across the school.

“The proportion of pupils studying English Baccalaureate subjects in Years 10 and 11 is above average and rising. Students choose from a wide range of courses in the successful inclusive sixth form.

“Leaders’ high expectations are built into this rich curriculum, which is taught with great expertise. Pupils achieve extremely well.

The report commented on the culture at the school, saying, “Pupils enjoy a vibrant culture in school. Differences are respected and prized. Pupils work very hard in lessons and are hungry to learn and succeed.

“Leaders create this aspirational ethos carefully by placing each individual’s needs at the heart of what they do. Relationships are highly positive, and pupils are safe from bullying.

Discrimination is not tolerated. Staff tackle any issues very effectively.”

Chris Price, the school’s headteacher, said: “We are very pleased with the report. We feel it is a fair and accurate reflection of the work that happens consistently in our school.

“I am delighted for the staff who work so expertly and care so deeply about the school. It is wonderful that their commitment to The Cherwell and to the students has been recognised in this way.

“We are especially pleased that the report does draw out so many positive things about our students. They are a unique group of young people, and we are very fortunate to work with them each day.

“The report does not highlight any significant areas for improvement, but as a school we remain restless to keep developing further.”

Paul James, Chief Executive of River Learning Trust and a former headteacher at The Cherwell, said: “This is a fabulous outcome, particularly in the context of Ofsted’s more challenging framework.

“I know from personal experience what a special place The Cherwell School is, and we are delighted that Ofsted have recognised the fantastic work and achievements of staff and students.”

According to the watchdog, only 17 per cent of 370 ‘outstanding’ schools kept their grade when they had a full reinspection in 2021-22.

Ofsted said it had reviewed more than 500 institutions in the last school year that had previously been exempt from regular inspections because they had been rated as ‘outstanding’, the highest grading available.

The inspectors carried out this graded inspection on 19 and 20 October 2022 under section 5 of the Education Act 2005, and this was the first routine inspection the school received since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The school converted to become an academy in September 2012. Its predecessor school, also called The Cherwell School, was last inspected by Ofsted in 2008. Ofsted also previously judged The Cherwell School to be outstanding before it opened as an academy.

In 2015, the school formed River Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust, with five other schools. The trust has grown over time since then.

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