Up until 2016 we were inspected by Ofsted. Although we recognise that inspection of some sort is an important part of ensuring that all schools are run safely and are providing a minimum standard of education, the service offered by Ofsted always felt ill-suited to Sands. We have since joined the Independent Schools Association with the result that we will in future be inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. We dido not expect inspection to be any less rigorous and the ISI inspect to exactly the same ‘framework’, as set down by the Department for Education. What we did expect was that the inspection would be undertaken in a less adversarial way and that the inspectors will frame their assessment of the school more around the ethos and aims of the school, the reasons why parents have chosen to entrust us with the education of their children.

ISI Regulatory Compliance Inspection November 2019

Under ISI we will have two inspections in each cycle: the first being solely about regulatory compliance and the second making judgements about the quality of the education we provide. Under the normal scheme of things we would expect the second inspection to be three years after the first, that is November 2022.

As we have in all of our recent Ofsted inspections, in this inspection we were found to have met all of the School Standards regualtions in full. The report is made in a standardised form and makes no judgements or observations about how the ‘standards’ were met. There is simply a summary of each ‘standard’ and a sentence saying where or not the ‘standar’ was met. You can click on the link image below to read the report.


Ofsted Inspection 2016





In their last report, November 2016, Ofsted inspectors found that “Pupils’ emotional well-being and personal development are at the heart of this school” and that “Behaviour and attitudes in lesson are outstanding”. The school’s democratic principles help students find “renewed energy and inspiration in a school that allows them to take responsibility for their learning in a new way.” They also found that “…the approach taken by the school builds confidence and makes pupils feel safe so that they enjoy school and want to learn.”

The findings are very much in line with the school’s previous inspection reports: Sands School is found to be a ‘good’ school across the board and ‘outstanding’ in the areas of personal development, behaviour and welfare. This is a fair reflection of how we see ourselves: actively supporting each child’s personal growth and well-being within an effective learning environment. This balance of priorities makes us different from other schools and is why our students and parents choose this school.

The quality of teaching and the outcomes for pupils are reported to be ‘good’ with pupils well prepared for examinations and for transfer to the next stage of their education. (The 2016 leavers achieved a GCSE pass rate of 77% with more than a third of exams taken passed at A* and A grade.)

Sands School continues to meet all of the Independent School Standards in full.

You can download the full report here.