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North East school, Polam Hall, receives ringing endorsement from inspectors

Darlington-based day and boarding school Polam Hall has been rated as ‘excellent’ in a number of key areas in its latest report from independent inspectors.

The newly published report from the Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) has positively endorsed several aspects of the school, for boys and girls between the ages of two and 18.

The ISI says pupils “reach excellent standards in a wide range of undertakings”, in and out of the classroom, while pupils develop “high levels of self-confidence and willingly take on positions of responsibility”.

Pastoral care throughout the school is also rated as excellent, as is the behaviour of pupils which ISI says leaves parents feeling that their child is happy, safe and looked after well.

The school’s work in the creative curriculum is also branded “excellent” in the report while art work is highlighted as being an “outstanding” subject for the school, earning recognition in local and national exhibitions.

The report goes on to say that pupils’ attitudes to learning are “excellent” and their co-operation with each other is “outstanding”.

Among the considerable amount of other areas that received praise were the school’s extra-curricular activities, the quality of the pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and the fact that the school is extremely effective in promoting good behaviour and guarding against harassment and bullying.

Special mention was also given to the school’s smooth transition made recently from an all-girls’ to a mixed facility, which ISI described as “seamless”.

Headmaster John Moreland said: “There has been a lot of change over the last few years, and the report recognises the fact that we have handled the change extremely well and yet retained all the values we have always been known for, such as the pupils’ personal development, and pastoral care.”

Sally Pelham, head of governors at the school, added: “What I find particularly pleasing about the report is the recognition of the all round education and firm foundations for life which we provide at Polam Hall.

“Inspectors found an environment where attitudes to learning are excellent, where pupils show striking evidence of logical and independent thought and achieve excellent standards in a wide range of activities in and out of lessons.”

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) arranges and carries out the inspection of any school which wishes to be accredited by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), thus enabling its head to become a member of one of the ISC’s affiliated associations of schools. The ISI also inspects every school whose head is already a member of one of these associations.

The ISI inspects schools according to a standard framework for inspection which it has laid down for the purposes of ensuring that standards are maintained and that the school complies with relevant legal requirements.

This framework has been agreed with the DCSF and they have recognised the ISI as the body responsible for the regular inspection of schools in England which are affiliated to the ISC.

For more details on Polam Hall School and to request a full copy of the ISI report, please visit: www.polamhall.com.

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