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Sir Isaac awarded top Ofsted rating

Published on 08/06/18

Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form has been officially ranked as one of the country's best schools with the award of Ofsted's top judgement.

The college has been rated Outstanding in every area by the school inspectors after they visited the college in May.

It means it becomes Norfolk's only stand-alone sixth form to win the coveted top Ofsted ranking.

The sixth form, which opened just five years ago in the city's former fire station in Bethel Street, was the UK's first maths and science specialist sixth form and is now ranked one of the top in the country.

In their report, inspectors heaped praise on teachers, students, and the school's leadership.

Inspectors said that: "The ambitious and inclusive vision of senior leaders, governors and trust members has resulted in an outstanding educational experience for students. They thrive because of the very high quality of education that they receive."

"Students behave commendably. They take pride in their work, attend very well and enjoy their learning. Staff have instilled into students a strong desire to learn. Students work very hard, are keen to improve their work and want to succeed."

The report lauded the attitude of Sir Isaac's 369 students, saying: "Students make very good progress in their studies. In most subjects, their work is of a higher standard than expected, given their prior attainment. 

"Almost all students progress to higher education. Just under half gain places at prestigious universities."

The four-strong inspection team also recognised the college's strong pastoral support saying that: "Leaders, governors and staff have developed a supportive and caring environment where everyone is valued. Tutors introduce equality and diversity themes in tutorial groups very effectively.

"Students enjoy an extensive range of extra activities and societies. These extend their learning, help them to socialise and stimulate their interest in the world around them."

The report also congratulated the Inspiration Trust, which operates the school, saying it provides exceptional support commenting that "governors are passionate about ensuring the inclusivity of the school, while at the same time aspiring to the highest levels of achievement and progress for students."

The Ofsted verdict is the latest recognition of Sir Isaac's success. Last year it was ranked 14th nationally for A Levels in the Times / Sunday Times Parent Power guide and placed above top private schools like Eton and Harrow for the strength of its science and maths teaching in a Government-backed study.

Sir Isaac Newton principal Chris Jennings said: "This is an exceptional report and we are incredibly proud of the high quality academic education and pastoral support that we provide for all our students. 

"Our students are a massive credit to both the college and themselves. They are brilliant at supporting each other, and are a real scholarly community that loves to learn and are a joy to teach."

Inspiration Trust chief executive Dame Rachel de Souza said: "We wanted to open Sir Isaac because we could see that not enough young people in Norfolk were taking maths and further maths at A Level, and those that did didn't seem to be reaching their full potential.

"That the school has achieved so much so quickly is a testament to its highly skilled and dedicated staff, and proves that young people in our region are a match for any. It's a real success story for Norfolk, and we incredibly proud of everyone involved.

"Sir Isaac Newton talked about standing on the shoulders of giants - well, I think of our students and teachers as giants, and it is brilliant to see Ofsted recognise and praise them."