I am delighted to finally be able to share with you the report produced by the inspection team who visited the school back in October. I am afraid that this has taken a very considerable time to receive, for reasons totally outside our control, but I am pleased to say that I think the report paints a very fair picture of how they found the school at the time.
For those of you who have been at the school for some time, you will also note that the report shows significant improvement on that achieved by the school in 2010 (when the judgement in every category was ‘good’) and shows the progress that has been made over the past few years. Because the report covers the entire period since 2010, and therefore reports on the examination results in 2013 (the last ones which could be compared against national UK data at the time of the inspection) we agree with the inspectors that pupils’ achievement, and therefore teaching and leadership, are ‘good’. However, they also reported that the progress that the school has made leaves every expectation that we will shortly be achieving ‘excellent’ in every category.
You will not be surprised to hear that I am particularly delighted that we have been judged to be excellent in the curricular and extra-curricular offer at BSB, in the moral and cultural development of our students, in the welfare, health and safety of our students, and in the links we have with parents. I have to say that I was quite overwhelmed by the support shown for the school shown by parents in their responses to the questionnaire – 97% of parents either agreed or strongly agreed with the statements in the questionnaire which, given that the inspection compares us with some of the very best schools in the UK and abroad, is absolutely humbling. The inspection judges the school’s performance against its own aims, which they took from the three promises in our foyer, and I am delighted that the promises to value and support every student and family as individuals, and to give our students amazing opportunities to grow as well-rounded global citizens, were seen so vividly in action by the inspectors.
However, you have heard me say many times that, if we are good, the main reason we are good is that we know we could always do better and we fully agree with the inspectors that there is always still work to do. We have made massive progress in our academic outcomes over the past two years but we know we can improve further and that continues to be our driving force in the coming year – the predicted grades for our current examination students are amazing and they are doing supremely well, but there is much work to do to make sure these predictions come about. We had also already identified that, with the inspection being so early in the year, some of our newer colleagues were still learning about our support structures for our school mission statement and English as an Additional Language, and we have used our professional development activity in the intervening period to make sure that there is consistency in these areas. We have also taken note of the comments in the pupil questionnaires, in which a small minority of lower secondary students raised some important areas for consideration.
We always use the phrase Best School in Beijing with a smile but, as we work on the areas we know we can still develop, it is our mission to make that an absolute reality. Our children deserve nothing less!