Saintfield High School

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Eti inspectors report

eti Inspectors Report

Saintfield High School’s Future Continues to Shine Brightly in 2012:
A Landmark Year

 Photograph courtesy of "Newtownards Chronicle"

"All that can be expected from the most perfect institutions is that they should make it possible for individual excellence to develop itself, not that they should produce the perfect individual."

- Henri-Frederic Amiel (Saintfield High School’s Mission Statement)

Pupils and staff of Saintfield High School have reason to celebrate as the current academic year draws to a close, following the results of a Standard Inspection carried out at the end of January 2012. The school has enjoyed many successes since its doors first welcomed students in 1958 and is renowned for its high quality pastoral care, which is recognised throughout the wider school community. This endorsement for the school is reflected in the continuous over subscription of pupils applying for places, including for the forthcoming academic year, 2012-2013.  

Principal Ms Watt is ‘absolutely thrilled’ with the commendations for standards and achievements recognised by the Education and Training Inspectorate. Her ‘broad and strategic’ outlook was praised by the team of inspectors, in addition to the ‘culture of teamwork’ which she has nurtured during her eight years in post. In particular, the system of distributed leadership was attributed to Ms Watt’s vision and it was firmly recognised that her hard work inspired and empowered teachers to ‘lead and co-ordinate learning’. It was noted that she is ably supported by the ‘hard work and commitment’ of the newly appointed Vice Principal in October 2011, Miss S-L Hynds, who is also Head of English.

The overall findings from the ETI Inspection concluded that the standards achieved by the pupils were ‘very good’, stating that students were ‘motivated’ and ‘responsive and confident in their learning’ across all subjects. Their ‘exemplary behaviour’ was highlighted, stating that the emotional health of all pupils is a high priority for staff; reflected in a curriculum which recognises the value of emotional intelligence. Programmes entitled, ‘Good Manners Matter’ and ‘Mind Out’, enhance learning carried out within the classroom to encourage pupils to interact successfully with their peers and teachers, and to promote individual well-being.

Teaching and Learning is the core business of Saintfield High School, and it was concluded from the inspection that pupils benefit from a ‘broad and balanced curriculum’ at both Key Stage Three and GCSE, supported by ‘very high-quality careers guidance’ to prepare them for future endeavours. As a school that practices what it preaches, and in accordance with Saintfield High’s mission statement, individual excellence is promoted through a commitment to meeting the full range of additional and special educational needs. The team of inspectors reported that learning support provided was ‘carefully structured’, underlining the dedication and commitment of both teaching and non-teaching staff.

Of the three departments focused on during the inspection – English, Mathematics and Modern Languages – each was considered to deliver ‘very good’ teaching and learning experiences. In particular the ‘outstanding’ quality of the teaching within the English Department was commended, in addition to the quality of the ‘strategic leadership and management’. The Mathematics Department was delighted with the recognition of continually ‘outstanding’ standards achieved in GCSE examinations, and the Modern Languages Department was praised for GCSE results which are ‘consistently above the Northern Ireland average for schools of a similar type’. All three Heads of Department were delighted with the inspection’s findings – validation indeed for the post-primary school. Mr Dick, Chairman of the Board of Governors, Principal Ms Watt and Vice Principal Miss Hynds believe that the inspection report is confirmation that Saintfield High is committed to school improvement, ensuring that every single pupil achieves their true potential. Ms Watt spoke of how pleasing it was to have received feedback from the inspectorate on how safe students feel while in the school’s care, in addition to the positive home support which provides the ‘invaluable backbone’ for the entire school network.

The beginning of May sees Saintfield High School prepare for yet another milestone as staff and pupils look forward to a rather special annual Sports Day, which will recognise the official opening and use of the newly built Sports Pavilion, completed in January 2012. Both pupils and staff received the news of this addition to the school’s accommodation with great enthusiasm, and look forward to benefiting from this extended provision.

This completes what has indeed been a tremendously successful and productive year for Saintfield High School. In response to the final published document from the Education and Training Inspectorate, Ms Watt concluded that it is the core belief of staff to ensure ‘all children learn through their total experience, in an effective and well-managed learning environment, which this report strongly reflects’.

Click here to download the report