Greenfields Inspection Reports 2017
Letter from the Executive Head Regarding the Recent School Inspection
12th May 2017
From time to time, along with all other independent schools in the country, Greenfields is inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. A team of inspectors examines many aspects of the school in two major inspections over a period of two and a half days.
At Greenfields, we have an incredibly dedicated and hardworking team of professionals working to arm students with essential knowledge and skills for living, and in particular the ability and confidence to study, understand and apply any subject whatsoever, using Study Technology (the technology of study as discovered and delineated by philosopher and educator L. Ron Hubbard) so that they can successfully follow whatever path they choose in life. Inspectors are usually able to grasp the essence of what makes us different even in a short inspection such as this.
I have listed below some quotes from the inspectors themselves that corroborate this.
In a section titled “Quality of Education Provided”, the inspectors state that, “The curriculum is documented, supported by appropriate plans and schemes of work for the pupils and covers the required breadth of material. The teaching enables pupils to make good progress, encompasses effective behaviour management and is supported by suitable resources. A suitable framework for the assessment of pupils’ performance is in place.”
In a section titled “Spiritual, Moral, Social and cultural Development of Pupils”, the inspectors state that, “Principles and values are actively promoted which facilitate the personal development of pupils as responsible, tolerant, law-abiding citizens. Boarders’ views are actively encouraged and their opinions and concerns are appropriately considered by staff. Any prefect system operating in the school is effectively managed.”
The inspectors stated that, “Many of the pupils interviewed during the inspection explained how the supportive atmosphere, the non-judgemental acceptance by other pupils and the individual attention provided by the school staff had helped them to settle and to make progress at school. Some also attributed their academic progress to the application of ‘Study Technology’, the school’s unique approach to helping staff and pupils to understand barriers to learning as propounded by the philosopher and educator L. Ron Hubbard.”
Inspectors found that our English as a Foreign Language pupils (a dedicated mixed age class which enables pupils who arrive speaking little or no English) “quickly gain sufficient fluency in English to join mainstream classes as a result of the support provided by the school.” They reported that, “Various pupils who spoke to the inspectors and who had previously been in the EFL class demonstrated clearly through their fluent English that this introduction to the language had been highly successful and had equipped them well to participate fully in lessons alongside native speakers of English. As most of these pupils are boarders, the communal experiences of life as a boarder also play a significant role in helping them acquire fluency in the language.”
Also in the reports, the inspectors said, “Pupils in the Senior School benefit from the flexible curriculum provided by the school, fulfilling one of the school’s key aims of providing a tailor-made academic programme for each pupil. In Years 10 and 11, for example, a flexible timetable allows for wide variation in the number of GCSE courses taken by pupils.”
They noticed the special atmosphere that makes Greenfields what it is and wrote that, “Throughout the school, the teachers are effective in establishing an atmosphere of trust which gives pupils the confidence to express doubt or misconceptions and helps them to develop good communication skills. Pupils articulate questions well in lessons and express their views clearly and with conviction.”
In another paragraph, the inspectors said that: “Through its friendly ethos and the individual attention given to the pupils, the school is successful in helping pupils to acquire positive attitudes towards learning.” Also, “Pupils are well behaved in lessons and are respectful to teachers and to each other.” Further, “The school places great emphasis on teaching ‘study technology’ with the result that pupils acquire skills which they can apply to learning in any subject. They develop an ability to identify what might be hindering their learning, such as words in a text they do not fully understand, and what might be the root cause of a lack of concentration or disinterest in a piece of work.” Inspectors further noted that pupils “do leave as balanced individuals who have a positive outlook, and awareness of those things they are good at and a determination to achieve.” We hear of this annually at our Graduation ceremony.
In discussion with the pupils, the inspectors reported, “Pupils come across as confident and self-assured individuals. Various pupils commented on how the school had helped them to develop a greater self-esteem and self-confidence, and to understand what motivates them and helps them to succeed. A significant factor contributing to their self-understanding is the school’s programme for personal social health and economic education which has at its core the study of ‘The Way to Happiness’, 21 moral precepts propounded by L Ron Hubbard.” Further, the inspectors added that, “In their response to the questionnaire, parents feel the school system for pastoral care works well and successfully promotes an environment which supports their children’s personal development.” They also said: “Pupils develop the ability to distinguish right from wrong and to accept responsibility for their own behaviour, their developing moral and social understanding being influenced significantly by the teachings of ‘The Way to Happiness’. They understand the consequences of wrong actions and appreciate the benefits to society of living by the ‘golden rule’ and treating others in a way they would like to be treated.” It was also recorded that some students said or described “how they are educated out of their misbehaviour and that the school’s approach is far more effective than a regime of punishment. The pupils get on well with each other and their teachers. Within boarding, pupils take on responsibilities for tasks which are for the benefit of the whole house.”
