Wensleydale School welcomes ‘good’ Ofsted rating

The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form.

The Wensleydale School has retained its ‘good’ Ofsted rating following an inspection earlier this year.

Inspectors commented on the strong leadership, respectful adult and student relationships, the extra curricular activities and referenced the pupils’ pride’ about their “tight knit community” and the inclusive nature of the school.

However, Ofsted also found that the school’s the sixth form ‘required improvement under special circumstances’.

The school has announced the sixth form will now be suspended for a year while options for its future are considered.

The report praised the school’s charitable and business connections.

It said the curriculum ensured pupils had opportunities to develop into “responsible, caring and well-rounded adults”.

The report also referenced the large proportion of parents who spoke positively about the school’s pastoral care.

Inspectors also acknowledged that “leaders are unwavering in their commitment to the school community” and that “parents praised leaders for their support during the pandemic”.

Headteacher Julia Polley, who came to the school before the last inspection, said the “excellent” result reflected the handwork of staff and governors.

“I am very pleased with the grading.

“I’ve spent the last six and a half years managing change and I’m determined to take the school to the next level over the next five years.

“I’m extremely proud of staff, governors and all who contribute to our school community.”

On the issue of the sixth form, the headteacher said that with the government’s withdrawal of BTECs, it was difficult for the school to offer a curriculum with the sufficient breadth required and inspectors highlighted the Post-16 offering had narrowed and acknowledged this was in part due to financial constraints.

Mrs Polley said that school leaders had taken the decision to suspend the Post-16 offering for one year, while they explored the options for the provision.

She added: “The school is committed to its existing Year 12s and will provide them with all they need to successfully complete their course next year.”

The head said she was proud that all students who have studied at the Business and Innovation Centre over the past four years, have successfully gone on to industry and higher education destinations, having gained hands-on work and mentoring by local businesses, along the way.