The Youth Sport Trust’s Ali Sturla looks at how one school made sure PE was front and centre in its recent Ofsted inspection:
In June this year Blessed George Napier (BGN) School in Oxfordshire received ‘that’ anticipated phone call to say Ofsted was on its way! After a successful day one, the school was heading towards a solid ‘good’ across the board. However, instead of breathing a huge sigh of relief and getting ready to relax the school pushed the inspectors to come back for a second day and ‘dig deeper’. Its rationale for this was linked to the Catholic and sporting ethos of the school that it strongly believed made them outstanding in creating a culture for pupils to feel safe and thrive to reach their personal best. It would seem Ofsted agreed!
The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding. Leaders focus relentlessly on ensuring that pupils grow and develop as unique individuals.
The school is an existing Sports College and has maintained these principles in its approach to PE, school sport and physical activity. It hosts North Oxfordshire School Sport Trust NOSSP, one of the country’s leading school sports partnerships, that serves over 60 local primary, special and secondary schools. The school has a firm belief in the power of PE and sport to impact positively on personal development and wider achievement. The extra-curricular programme at Blessed George Napier School is wide reaching to cater for the most ‘sporty’ and the less confident.
The school’s extra-curricular offer is one of its many strengths. Inspectors counted in excess of 25 activities. This does not include the high take-up rates for and participation in sports and fitness activities. The school hosts, co-operates with and draws support from the NOSSP. Pupils are thereby enabled to participate in a wide range of competitions. They also have rich opportunities to develop leadership skills, and to work with and mentor young children.
The school also has a fantastic leadership programme enabling pupils from Year 7-13 to support local events and festivals, ranging from cricket and dance to targeted ‘This Girl Can’ festivals for less confident children.
You may be reading this thinking ‘our school does that’. We know many schools have a strong PE and sport offer and work hard to ensure every child gets a great experience. However, how many are prepared to put themselves out there, back their work and challenge Ofsted to ‘come and see’. This school was, and look how well that turned out!
The school’s work as a former sports college helps pupils develop appropriate attitudes to health and fitness, find a sport of choice, and understand the benefits of teamwork and competition.
Let’s not forget the importance of the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team supporting the PE department to ensure all of this happens. Headteacher (Principal) Fraser Long states:
At BGN we fully understand the importance of having a range of PE and sporting opportunities in developing a well-rounded person. Our pupils get numerous opportunities in this area and this contributes significantly to their personal development.