OFSTED (Latest report) and External Review

Challenge Partners Review 2022


Quality assurance (QA) is a vital element of effective school practice. As such in depth evaluation of all processes that are required to make the school run effectively is an ongoing process, and is undertaken, at some level, by all staff associated with the St Hilary team.

To validate our internal practice, the school invests in an annual Quality Assurance Review with a professional body called Challenge Partners. Our annual review took place last week – Wednesday to Friday. This is collaborative three-day process, whereby a senior reviewer (with extensive school improvement experience, inspection experience and school leadership experience) and two school leaders (in our case headteachers) from schools across the country visit to provide a thorough and challenging review of:

  • Leadership at all levels
  • Pupil outcomes for all
    •  With a specific focus on pupil outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND.

The review team spent the first afternoon evaluating key school documents, analysing our website and participating in initial discussions with the Senior Leadership Team. These activities enabled them to draw out key lines of enquiry, which channelled their school review focus throughout their QA activities:

  • classroom explorations (lesson observations),
  • scrutinising children’s work – books, displays, response and attitude to learning in lessons
  • meetings with leaders at all levels, 
  • interviewing and discussing quality of provision with the children, 
  • meeting the LAC

The process was extremely rigorous and challenging, and definitely tested the mettle of the school team! 

At the end of the three days, the reviewers produce a report outlining What Went Wells (positives) and Even Better Ifs (areas for further development) and overall qualitative judgements of either Leading, Effective, Ineffective.

I am extremely proud to let you know that the reviewers concluded that the school is LEADING (their highest grading) in all areas:

  • Overall
  • Leadership at all levels
  • Pupil outcomes


The full report is on the school website and really is worth a read. Please do follow the link and spend a bit of time reading the report in full to get an external perspective on what our school community provides our children. To whet the appetite here are a few quotes from the report:


Leadership at all levels - What went well:

  • The school has a strong and dynamic senior leadership team, which continuously promotes a cohesive vision to raise standards for all pupils.
  • The high level of professional dialogue observed during meetings with all staff clearly demonstrates this positive learning climate and a determination to provide exceptional experiences for all pupils.
  • The leadership team has worked closely with staff to develop a cohesive approach to the teaching of reading across the curriculum.

Leadership at all levels - Even better if…

  • …leaders continued to support subject leaders to compile a wide range of evidence to help them to discuss the impact of their school development plans.

Quality of provision and outcomes - What went well:

  • Staff at St Hilary pursue a shared vision to provide an ambitious and inspiring curriculum to prepare pupils for the next stage of their education and for future life.
  • Positive attitudes in all lessons also demonstrate pupils’ engagement in their learning, 
  • St Hilary’s curriculum focus on the wider world develops pupils’ curiosity
  • Pupils’ proficient use of new technology develops key skills
  • All pupils experience a wide range of activities to support their personal development and modifications are made to individual provision to ensure that all pupils can succeed.
  • Teachers’ strong focus on personal development has led to pupils having a strong sense of pride in their school. As a Year 6 pupil stated, ‘This school is very homely, each day is different we never get bored’. A Year 4 pupil supported this positive view by commenting, ‘I am consistently learning new things at St. Hilary. The school makes achievement feel good.’

Quality of provision and outcomes - Even better if…

  • … staff continued to develop pupils’ stamina to ensure that the consistency of writing across the curriculum fully demonstrates high quality learning in all subject areas.

This gives you a flavour of the evidence the reviewers collected, and I am sure you will share the pride the staff team have taken from the conclusions draw from the process! 

BUT … we will never rest on any laurels and are already looking at effective strategies to address the EBIs identified


‘be the best we can be!’

 Mr Rob Hamshar