05 December 2023, The Tablet

Ampleforth celebrates ‘good’ inspection reports

Ampleforth celebrates ‘good’ inspection reports

Pupils in a ‘tug o’ war’ at Ampleforth

Ampleforth College has welcomed the report of a full inspection by Ofsted, published today, in which the school was rated “good”, compared an overall judgement from the last full inspection two years ago of “inadequate”.

In addition a separate Ofsted report of an education and boarding inspection found the school to meet all independent school standards with just one recommendation to help the school improve, covering leaders supporting teachers to assess how well the curriculum meets the needs of all pupils. 

Richard Scorer, solicitor at Slater and Gordon who has acted for several victims of abuse at Ampleforth said: “This report is by the same lead inspector who failed Ampleforth in 2021, so I think we can reasonably assume that she has noticed a real difference, which is good news.

“I’m pleased that Ampleforth finally seems to have managed a sustained improvement in its safeguarding, although it should not be forgotten that this improvement has occurred as a result of significant external pressure. I very much hope this improvement will be maintained and given past history I am sure the inspectors will be vigilant to ensure it is. Also, in achieving this result, Ampleforth is reaching the standard routinely attained by the other 20,000 schools in England, and so whilst I welcome this real progress it also highlights how badly Ampleforth failed in the past – failures which I hope are never repeated.”

As well as Ofsted, the Catholic Schools Inspectorate and the Heads Conference (HMC) visited Ampleforth College this term and reported positively on their findings.

Ampleforth was graded “outstanding” in Personal Development by Ofsted and “outstanding” in all nine judgements on the quality of Catholic life and mission, religious education and collective worship by the Catholic Schools Inspectorate. Because the head, Peter Roberts, is a member of HMC, Ampleforth College is now under the oversight of the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

Roberts said, “We welcome these very positive findings from Ofsted and the Catholic Schools Inspectorate and I wish to thank our pupils, families, and staff for the great strength of their support for a school with a unique vision of what constitutes a great and transformative education. I particularly want to pay tribute to the staff for striving to achieve the excellence that Ampleforth stands for and their unwavering commitment to continuous improvement. It’s a great honour to lead such an outstanding school as Ampleforth.”

Ampleforth College has been subject to inspection by Ofsted since September 2020. HMC granted Peter Roberts, the Head, membership following a visit to Ampleforth in September 2023. This means the College is now under the oversight of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

Ofsted visited Ampleforth in September 2023 and their two reports - one on Education, one on Social Care (for boarding schools) and an overall Summary letter – were published today.

They graded the College as “outstanding” for personal development and “good” in all other categories. Ampleforth said, “This is the best possible outcome for a school which had been graded ‘Inadequate’ in Ofsted’s last full inspection in November 2021.”

A progress monitoring inspection by Ofsted in October 2022 confirmed that Ampleforth College met all the national standards, however, progress monitoring inspections do not generate a new grading so Ampleforth asked Ofsted to return for a full inspection as soon as possible afterwards.

In addition to Ofsted or ISI inspections, Catholic schools are also inspected on their provision of Catholic education by the Catholic Schools Inspectorate (CIS) under the National Framework for the Inspection of Catholic Schools. Inspectors act on behalf of the Bishop in whose diocese the school is situated.

Ampleforth College’s Catholic Schools Inspection took place on 15-16 November. This inspection report is also published today with the college judged “outstanding” in all nine judgement areas covering the overall quality of Catholic education including Catholic life and mission, religious education and collective worship. The college is the first senior school in the Middlesborough Diocese under the new framework to achieve this.



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