Michael Hall School
Catchment Area, Reviews and Key Information

Primary & Secondary
Post 16
School Guide Rating

Kidbrooke Park
Priory Road
Forest Row
RH18 5JA
3 - 19
Other independent school
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Independent inspection report
5+ GCSEs grade 9-4 (standard pass or above) including English and maths
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School Description

: Michael Hall School is a non-selective independent school for boys and girls between the ages of three and 19 years old situated on the outskirts the village of Forest Row in East Sussex. It was founded in 1925 as the first Steiner Waldorf School in the English-speaking world. It currently has 431 pupils aged between three and 19 years old, of whom two have statements of special educational needs. One hundred and sixteen pupils have been identified as having specific learning needs and/or disabilities and fifteen do not have English as their mother tongue, but generally speak English well. Twenty-one pupils have been identified as being able, gifted and/or talented. The school has ten pupils who board under private host family arrangements, but that provision was not considered during the present inspection. The school is situated on a large site of over 60 acres, which was originally a Palladian mansion and grounds, and has purpose-built classrooms and specialist teaching facilities. It is organised into three departments; the Kindergarten for three to six year olds, which includes the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Year 1, the Lower School for pupils in Classes 1 to 8 (Years 2 to 9) and the Upper School for Classes 9 to 12 (Years 10 to 13). The school aims to offer an education that ‘addresses the whole human being, body, soul and spirit at every stage’, developing ’young people who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to the lives’. As part of an international movement, the school has exchanges with other Steiner schools in Europe and each June hosts the Michael Hall Olympics, which brings together pupils from other Steiner schools in England and some schools from Europe. During the inspection, timetabled lessons in the Upper School were greatly reduced because Classes 10, 11 and 12 were taking examinations or revising for them and Class 9 was engaged in the annual three-week work project, which involved them in work-related activities around the school that developed their practical craft and team building skills, but did not involve timetabled lessons. The school follows the Steiner Waldorf system for naming classes. The corresponding National Curriculum nomenclature for the classes in the school at the time of the inspection is as follows: 3 Steiner Class Names Kindergarten Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Class 5 Class 6 Class 7 Class 8 Class 9 Class 10 Class 11 Class 12 National Curriculum EYFS, Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12 Year 13 Summary of main findings: Michael Hall School has some outstanding strengths and some areas in need of improvement, including leadership and management where there are two regulatory failings. Many aspects of the Early Years and Kindergarten provision are outstanding, but insufficient attention has been paid to the further development of provision for five to six-year-olds, and to ensuring that supporting documentation fully reflects the new regulatory requirements and supporting guidance. The educational experience of pupils in the main school is rich and varied, with significant strengths in the creative and performing arts and modern foreign languages. The supporting curriculum planning documents, however, do not identify clearly enough what is to be taught or how progress in learning will be identified. Teaching is good overall, with some that is outstanding and most that is good, but a significant minority is only satisfactory. The unevenness in teaching is more common in the teaching of younger pupils in the Lower School, but there are examples of differences in quality within other year groups as well. This unevenness also includes the marking of pupils’ work. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding, so that they leave the school as well rounded, articulate and mature young people with a set of moral values to guide them through adult life, and well developed levels of creativity and imagination, together with a wide range of practical skills. The learning support department is highly successful in supporting pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, whilst the very small number of pupils with English as an additional language who need support are well catered for. Pupils generally behave well. The checks to ensure that staff and volunteers are suitable to work with children are thorough. Safeguarding now meets the requirements. The school makes appropriate arrangements for pupils’ welfare, health and safety, but attendance is below the national average. The accommodation and grounds provide excellent opportunities to extend and develop educational experiences. Trustees bring a wide range of experience and expertise to their roles, but the key requirements that they should be fully cognizant of the current independent school regulations and have close oversight of the effective and consistent implementation of them have not been met. Leadership and management have been much more effective in promoting the well-being of pupils and this has generally been done well, 4 although there are some issues related to the oversight of the school’s teaching accommodation.

Michael Hall School Catchment Area Map

This school is independently managed and its admission criteria may be selective. There is no set catchment area as pupils are admitted from a wide variety of postcodes and, in the case of boarding schools, from outside the UK. Contact the school directly or visit their website for more information on Admissions Policy and Procedures.

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