Pocklington School Foundation, which this year celebrates its 500th anniversary, has confirmed its place among the North of England’s leading independent schools following a glowing report by a Government-approved inspection team.
The Foundation, which has 790 pupils within Pocklington School and Lyndhurst School aged between four and 18, has been given top grades for pupils’ achievement and learning and their personal development following a four-day scrutiny by a team from the Independent Schools Inspectorate in November.
Headmaster Mark Ronan described the report as “a wonderful start to a hugely important year for the Foundation”.
Inspectors judged many areas as “excellent”, including the level of pupils’ achievement and learning. These are supported by a curriculum that stimulates development of pupils’ talents, in the classroom and beyond through activities including sports, creative and performing arts. Pupils’ personal development and pastoral care arrangements and school leadership including links with parents were also deemed excellent.
The report notes the progress at GCSE level is excellent and high at A level, with high levels of confidence, excellent behaviour and moral awareness. The boarding provision and care for the boarders is also described as excellent and it adds: “The integration of boarders from overseas with other pupils is relaxed and successful”.
Since Pocklington’s last inspection in 2007, the school has opened a new boarding house, changing rooms and sixth-form centre; created new teaching accommodation for ICT, biology, history, classics and cookery; developed new facilities for pastoral care and also the Combined Cadet Force which is shared with the town’s cadet detachment. The chapel has been relocated to the centre of the school, boarding arrangements revised and a sixth-form bursary scheme introduced. A pre-prep department has been created; Lyndhurst, Pocklington’s prep school, refurbished and a new playground established.
Mr Ronan said: “A great deal of progress has been made in the past few years and the findings of the inspectors are in some way just reward for the hard work by the staff and governors and the continuing support of our parents and pupils”.
At Pocklington’s prep school, Lyndhurst, pupils show high levels of confidence and excellent behaviour and were said to demonstrate high levels of knowledge, skills and understanding across all subject areas in response to excellent teaching and a demanding curriculum. The report concluded: “The school’s aim to develop individual talent is met very successfully”.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), children of all abilities and needs were said to make outstanding progress in relation to their individual starting points. All children reach, and in many cases exceed, expected levels of development. Inspectors reported that imaginative and comprehensive educational programmes utilise all areas of a carefully designed setting.
Head of Lyndhurst, Ian Wright, said: “This report highlights the progress made at Lyndhurst over recent years. I am very pleased with the inspectors’ positive report, which recognises the hard work of staff and pupils along with the strong links between the school and pupils’ families. Lyndhurst will continue to move forward and build on this excellent report”.
For the senior school, areas such as maths, science, language skills, art, design and music are strong, while other activities, including sport, music and drama, are also singled out for praise. GCSE and A level results are good in relation to the national average for pupils in maintained schools and higher than worldwide averages in English and maths, while pupils consistently gain places at universities, the majority at their first choice institutions.
On the sporting front, pupils play hockey at national level and compete in rugby, athletics, gymnastics, trampolining and cricket at regional level.
Mr Ronan said: “This is the perfect start for our 500th anniversary year. I am sure the very many former pupils, as well as the current pupils and parents, will be delighted that the report confirms the strong relationships that exist between pupils and teachers at Pocklington and Lyndhurst which allow us to support each child’s personal development, identifying what is best for every individual and enabling them to become ‘inspired for life’. We really appreciate the feedback from the parent and pupil questionnaires and it was a high point that 98% of current parents would recommend us to a friend.”
“However, it doesn’t stop here. Pocklington School Foundation will continue to move forward for the benefit of our pupils by setting high educational standards, introducing new opportunities and improving facilities”.
Please click here to read the full Inspection Report.