Further, the inspectors stated, “Pupils make a positive contribution to the lives of their peers. Where pupils are given responsibility, they fulfil their tasks effectively.” And: “The pupils’ ability to work together towards a common goal is demonstrated very effectively in the Senior School in the annual theatre production, where the whole school works together in different groups to ensure a high quality performance.”
Additionally, they stated, “Pupils respect each other and value the diversity which is present within the school community. Within the Senior School, and particularly in boarding, where there is the greatest preponderance of pupils from different countries and cultures, pupils enjoy the company of others and accept people for who they are. This level of tolerance and mutual respect has been instrumental in making newcomers who have experienced difficulties in their previous school feel welcome and accepted.”
These days, schools have many regulations to meet which are constantly changing. Apart from a couple of differences on interpretation, which were immediately addressed, the school happily sailed through this aspect of the inspection.
It is worth noting that this visit by inspectors was based on a brand new inspection model which was introduced in January this year. Greenfields was one of first schools to receive it. The “crunched time” clearly made a difference to the reports’ findings and part of our input will be to send data to the Independent Schools Inspectorate about our experiences. It was a hectic few days and the new inspection model was also unfamiliar to the inspectors themselves, who admitted that it was not a tried and tested approach.
It is fair to say that some parts of the reports do not paint an accurate or fair picture. Here are some facts to balance things – covered in the following paragraphs.
Inspectors agreed in a separate document called a Factual Accuracy Check that in examinations at Greenfields “the proportion of passes at grade C or above is statistically above the national average”. Greenfields services twice the proportion of English as an Additional Language students at GCSE level than the national average, which makes a significant difference as far as comparisons are concerned: 40% of our GCSE 2016 cohort were English as a Second Language students, for example. A proper comparison between Greenfields and other schools would compare like for like, which is not done in the report.
In the Junior School, the fact that children’s work is routinely and regularly marked was evidently overlooked. There was nothing left unmarked other than work in progress at the time.
With regard to Extra-curricular Clubs, Greenfields Junior and Infant School runs 7 clubs every week, ranging from gardening to languages. In the Senior School the school has over a dozen extra-curricular activities scheduled, including horse riding, sailing, basketball, language clubs, ballet, tap and modern dance, a National Theatre club, an adrenalin club, a choir and a magazine club plus the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, itself encompassing a huge range of recreational undertakings. It is worth noting that in both the Parent and Student Questionnaires completed and returned to the Inspectorate, 85% of each group agreed that the school provides a good choice of extra-curricular activities.
At Greenfields a total of 17 staff have First Aid Training representing 50% of the teaching and boarding staff. One staff member’s First Aid Certificate was due for renewal just prior to the Inspection, and on the days of the inspection she completed a training course. Fifty percent of teaching and boarding staff with a valid First Aid Certificate is an exceptional ratio. Three to five trained first aiders would have met statutory regulations in a school of our size at the time of the inspection and having 17 staff trained shows that we take First Aid extremely seriously.
The inspectors concluded that the pupils ability to work together towards a common goal is demonstrated very effectively in the Senior School in the annual theatre production where the whole school works in different groups to ensure a high-quality performance. They were unable to note all of the ways that Leadership skill is developed at the school – through the Duke of Edinburgh; through House matches and tournaments; through charitable programmes such as WE Day; through activities such as the school magazine; and through many more activities. Apart from this, most visitors to Greenfields note that our students are inherently different in their attitudes to each other, to teachers and to learning itself, developing the ability to lead in both a small and large scale every day.
But overall, the inspectors’ following summary of the school was fair:
“The school fulfils its aims of ensuring that pupils are happy at the school and of instilling self-confidence, industriousness, responsibility, tolerance and a moral and ethical compass. It achieves this by providing a safe environment, clear parameters for pupils personal development and a methodical and highly structured approach to teaching which gives pupils a sense of security. Pupils understand that their success academically and the quality of their relationships depend on the choices they make.”
The two reports can be found on these links.
Jeff Smith – Executive Head,
Below are certain vital school policies and data that are made available to all parents. They include:
1) Policy on Safeguarding and Child Protection
2) Arrangements for admissions, misbehaviour and exclusions
3) Educational and welfare provision for pupils with statements and pupils for whom English is an additional language
4) Policy on curriculum
5) Policy to promote good behaviour and set out sanctions
6) Anti-bullying strategy
7) Health and Safety
8) First Aid
9) Complaints procedure
Also available below are
i) links to the reports of previous inspections of the school and boarding provision.
ii) the school’s GCSE/IGCSE exam results.
The number of complaints registered under the formal procedure during the preceding school year were recorded as zero.
Further information can be obtained from the Executive Head via the Executive Secretary at the school. Tel: 01342 820346.
Jeff Smith – B.Sc. Eng. A.M.I. Mech. E.
Executive Head, Greenfields School
Greenfields 2011 whole school inspection report is available here:
Greenfields 2013 Boarding inspection report is available here: