Claires Court Bulletin



An Excellent Inspection…March 2014, James Wilding Academic Principal

There is no such thing as an excellent time for a School Inspection. Trust me; put the academic calendar out onto the map table and share the game with colleagues, namely “choose the best week for a school inspection” and 10 teachers will choose entirely different months for the challenge.

So when ISI, the Inspectorate charged by DfE with checking ISC accredited schools, rang to tell me we were being inspected on Tuesday 24 March, I was sanguine about the call for our last week of term, and absolutely ‘up’ for the challenge.

The week has now passed, the Inspectorate’s judgements are confidential until published. It’s easy to see why. I have been here already four times as a headteacher, from 1990 it must be said. Data shared during the visit might be inaccurate. Inspectors’ evidence might ‘trim the sails’ so to speak.

But by way of this gentle statement of gratitude, I wish to commend you, our parents and pupils, as well as our visitors for your work. Over 1000 parents and pupils made response to the questionnaire appropriate to them, with some highly supportive statements, whilst of course suggesting to the Inspectorate areas at which they might look further. Those areas are reported as appropriate in the Inspection Report, due to be published in 6 weeks’ time.

And when a school welcomes 15 inspectors to trawl books, visit lessons, check recruitment, quiz children, third degree teachers, check light fittings and ‘elf/safety’ and, above all, live with us for four days uninvited, I feel we are entitled to express a view about that conduct, because it might feel very intrusive. In the case of this Inspection team, not so. Well done ISI, you have had an excellent visit.

Our inspectors, as far as they could, made themselves ‘invisible’. Actually they were challenging in every question they posed to staff, but left children asking for more after their interrogation. In truth, their task was to avoid controversy but enable veracity. I think they did it well. Inspection, that is. Not writing, of course, because that has to come. But I listened carefully to what they had to say and in their diverse ways. I ‘heard’ my School in the words they spoke. And the words they chose to speak were good to hear, as you will get to read in due course.


Although Lent Term ends next Wednesday 2 April at 12 noon for the Sixth Form students will not be ‘on holiday’! This is the last chance for serious revision before the final exams which begin on 13 May. To help students there are various revision days organised as listed below, and art students are coming in the day before term begins for a ‘Life Drawing’ class from 9am to 1pm.

Early buses this week and on 23 – 25 April 2014.

Please note that the school transport policy remains that students who drive must not provide transport for other students in their vehicles.


Monday 6 April – Year 12 maths revision (Mrs Perkins) 10.00 – 11.15am

Tuesday 8 April – Photography workshop. 10.00am – 4.00pm

Wednesday 9 April – Year 12 C1 and C2 maths revision class. 9.30 am to 3.00pm at Senior Boys.

Wednesday 16 April – Year 12 Biology revision class. 9.00am to 3.00pm at Senior Boys.

Wednesday 16 AprilPhotography workshop. 10.00am – 4.99pm

Tuesday 22 April – Life Drawing Class. 9am to 1pm in the Art Studio.

Wednesday 23 AprilFirst day of Summer Term.


Sailing Trip – October half term. Information has been given out to sailors in Year 12. Payment and consent were due by Wednesday 9 March.


An important date for all Sixth Form students is the Leavers Ball on Thursday 26 June 2014. The social committee this year have booked a Thames Riverboat venue.


Check your son’s or daughter’s examination timetable and make a note in a prominent place of the days and times they are required to attend at the Senior Boys site.


The Year 12 group who went to Reading to the UCAS universities Higher Education Conference. Mrs Rogers was impressed by their mature attitude and behaviour. Also by how well they had planned before the event so that they were able to visit specific university stands and ask questions appropriate to the courses they are hoping to follow.

All students who raised money for the 3 for 3 charities. Swimmers from Year 12 raised £91 with the Lions Club Swimarathon, teams of donut eaters raised £15 and the boys vs girls netball match on Monday 31 March raised a further amount.


The ‘Out-of-Time’ edition