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Hill House International has a new Headmaster

(67 Posts)
Out2pasture Thu 26-Nov-15 04:59:31

With the recent damning Ofsted report, it will be interesting to watch this school re-organize.

ReallyTired Thu 26-Nov-15 11:58:08

It's a difficult time for both pupils and staff when a school fails its ofsted. I hope for the sake of the hill house children a new high quality school emerges from the ashes.

Change can be scary, but it's exciting as well. The teachers will be working harder than ever done having to adapt to new ways of working.

I hope that Hill house has a good OFSTED next time it's assessed. I don't no how it works in the private sector. Do you have interim monitoring to see if the improvement plan is on track. Do Hill House children do the phonics check or SATs like state school kids?

AnotherNewt Thu 26-Nov-15 12:05:29

I don't think so for SATs. It's fairly rare for the London preps to do them (as there's enough testing with 11+ exams and 13+ pre-tests in year 7).

I've no idea if private schools use the same phonics screening as state schools have at the end of yr1.

ReallyTired Thu 26-Nov-15 12:12:37

A failing state school is under huge pressure to prove their children are progressing to stop OFSTED from breathing down their neck. I imagine it's extremely rare for a private school to be in that position of having to prove that their children are learning.

I am surprised that a state school inspection system is being used by a private school. I imagine that Hill House will have find some way of proving that progress is happening. Common entrance or even year 7 pre tests are a bit late in a child's career.

Out2pasture Fri 27-Nov-15 04:00:11

www.hillhouseschool.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/HHAnnouncementLetter_Oct15.pdf

ever since the ofsted report came out I've been checking the HH website to see what would come of the deficiencies.
hopefully by the end of the school year parents post the progress. I expect it would take at least a year before an ISI report is available??

nightsky010 Fri 27-Nov-15 16:07:47

Not there yet!
reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/files/2514124/urn/100518.pdf

Tbh the management of this school does sound worrying! Old head doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing. The new Head does sound very promising though.

34z67y90 Fri 27-Nov-15 16:47:41

Gosh - they still have a lot of work to do. There were several threads a few years ago re: the Head they have appointed. Seems he was a bit of a marmite character at Newton Prep. He retired a couple of years ago I think. .......however, if he's got experience and can do the necessary admin, he'll be kept busy at HH it seems!!

ReallyTired Fri 27-Nov-15 20:35:20

I hope that the new head has the freedom to make necessary changes to the school for the sake of the children. Its interesting that the ISI report is almost as damning as the OFSTED report. It shows that getting ISI to do an inspection instead of OFSTED is not a soft touch. Maybe the ISI report is what is needed to show the Hill House staff the reality of how much work they need to do.

I wonder how much longer the department of education will give Hill House to improve. It must be hellish for the parents who are spending all this money and knowing that their children are recieving a second/ third rate eduation. The sad thing is that the sheer shortage of London places makes transferring school impossible.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 20:41:42

The leavers destinations would suggest it's far from second rate!
Here

educatingarti Fri 27-Nov-15 20:52:40

But don't they have about 125 students in each year? Where do all the others go?

AnotherNewt Fri 27-Nov-15 20:56:47

Yes, it's a big school and lots of pupils join and leave at various points.

Those destinations are below (for want of a better word) what quite a number of other central London preps achieve, and below what Hill House achieved a few years ago. The new head has a clear task ahead in terms of sorting out both safety/safe-guarding and in reversing the decline in academic results.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 21:00:09

Every single child who is there at the regular prep leaving end is on those lists. Some leave to go back to their home countries earlier and they don't claim credit for list children who go to boarding Preps before 11.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 21:10:55

I don't know of any other school that doesn't select.
And it looks very similar, to the leavers list I studied forensically 15 years ago.
And the safety thing is practically Kafkaesque. 50 years+ of marshalling children around London on foot with no incidents.

nightsky010 Fri 27-Nov-15 21:38:07

Seriouslyffs

Yes, you're right abut it being the only one (that I can think of anyway) that's totally non selective (clearly a lot of social selection due to the area though). But you must admit, the safeguarding and curriculum issues are concerning, no?

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 21:48:20

I haven't studied the reports very carefully, but my understanding is that the curriculum issues are focused on the early years. That's the very reason I chose the school! Early years are ridiculously accelerated and pressurised in this country. I can't find it online now but the timetable was about 50/50 traditional school subjects and art/ sport/ music/ dance/ crafts.

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 21:52:29

And the safeguarding picked up on the registers not being collated and absences being followed up. The classes are tiny, 10-15. They don't need systems to know where the children are.

ReallyTired Fri 27-Nov-15 22:10:34

Hill House is selective by the fact it requires a lot of money to send a child there. Parents have to be high achieving and successful to be able to afford to send a child there. The parents are supportive and ambitious. The child have the necessary genetics to do well. I suspect that the majority of the children would have done equally well if they had attended my daughter's requires improvement state school.

Both OFSTED and ISI have utterly slated the school. I think it's reasonable to assume that they are correct.

nightsky010 Fri 27-Nov-15 22:23:08

From the report listing things they must improve on:
The school must take action to meet the requirements of the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 and associated requirements:

 Ensure that the curriculum is supported by appropriate plans and schemes of work. (Paragraph 2 (1)(a))
 Ensure that the subject matter is appropriate for the ages and aptitudes of pupils, including those pupils with a statement of special educational needs. (Paragraph 2 (1) (b) (i))
 Ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to learn and make progress. (Paragraph 2 (2) (h))
 Ensure teaching enables pupils to acquire new knowledge and make progress according to their
ability so that they increase their understanding and develop their skills in the subjects taught. (Paragraph 3 (a))
 Ensure teaching involves well-planned lessons and effective teaching methods, activities and management of class time. (Paragraph 3 (c))
 Ensure teachers have a good understanding of the aptitudes, needs and prior attainments of pupils, and ensure that these are taken account of in the planning of lessons. (Paragraph 3 (d))
 Ensure teachers demonstrate appropriate knowledge and understanding of the subject matter being taught. (Paragraph 3 (e))
 Ensure there is a framework in place to assess pupils’ work regularly and thoroughly and use assessment to plan teaching so that pupils can progress. (Paragraph 3 (g))
 Ensure that there is a framework for pupils’ performance to be evaluated, by reference either to the school’s own aims as provided to parents and carers or national norms, or to both, in place. (Paragraph 4)
 Ensure arrangements are made to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils at the school; and such arrangements have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State. (Paragraph 7 (a) and (b))
 Ensure that there is a record kept of sanctions imposed upon pupils for serious misbehaviour. (Paragraph 9 (c))
 Ensure there is a written policy on compliance with the relevant health and safety laws and which is implemented effectively. (Paragraph 11)
 Ensure that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is complied with. (Paragraph 12)
 Ensure that school staff are deployed to ensure the proper supervision of pupils. (Paragraph 14)
 Ensure that admission and attendance registers are maintained in accordance with the
Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006. (Paragraph 15)
 Ensure there are suitable changing facilities and showers are provided for pupils aged 11 years or over at the start of the school year who receive physical education. (Paragraph 23 (1) (c))
 Ensure there is suitable outdoor space for pupils to play outside. (Paragraph 29 (1) (b))
 Ensure that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school demonstrate
good skills and knowledge appropriate to their role so that the independent school standards are met consistently. (Paragraph 34(1)(a))
 Ensure that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school fulfil their responsibilities effectively so that the independent school standards are met consistently. (Paragraph 34(1)(b))
 Ensure that persons with leadership and management responsibilities at the school actively promote the well-being of pupils. (Paragraph 34(1)(c))
The school must meet the following statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage:
 Ensure that all the seven areas of learning and development are covered with teaching that meets the children’s individual needs, interests and stage of development. (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8 and 1.9)
 Ensure that children’s progress is accurately assessed and recorded and information from this used to shape the learning experiences for each child. (2.1, 2.6 and 2.7)
 Ensure that the safeguarding and welfare requirements are met. (3.1, 3.2, 3.54, 3.55, 3.58)

nightsky010 Fri 27-Nov-15 22:26:58

Quite a bit of concerning stuff there. Such a pity. Yet it does manage to produce such good results on a non selective intake, albeit a Chelsea one!

Seriouslyffs Fri 27-Nov-15 23:03:09

Reallytired the catchment is massive- of course the parents are rich (although the fees are cheaper than every other prep school in London) but all the competing schools- those who also send pupils to similar exit schools select at 4.
I'm not familiar with all the criterion and subsections in the points above but of the top off my head-
Ensure there are suitable changing facilities and showers are provided for pupils aged 11 years or over at the start of the school year who receive physical education. (Paragraph 23 (1) (c))'
Why? They don't get changed for PE! They put their trainers on and take their jumpers off!
And
^The school must meet the following statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage:
 Ensure that all the seven areas of learning and development are covered with teaching that meets the children’s individual needs, interests and stage of development. (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.8 and 1.9)
 Ensure that children’s progress is accurately assessed and recorded and information from this used to shape the learning experiences for each child. (2.1, 2.6 and 2.7)^
The early years foundation stage covers years when most children around the world aren't at school! What does it matter if they're not meeting arbitrary standards when they're 5 if as a cohort they're excelling at 11 and 13?
 Ensure there is suitable outdoor space for pupils to play outside. (Paragraph 29 (1) (b))
This bit is outrageous. Councils
around the country have been allowed to sell off school playing fields; I know of a Secondary School for Boys with 700 pupils and 'grounds' smaller than your average suburban garden. At HH all pupils go out every day for sports in Battersea Park, Duke of York, Royal Hospital Gardens etc.
I know no parent likes to think they've been sold a pup. This genuinely isn't what's happening here. I chose the school for the very reasons it's now being criticised. I was a teacher and I've lived in several other countries and experienced different systems where children thrive and enjoy learning. It's heartbreaking that a school which models much of the best learning from around the world is being is being slated rather than studied.

ReallyTired Sat 28-Nov-15 00:08:20

OFSTED has become very political and has tried to micro manage very state school in the country. Clearly they are not satisfied with controlling the education of 93% and want to dictate the curriculum for private schools as well.

The early years foundation stage curriculum is compulsory in all day nurseries, pre schools, state and private schools. (I have no idea how Steiner schools get round it.) My guess is that Hill House is a bit more old fashioned. Maybe they not kept up with the latest fads like access to outdoor play at all times or synthetic phonics or the early years foundation profile.

What consitutes a good education is subjective. I don't think there is any easy way to compare progress between very different schools.

nightsky010 Sat 28-Nov-15 03:10:46

seriouslyffs

Most of the issues with the report are unrelated to EYFS.

Most of the problems are to do with the curriculum / teaching / management are crap and that the safeguarding measures are inadequate. Hardly trivial matters....

Not to say the school is necessarily bad - it clearly gets great results despite being non selective, but it's hard to say how much of that is due to the type of pupils in the intake.....

Also, I have heard stories (on MN) abut staff tutoring DC in the cafe of Peter Jones! So much that PJ had to ban this!

AnotherNewt Sat 28-Nov-15 06:16:20

"Why? They don't get changed for PE! They put their trainers on and take their jumpers off!"
They have introduced a sports kit for Senior School and above, and children of that age do need changing rooms (certainly for those in KS3 equivalent).

EYFS is mandatory for all schools in UK. Private schools can vary it within some parameters, but have to use it. This is the law. Hill House is not exempt from it.

And playing space outside isn't a synonym for sports fields. Other schools may have sold off playing fields, but not their playgrounds. Other inner city schools have premises with adequate playgrounds. Though I agree that parents should be able to choose a school without playgrounds (or with only small ones) I can't see it as a desirable point for the school.

And phonics isn't a latest fad! It's the centuries old tried and trusted method, that many (most?) private schools kept with (because it works best) even whilst state schools went through the fad of mixed methods, look and say etc.

OFSTED weren't trying to lay down a curriculum, anyhow. The criticism seemed to be on staff not knowing what the school's curriculum was (as described by the staff themselves) and no-one keeping track of how a pupil's learning was progressing. (OFSTED are required by law to inspect all EYFS and boarding provision, and have always provided inspections for private schools who request them. I've no idea why HH chose OFSTED as its inspecting body, when others were available to them).

The safeguarding issues were biggies like fire safety and not requiring visitors to sign in.

Jp58 Sat 28-Nov-15 07:48:35

I gather the new head resigned and left at the end of the week. The old one is back in charge again.

ReallyTired Sat 28-Nov-15 08:49:14

Please be mindful of the feelings of those on this thread who have the stress of finding their children whose school is deemed to be failing. My daughter's state school was deemed inadequate and it's not an experience I would wish on anyone.

With my daughter's school OFSTED did have a point. The school was not focussing on academics enough. As parents we loved the old head, the school plays, parties, family like environment but the children were not reaching the standards in literally needed for secondary. The new head has a sats focussed school with better results, but I feel my daughter's school has a different set of weaknesses.

What consitutes a good education is subjective. Different schools around the world have different approaches. There is no one way to run a school.

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