From the report:
The Grey House School provides a good quality of education with outstanding promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and is successful in meetings its aims. All of the regulatory requirements are met. Strengths throughout the school include pupils’ outstanding behaviour and the extensive curriculum which successfully extends pupils’ learning and helps pupils develop very positive attitudes towards school. The promotion of pupils’ welfare, health and safety is good, including safeguarding arrangements, which is an improvement since the last inspection. Teachers know the pupils extremely well and have a very secure understanding of their different learning needs. As a result, all pupils, including those in the Early Years Foundation Stage, make at least good progress and achieve well.
The curriculum provided by the school is outstanding. This includes the delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage where teachers make exceptional use of both the inside and outside environment to extend learning. As a result, the youngest pupils make excellent progress from their initial starting points. In Form K, children have excellent opportunities to develop key skills for learning, such as exploration, investigation and experimentation. This successfully inspires children and develops a real thirst for developing knowledge. Children showed excitement and real curiosity as they investigated the ‘Form K Exploring Box’ and closely examined resources such as mirrors, thermometers and timers.
Every opportunity is utilised within the Early Years Foundation Stage for children to benefit from fun, practical activities which successfully engage children’s interests. For example, children develop excellent skills in adding on and undertaking simple calculation through an exemplary range of practical activities, both inside and outside. Children’s literacy skills are extended particularly well as activities are presented creatively to capture their imagination. For example, on the day of inspection, children delighted in receiving many letters written to Form K from the Hungry Caterpillar, as part of their topic work. This successfully inspired children to write their own letters in response and develop a real interest in literacy activities. The curriculum for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 is outstanding. Pupils’ learning is consistently consolidated and enhanced through an exceptional range of visitors to the school and many outings. For example, Form 6 pupils take part in ‘Enrichment Week’ which involves bush craft trips, visits to places of interest, such as farms and museums, and visitors to the school. Themed weeks help pupils become thoroughly involved in an extensive range of carefully planned lessons and activities. As part of ‘Olympics Week’, pupils carried out independent research into the different countries taking part in the games and explored issues such as each country’s climate, traditional dress and customs.
The school provides an extensive range of extra-curricular clubs and activities which the vast majority of pupils take part in. This includes judo, skiing, swimming, golf, craft, musical activities, drama and ballet. Frequent visitors to the school enhance pupils’ learning through workshops and specialist activities. For example, pupils thoroughly enjoy theatre performances, a mobile farm, musical recitals and country dancing. Pupils’ sporting achievements are particularly good, with school teams and pupils being successful in many local and national competitions.
Teaching and assessment are good. The majority of teaching throughout the school is good, with some examples of outstanding and a very small minority of satisfactory lessons. Pupils benefit from small numbers in class and very positive relationships with their teachers who know each pupil extremely well and support their individual needs effectively. As a result, all pupils achieve well and make good progress. The successful relationships developed with staff enable pupils to develop exceptionally positive attitudes towards learning. Inspectors noted pupils arriving happily and enthusiastically for school each day. Many pupils stated in the questionnaire that ‘learning is fun’ and pupils ‘love school’. These positive attitudes are reflected in lessons where pupils are highly engaged and motivated to try their best and achieve well.
Teachers use a good range of strategies to engage pupils effectively in their learning. For example, in a Form 6 English lesson, pupils developed extremely good persuasive writing skills in an imaginative exercise to oppose a factory being built on Hartley Wintney’s cricket green. In a Form 3 mathematics lesson, pupils excitedly explored different ways of expressing fractions and were immensely absorbed in the activity due to the teacher’s creative approach.
Assessment procedures throughout the school are variable. All pupils’ work is presented well and shows good progress over time. However, some teachers use more effective strategies to help pupils improve their work by setting next steps and further improvement criteria. This is not implemented by all teachers. Tracking procedures are in place for all pupils and progress is monitored to ensure each pupil achieves well. However, procedures for monitoring the effectiveness of tracking systems are also variable. A new system has recently been implemented to address this, but it is too early at this stage to assess its effectiveness.
The pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. All pupils are exceptionally polite and show excellent respect for others. Their behaviour is outstanding. Pupils have impeccable manners and spontaneously greet adults and their peers politely and courteously. Pupils’ enjoyment of school is tangible and this is reflected in their excellent attendance. There is an atmosphere of fun and happiness throughout the school and all pupils consistently strive to achieve well. From Form K upwards, pupils enjoy assuming roles of responsibility and helping around the school. Pupils adopt the roles of form captains and older pupils carry out duties such as prefects, librarians and house captains. All pupils delight in achieving house points for good work and behaviour and there is a healthy competitive streak between the three school houses. Merit cups and trophies are awarded to celebrate pupils’ success. The weekly ‘Well Done Assembly’ actively celebrates pupils’ success, both in school and away from school.
Assemblies are used exceptionally well to promote pupils’ understanding of tolerance of others and to develop a deeper awareness of different faiths, religions and cultural heritage. Music and drama provision throughout the school are excellent. Weekly religious education lessons, assemblies and links with the local church support pupils’ spiritual development extremely well.
There are extensive opportunities for pupils to learn about the needs of others through topic work, fundraising and involvement in charity work. Pupils develop a strong awareness of public institutions in England through the curriculum and through visits to places of cultural interest, such as the National History Museum.
Exceptional relationships are evident throughout the school and this ensures pupils develop high levels of self-esteem, self-belief and confidence to achieve. Pupils actively celebrate each other’s success. For example, in a physical education lesson, Form 1 pupils spontaneously cheered on the pupils who were slower to run around the running track. Pupils work and play together harmoniously and this leads to a very happy, nurturing atmosphere throughout the school.