Estyn Inspection 2016

A sector-leading girls’ school has been rated as “excellent” in every aspect of its work by Estyn, Wales’ answer to Ofsted.

According to inspectors, Monmouth School for Girls and its preparatory school, Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, are achieving “extremely high” standards which are “well above expectations.”

Founded in 1892, Monmouth School for Girls has won the highest praise possible from the country’s education inspectorate, being judged “excellent” in both current performance and prospects for improvement.

The 602-pupil independent day and boarding school for seven to 18-year-olds, which includes Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, attained an “excellent” rating in all categories including standards; well-being of students; learning experiences; teaching; care, support and guidance; the learning environment; leadership; improving quality; partnership working; and resource management.

“Many strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice,” are indicated by the rating from inspectors, who visited in December.

As well as “excellent”, Estyn can also rank schools “good”, “adequate” and “unsatisfactory”.

Dr Caroline Pascoe, Headmistress of Monmouth School for Girls, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the report, and could not have hoped for a better start to 2016.

“It makes very good reading, and to see what we do confirmed as “excellent” by fellow professionals from an independent, external audit is probably the best kind of reward for all the hard work that contributed to such a positive result.”

On the school’s current performance, the inspectors found that the standards achieved by pupils are “extremely high and well above expectations”.

They praised performances in public exams as “outstanding”, with around 75 per cent of all GCSEs being graded at A* or A, in comparison with the national average of around 20 per cent.

At A level, the sixth form’s performance over the last three years was reported to be “extremely high”, with 50 per cent of all pupils achieving A*s or As and approximately 80 per cent of grades being A* to B.

Under the care, support and guidance banner, inspectors reported that Monmouth School for Girls “promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development exceptionally well through the curriculum.”

They added: “The school’s innovative personal and social education programme, Confidence for Life, captures pupils’ enthusiasm and engages them well in considering spiritual, moral and social issues.”

Estyn concluded that the girls’ behaviour across the schools is “exemplary”, attendance is “exceptionally high” and the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer “contributes significantly to pupils’ social and personal development.”

Inspectors noted that the “imaginative and dynamic delivery” of lessons enables pupils to make “rapid progress”. Quality of teaching at the schools was considered to be “consistently high”, helping girls to achieve “outstanding outcomes.”

Inspectors also highlighted the “highly effective partnerships” within the Haberdashers’ Monmouth family of schools, along with Monmouth School for Girls’ “exceptional engagement with community organisations and local businesses.”

The Monmouth Literary Festival, a joint schools’ collaboration between Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools and Monmouth Comprehensive, was applauded by inspectors for giving the girls involved an opportunity “to develop their social and life skills extremely well.”

Estyn wrote that the school “successfully promotes an exceptionally strong ethos, which is inclusive, caring and developmental.”

It said the “well-maintained accommodation and grounds provide an outstanding vibrant and stimulating learning environment”, and underlined how strongly the school promotes healthy living with meals of “exceptionally high quality.”

Listed under the “excellent” prospects for improvement, was a shared sense across Monmouth School for Girls of “purpose and commitment to the school’s vision, values and high aspirations.”

The high quality of leadership was deemed to contribute “significantly” to pupils’ “outstanding” achievements, with guidance from the governing body being praised as “highly effective.”

Monmouth School for Girls is one of only a handful of schools in Wales to achieve “excellent” across the board in its Estyn inspection under the new framework, introduced in 2010.

Its sibling, Monmouth School for Boys, achieved the same result in 2014.

Download the Estyn Monmouth School for Girls inspection report (PDF – 614Kb)