Top marks from inspectors for Dorchester school

POSITIVE REPORT: Sunninghill Prep School in Dorchester

POSITIVE REPORT: Sunninghill Prep School in Dorchester

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

A DORCHESTER school has received a glowing report from inspectors, who praised the way it inspires pupils to success.

The report was published after inspectors spent four days scrutinising Sunninghill Preparatory School for the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

It gives a thorough endorsement of its vision.

The report states: “The school aims to inspire in its pupils a love for learning and to help them achieve to the very best of their ability.

“In this the school achieves a large measure of success.”

The inspectors add: “The quality of pupils’ development is excellent and fully reflects the caring family ethos which pervades the school community of staff and pupils.”

Sunninghill currently has 183 pupils aged from three months to 13-years-old.

Provision for children aged up to five-years-old was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in every respect.

The report states that children ‘thrive in the warm, caring atmosphere’ and they also ‘make excellent progress relative to their ability and starting points’.

In relation to older children further up the school, the inspectors state: “Pupils of all ages have constructive attitudes to learning and relish the challenges of working independently as well as with each other.

“They have good work habits, apply themselves well and show great enjoyment in their learning.”

Unlike Ofsted grading, reports by the Independent Schools Inspectorate do not stick one overall label onto a school but instead rate different aspects.

Sunninghill was rated as ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ in a number of areas with all others rated as ‘good’.

Headmaster Andrew Roberts-Wray is praised for ‘highly effective leadership, well supported by a strong management structure’ and for establishing ‘clear educational direction’.

The report does cite three areas for further action in relation to extending the use of good practice in ICT across all subjects, developing greater skills in self-assessment and increasing the opportunities for a free flow of activities between inside and outside for the youngest pupils attending the school.

Richard Miller, chairman of governors, said: “In everything we do, we focus on educating pupils as individuals and I’m delighted to see this report recognises how much excellent work goes on here at Sunninghill Prep.

“Our staff, our parents, my fellow governors and, of course, our pupils should all feel proud.

“We’re a happy, lively, successful school.

“We’ll now use this report as a platform to improve even further, and we’ve already begun to act on the few points that the inspectors picked out for action.”

On top of the extremely good report they have received, Sunninghill is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Mr Miller said: “We will, inevitably, be looking back across the school’s history but we are not going to rest on our laurels.

“We have great ambitions for the future and we’re going to keep driving forward, doing the very best that we can for individual pupils and educating them for life.”

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