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School makes good progress under "strong and principled" leaders

Headmaster Bruce Grindlay
Headmaster Bruce Grindlay

Sutton Valence School has won praise from the Independent Schools Inspectorate which described it as an “excellent” school.

A team of eight inspectors visited the school over three days in November and their findings published this week record a marked improvement in the school across many areas since the last inspection.

The school was founded in 1576 and is now co-educational with 322 boys and 167 girls on the roll, of whom 151 students are boarders.

Seventy-five of the pupils have special educational needs or disabilities.

The inspectors found the school “provides an excellent education and the pupils’ personal development is strong.

“It is supported by excellent pastoral care, a vast range of challenging activities and, for those that board, an excellent boarding education that encourages the development of key personal skills and confidence.”

The report said pupils and staff worked well together. Teaching was good and in some cases excellent and as a result both GCSE and A level results had improved since 2010.
The students education was “considerably enhanced” by the extensive range of extra-curricular activities provided, with students also achieving great success in sport, music, art and drama.

The inspectors praised the school’s excellent governance and the highly effective management of the headmaster Bruce Grindlay and his senior staff.

Considerable progress had been made in improving the provision for gifted and talented pupils, seen as a weakness at the previous inspection.

Sutton Valence pupils were described as highly articulate, speaking with clarity and confidence. They were adept at applying their mathematical skills, for example in chemistry and physics, and in making good use of information and communication technology.
Altogether the inspectors awarded the school “excellent” in seven out of nine inspection categories, and “good” in the remaining two.

Mr Grindlay said: “The inspectors have recognised the work we have done in recent years to improve teaching and learning, raise expectations and achievement and in building an inclusive community, with a particular focus on the needs of the individual pupil.”

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