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Cotham School

Ofsted Report

Cotham School Ofsted Inspection, Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 October 2023.

I am delighted to let you know that Ofsted has now published its final report following the inspection of our school earlier this term on 17 and 18 October.

You can read the report in full here. I am very proud to share these extremely positive observations made by the inspection team about our staff, students and school. It is a true reflection of the hard work and commitment shown by everyone at Cotham School – and the strength of our community.

I am particularly pleased that the report remarks on how our students enjoy attending Cotham, that they are polite and friendly, and that they know staff care about them and will help them.

Inspectors also noted that the atmosphere in our school is calm and harmonious and that learning is rarely interrupted by poor behaviour. They thought our curriculum was ‘aspirational for all pupils’, stating that we ‘strive to provide the same high-quality education to all pupils, regardless of their starting points or the challenges they face.’

Our teachers were praised for having strong subject knowledge with the curriculum they deliver improving students’ life chances through its ‘breadth and ambition’.

And there was further praise for our range of extra-curricular clubs which enables students ‘to develop their talents and interests’ as well as the many leadership opportunities available, ranging from being a reading buddy to becoming a sports leader or house captain.

Only one area was noted for improvement – that work given does not always reflect the ambition of the curriculum. Be assured that the Senior Leadership Team is already addressing this.

Ofsted’s reporting format limits the number of words that can be used in any given report – which is a source of some frustration to us! What I can say – echoing my previous note at the time of the inspection – is that the extensive verbal feedback from lead inspector, Sarah Favager-Dalton, highlighted the contributions made by many, many of our parents to Ofsted’s online survey.

This survey painted a very positive picture of our school and also how behaviour was handled by staff. Parents stated that they believed our behaviour policy to be ‘strict but fair’. Inspectors found that our core value of respect for one another was tangible across the school, and bullying was not an area of concern. On the rare occasions it was, it was picked up quickly and dealt with swiftly by our staff.

During the two days inspectors spent in the school, they surveyed students and staff, met with senior leaders and several trustees. They evaluated our approach to safeguarding and carried out a ‘deep dive’ into English, maths, history and modern languages. Inspectors were extremely positive about all these areas.

I would very much like to thank the many parents, students and staff who contributed to the inspection procedure. The prospect of a visit by Ofsted is daunting for every school, but to hear the many wonderful things said during the inspection has made the process really worthwhile. I would like to share one quote that Ms Favager-Dalton said encapsulated the many views of parents and carers in the survey: ‘All teachers have very high expectations of children. Amazing leadership team. My child has made significant progress and is really happy at Cotham. Congratulations to all staff at Cotham for what they do.’

This kind of feedback means so much to our teachers, our associate (support) staff, the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Governors all of whom work tirelessly to ensure the best possible school experience and the highest possible achievements and outcomes for each and every one of your children.

Thank you for all your continued support of the school.

Kindest regards

Ms Jo Butler