Woolmer Hill School in Haslemere has retained its ‘good’ Ofsted rating following an inspection in January – its first since 2018.

The report praised the school’s ambitious curriculum, wide-ranging extra-curricular opportunities, happy atmosphere, positive relationships and supportive staff.

Inspectors also noted the secondary  school was effective in safeguarding and preparing pupils for their future. 

But disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities did not always achieve as highly as their peers, and the persistent absence of some pupils prevented them from performing to their potential.

The school has started to address this issue, including introducing new ways to support pupils with low attendance.

Leaders also identified the need to raise expectations of pupils’ work and answers.

Seven key paragraphs from the report:

  1. "Leaders’ vision for the curriculum is ambitious. They want pupils to develop a genuine interest in their subjects, as well as gaining the qualifications they need. This mission to inspire is shared by teachers across the school. Pupils study a broad and well-sequenced curriculum, and most are very successful in public examinations. Extra-curricular opportunities are wide-ranging. Consequently, pupils can explore different interests, develop talents and prepare meaningfully for their next steps. Leaders ensure that these opportunities are inclusive."

  2. "There is a happy atmosphere in this school. Staff know pupils well and care about them. Relationships are overwhelmingly positive. The values of ‘proud to belong, proud to achieve’ are reflected in pupils’ behaviour generally and in how they approach their work. Bullying is rare but staff deal with it swiftly and effectively if needed. Pupils feel safe in school. They feel supported and listened to by staff. They would happily go to staff with any worries. The majority of parents are very positive about the school. They feel their children are flourishing. One parent described the school as having ‘a family approach’, a view mirrored by staff and pupils during the inspection."

  3. "Leaders are aspirational for all pupils. However, disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) do not always achieve as highly as their peers. The persistent absence of some pupils prevents them doing as well as they could. Leaders have started to address this issue. They have introduced new ways to support pupils with low attendance, including those with SEND and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Early indicators are that these are beginning to have an impact on attendance and on the progress these pupils make."

  4. "Leaders review the curriculum offer regularly. Growth in pupil numbers has enabled leaders to introduce additional and ambitious key stage 4 options. The numbers of pupils taking GCSEs, including in languages and triple science, are also increasing. Teachers’ subject knowledge is strong. They use real-world examples to bring learning to life. This helps to inspire pupils’ enthusiasm for their subjects."

  5. "Reading is given a high priority. Staff explore a range of varied texts with pupils. This means that many pupils are enthusiastic readers. Leaders have recently reviewed the provision for pupils who need extra support with reading. Once gaps are identified, specific interventions are implemented which help them catch up."

  6. "The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum is thorough. It is informed by pupil voice and addresses issues such as misogyny and sexualised language. Pupils can recall and discuss the key PSHE education messages. Pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, are well prepared for their future. Careers education is well organised. It benefits from links with colleges, sixth forms and employers, as well as apprenticeships providers and higher education."

  7. "Leaders and those responsible for governance have established a strong safeguarding culture at the school. This is underpinned by appropriate policies and systems. Leaders are diligent about making the required checks on all staff. The designated safeguarding lead is knowledgeable and provides clear direction and comprehensive training for all staff. In turn, staff are vigilant. They report concerns about pupils swiftly. Safeguarding leaders take appropriate action when a pupil needs help. They make and pursue referrals to external partners tenaciously. The curriculum helps pupils understand how to navigate different risks. Pupils feel safe in school. Parents confirm this also."