Sedbergh School has been rated ‘Outstanding’ for boarding and pastoral welfare by the Independent Schools Inspectorate this week, following a two-day visit in December. The report made no recommendations for improvement. 

Four inspectors spoke to boarders, senior members of staff and met with the chair of governors, Mr Hugh Blair, as well as observing a sample of extra-curricular activities and registration lessons. Visits to each of the nine boarding houses – three of which are for girls – and to the facilities for sick or injured pupils, formed part of the inspection and parents and boarding pupils completed a pre–inspection survey.

The school was particularly pleased with the inspectors’ confirmation that the staff promote positive behaviour and relationships by clear expectations and through effective implementation of discipline policies.

Boarders say they ‘appreciate the value the school places on developing positive relationships and say that friendships within the houses are central to their enjoyment of school life.’ They also told inspectors that ‘any incidents of bullying are tackled immediately.’   

The inspectors found parents, in their responses to the pre-inspection questionnaire, to be ‘highly satisfied with the care their children receive’.

Boarders from a variety of nationalities told inspectors they experience no discrimination for differences of any kind and pupils were found to regard their houses as ‘harmonious and welcoming’.

The inspectors found that food – which is mostly locally sourced – and health checks and facilities were outstanding and that pupils had space and opportunities for quiet reflection.

Inspectors found that the merger with Casterton School in September 2013, and the new site this created for Sedbergh Preparatory School, had released space for the growth of the senior school, including the construction of a new girls’ boarding house and recreation accommodation.

Since the last Boarding inspection, investment has been considerable, with the building of a new music school and performance studio, and refurbishment of the swimming pool and changing facilities highlighted by the report.  

Headmaster Andrew Fleck said: “As the inspection report states, the school’s mission is to inspire our pupils to achieve more than they imagine possible, and to develop in our pupils all the skills they will need to face the challenges and responsibilities of the modern world, as confident adults.

What comes with the choice to board is first-class round-the-clock pastoral care from a team of experienced and committed staff. Our staff selection and induction processes were highlighted as ‘rigorous’, which they must be in order to sustain the level of care we promise to deliver.

Particularly rewarding for me was hearing that pupils place such great value on their leadership roles and training, and it is very reassuring that the inspection team found ‘tolerance and respect are values which are actively promoted in all houses and across the school community.”

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