Historic Bristol school loses ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating over pupils’ learning concerns

The school was just one of three Bristol secondary school to hold an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating
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Bristol Cathedral Choir School has lost its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating after the education watchdog raised concerns over gaps in pupils’ learning.

The choir school was just one of three secondary schools to have an Outstanding rating, which it earned in 2016, but has been downgraded to ‘good’ following an inspection across November 29 - 30. Inspectors rate the school based on a series of categories; the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

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Ratings range from oustanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. Bristol Cathedral Choir School scored ‘good’ ratings in all its categories and ‘outstanding’ in Sixth-form provision. In 2021, a section five inspection was carried out - a shorter inspection carried out on good or outstanding establishments to determine if they continue to uphold this standard of teaching.

In the section five inspection, the school was warned it may lose its ‘oustanding’ rating with concerns raised over its provisions for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The most recent report, published on February 1, praises the school for its SEND provisions, stating: “Staff work tirelessly to ensure every pupil understands the curriculum. They successfully include pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and disadvantaged pupils. Consequently, many pupils enter the sixth form.”

Bristol Cathedral Choir School was most recently inspected during September 2021 when it maintained its Outstanding mark by Ofsted. The report highlighted that ‘Pupils enjoy attending Bristol Cathedral Choir School. There is a deep sense of community. Pupils enjoy strong friendships with each other and have positive relationships with adults. Most pupils are confident that if bullying occurs staff deal with it well. Pupils are respectful and are interested in the world around them, particularly in social justice and climate change. 'Bristol Cathedral Choir School was most recently inspected during September 2021 when it maintained its Outstanding mark by Ofsted. The report highlighted that ‘Pupils enjoy attending Bristol Cathedral Choir School. There is a deep sense of community. Pupils enjoy strong friendships with each other and have positive relationships with adults. Most pupils are confident that if bullying occurs staff deal with it well. Pupils are respectful and are interested in the world around them, particularly in social justice and climate change. '
Bristol Cathedral Choir School was most recently inspected during September 2021 when it maintained its Outstanding mark by Ofsted. The report highlighted that ‘Pupils enjoy attending Bristol Cathedral Choir School. There is a deep sense of community. Pupils enjoy strong friendships with each other and have positive relationships with adults. Most pupils are confident that if bullying occurs staff deal with it well. Pupils are respectful and are interested in the world around them, particularly in social justice and climate change. '

However, the report also determined that “Sometimes, teachers and subject leaders do not check pupils’ learning thoroughly enough. As a result, some pupils continue to make errors or do not complete work. Subject leaders need to ensure that checks on learning consistently help pupils to learn more and improve the accuracy of their work.”

The two remaining secondary schools in Bristol to hold an Outstanding rating are Redland Green School and St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School. Bristol Cathedral Choir School has been approached for comment.

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