Heathfield Community College: Good, great, Outstanding: a “vibrant and nurturing school…where pupils flourish”.

29th June

front of the school building of Heathfield Community College

Heathfield Community College: Good, great, Outstanding: a “vibrant and nurturing school…where pupils flourish”.

Senior leaders at Heathfield Community College have expressed appreciation to the community for the collaborative work that has led to all areas of the College being rated as Good, “great” or Outstanding, following the publication of the latest inspection report. Following a visit at the end of May, the school gained an Outstanding judgement for Personal Development, Leadership and Sixth Form with a Good rating in the two categories of Behaviour and Attitudes and Quality of Education. The report recognised exceptional delivery of the College’s core values: ‘Pride, Ambition, Community’ which were seen “lived out in daily life”.

In a letter to parents, Headteacher Caroline Barlow praised how staff, governors and parents “have worked together positively and collaboratively” to ensure the College is able to deliver – as noted by Ofsted – “a great education”. Summarising the points of the report Ms Barlow described the many highlighted strengths:

Ambition – ‘A Great Education’

The quality of education received by pupils was described as “great”. The curriculum was found to be ambitious and well planned, meeting the needs of all pupils well and delivered by teachers with deep subject knowledge. The use of technology was highlighted as judicious and very beneficial. As a result, pupils achieve well, exceptionally well in the sixth form, and are well prepared for ambitious next stages.

Pride – ‘wide and rich personal development’

Within the well-rounded education, it was highlighted that pupils receive exceptional and extensive enrichment, providing wide and rich personal development. Pupils relish a wealth of leadership roles, their views are sought, listened to and acted upon; they make an active contribution to the continual development of the College. It is noted that work on equality, diversity and healthy relationships is seen to be impactful.  As a result, pupils flourish here.

Community – ‘Pupils feel happy and safe’

The inspection team recognised that within this “vibrant and nurturing” environment, pupils are “well-mannered and polite”, they behave well and focus in lessons, responding to the “high bar that leaders set for their conduct. The “well regarded pastoral team” has also been recognised for their vital work in ensuring a safe and pro-active environment where pupils feel heard and any issues are swiftly resolved, a view endorsed by many parents. The strong and vigilant culture of safeguarding has been noted as a strength, echoing the findings of an in-depth ESCC led audit which the College undertook in the last few weeks.

Leadership by both the Senior Team and Governors was recognised as a strength with “very high aspirations” looking “constantly for ways to make the school even better”, in this recognition of the need for continual improvement,  Ms Barlow was clear that the motivation was to “make choices that benefit young people” and in turn, the inspection noted, leaders ensured staff are well supported and proud to work at the College; pupils equally recognise and appreciate the rewards and extensive opportunities afforded to them.

On behalf of Governors, Chair Richard Karn said “Ofsted inspections are rigorous and demanding. We are proud of staff and students for the way they represented the school during their visit and showed them the great culture and results achieved day in day out. We particularly thank Ms Barlow and the senior team for their inspiration and commitment to consistent improvement” 

The overall, one-word Ofsted judgement for the College remains Good, but with so much described as great or outstanding it is not hard to see why the community are so proud of this “vibrant and nurturing school… where pupils flourish”.