The Gatwick School ‘Takes Off’ following its first Ofsted Inspection

The Gatwick School in Crawley, an all-through school for children aged 4-16 and operated by Aurora, one of the country’s highest performing Multi Academy Trusts, is celebrating today after receiving a judgement of Good in all areas in its first Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors praised school leaders for establishing “a unique sense of family across this all-through school”. They also said that “pupils, parents and staff are proud to be members of the school community” and that “older and younger pupils exist harmoniously alongside each other”.

Tim McCarthy, CEO of Aurora Academies Trust, said “We are absolutely delighted that Ofsted has validated the high standard of education being provided at The Gatwick School. We have been on an incredible journey since we opened in 2014 and I would like to thank all of the parents who have put their faith in us by sending their wonderful children to our school”.

Executive Headteacher, Paul Reilly and the new Head of School, Mark Roessler were both singled out for praise for “working effectively” together which has led to “increased rigour and accountability at all levels that is helping standards to rise”. Mr Reilly said “I am extremely proud to be the Executive Head here. This report clearly shows how an all-through school can lead to happy children, who feel safe, valued and protected and who are achieving well”. Mr Roessler added “This very positive report is a result of a huge team effort on behalf of all of my staff team. It is an honest reflection of the partnership between myself as Head of School, my staff team, our pupils and their parents. My staff work exceptionally and consistently hard on a daily basis to offer quality all round provision. This ensures all children at The Gatwick School have the best life chances possible. It is exciting to be part of a school that continues to expand rapidly and I look forward to leading the school to outstanding”. Mr Roessler has clearly made substantial impact at the school since his appointment in Sept 2016 and he and Mr Reilly have embedded “well-structured systems that ensure that the school continues to improve…the school curriculum is appropriately broad and is evolving to meet the changing needs of the school’. Inspectors also noted that this work has “built upon the legacy” of The Gatwick School’s founding Head of School, Simon Ruscoe-Price, who left last year to take up a prestigious post in Shanghai.

In terms of outcomes, Ofsted reported that “Pupils make increasingly rapid progress across their range of subjects in both the primary and secondary phases of the school”. Much of this is due to the high standard of teaching and learning that inspectors observed “Teachers use their sound subject knowledge to plan carefully-structured learning activities”. They also judged that children who join the school mid-year, those with English as an additional language and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities make “accelerated progress”.

Inspectors have now asked teachers to continue to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and for those with high prior attainment and to “challenge pupils of all abilities so that they make equally rapid progress over time”.

The Personal Development and Welfare of the school’s pupils were both judged to be Outstanding by the inspection team and Behaviour was judged to be Good. Ofsted particularly liked the student leadership group, made up of younger and older pupils, who “act as ambassadors in the local community”. Inspectors stated that “these opportunities help pupils of all ages to develop the skills that will help them to become future leaders”.

Early Years provision is another strength because it is well led and “as a result children flourish and are well prepared for their key stage 1 learning’. They also reported that children in this stage are “happy and confident”.

Sara Boyle, Chair of the Local Academy Board (the school’s governing body) was praised for bringing “useful professional expertise which is supporting the local academy board in developing its rigour and effectiveness”. Ms Boyle said “I feel honoured to play my part in the leadership of this great school. My job now is to ensure that we continually support and challenge the school’s leaders to take us next time to a judgement of outstanding in all areas”.

The Ofsted team said that Aurora Academies Trust’s “frequent and detailed reviews help leaders to maintain their focus on continual improvement” and that Aurora “provides helpful access to high quality support and training for staff across the school”. Tony Blaker, Chair of the Aurora Trust Board said “I am proud that The Gatwick School has benefited from being part of the wider network of Aurora’s schools. Ofsted has clearly recognised that fact and this report demonstrates that Aurora is able to provide effective leadership of schools at both primary and secondary levels.”

CEO Tim McCarthy concluded “These are exciting times for The Gatwick School. The education provided is now officially good, parents and pupils are very happy with the school, our numbers are rising sharply and we will soon have the next phase of state of the art classroom spaces completed. For us it is always onwards and upwards!”