Chipping Norton School’s ‘Outstanding’ boost from Ofsted

Chipping Norton School “could be judged Outstanding” if it were to receive a full Ofsted inspection, it can be reported.

Ofsted visited the West Oxfordshire secondary school in May to carry out an ‘ungraded’ inspection.

An ungraded inspection differs from a full inspection as it cannot change the overall grade of a school unless there are very serious concerns.

Following the visit, inspectors reported: “There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a graded inspection now.”

Inspectors described the school as a “warm and welcoming” place where pupils “thrive in its safe and supportive environment” and all “achieve highly across the curriculum”.

They added: “‘All staff are highly ambitious for pupils and support them to benefit from a rich academic experience and a wide array of extracurricular activities.”

Chipping Norton is currently rated Good by Ofsted, although its sixth form is rated Outstanding.

Chipping Norton School headteacher Barry Doherty welcomed the new Ofsted verdict, saying it was a “fair reflection of the great work of the school and its community”.

Mr Doherty added: “We now have a wonderful opportunity to go one step further. Whilst securing an Outstanding judgement from Ofsted is not our mission, it is our goal to build a truly great school that is widely recognised to be so by those who know us best.
“This report will not change our plans, but it will add fuel to our ambitions.”

Greg Ledgard-Hoile, chair of the school’s governing body, said the Ofsted verdict was: “Testament to the way in which everyone has quietly and diligently gone about the business of seeking to transform a good school into a great school.”

The verdict on Chipping Norton is particularly impressive as it comes after Ofsted raised the required standards for an Outstanding rating.

The new standards contributed to Ofsted downgrading 308 of the 370 Outstanding schools it inspected during the 2021/2022 academic year – the most recent year for which records are available.