As a long-standing member of the Independent Schools Association (ISA), one of the associations making up the Independent Schools Council (ISC), Herne Hill School is regularly inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), which is approved and monitored by the Department of Education.
The most recent ISI inspection took place during the summer term 2017 and was a Regulatory Compliance Inspection, which comprised scrutiny of how we meet the Independent Schools Standards Regulations and the Statutory Requirements for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Click here to read the 2017 Regulatory Compliance Inspection report.
The previous inspection, a full Standard Inspection which included the quality of education, dates back to summer 2011. Our staff and pupils achieved a stellar result, with the words outstanding (the best possible judgement for the Early Years Foundation Stage) and excellent (the best judgement for Whole School and Key Stage 1) featuring an incredible 12 and 46 times, respectively. Click here for a summary of judgements covering the major inspection categories and click here to read the 2011 Standard Inspection report.
Since then, we have made substantial efforts to ensure that we provide the best possible child development and learning experience for our young pupils. Perhaps the most significant development has been the construction of our Oak building, which was inaugurated in early 2016. It has provided a number of benefits and improvements over historic facilities including:
- A modern, multi-function hall for essential school activities such as gym/PE, assemblies, dance, drama/plays and lunch.
- A dedicated, covered play area for Kindergarten and Pre-Reception between the Mulberry and Oak buildings.
- Upgraded playground facilities with a new, enlarged all-weather sports surface and a trim trail in the Nature Area.
Even more importantly, the state-of-the art Kindergarten room with its Community Playthings furniture and resources has enabled us to significantly enhance our Kindergarten provision, including the ability to take in children in the year they become three years old rather than in the term they become three years old. Having the full cohort of children for the entire school year has allowed us to have the full complement of staff from the beginning of the year and to build greater class cohesion before the children move on to Pre-Reception. It has also given our staff more time to work with each child, devising and adapting a programme of learning to suit each child’s individual developmental needs.
Moreover, there is strong research evidence that allowing children to join an integrated school and nursery setting like Herne Hill School from 2+ has substantial, sustainable benefits for their development. Click here for an information sheet summarising the key findings from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) project, a highly respected study of children’s development between the ages of three and seven years, and how our Kindergarten provision meets them.
Another important benefit resulting from the Oak building is our ability to offer healthy hot lunches, which are freshly cooked on site daily by our chef and catering crew. This has strengthened our ability to develop and support healthy eating patterns and habits, which is so crucial in a child’s early years. We do this through discussions with pupils around nutrition, its role in a healthy lifestyle and the food chain and by teaching them about table etiquette and the importance of meal times as social events.
In general, we are more passionate than ever about continuing to evolve and improve all aspects of our provision. This includes working with a number of external consultants and experts to ensure that we are always abreast or ahead of best practice.
We are pleased that our parent body appears to appreciate our efforts, as evidenced by the results or the anonymous parent survey we conducted at the end of the summer term 2018 to solicit feedback on parents’ satisfaction with teaching and other aspects at the school during the last academic year. The summary table of the 102 responses we received via SurveyMonkey shows very high overall satisfaction, averaging 4.7 out of a maximum of 5.0; 93% were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied”, with the vast majority being “very satisfied” (78%). We are well aware that, in spite of the high overall ratings we have obtained, nothing is ever perfect, and we will continue to work hard to push the boundaries of “excellence” in our provision.