A newly published inspection report has today awarded an independent school in Cornwall the highest grades possible.
Truro School, a co-ed day and boarding school for pupils aged 3 to 18, achieved ‘Excellent’ status in all areas and at all age groups.
The inspection was performed by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), the official body for periodically assessing independent schools.
Carried out in two stages, Truro Prep School was first scrutinised in the summer with a report made public in July. The Senior School inspection then followed in mid-October resulting in today’s published results, confirming the top possible score at all age groups.
Surrounded by 300 miles of Cornish coastline, Truro School has a reputation for encouraging students to enjoy a proper childhood by making the most of the great outdoors.
Mr Kim Conchie, Chair of Governors at Truro School and Truro Prep, said: “Achieving the best possible inspection results at the Prep School in June, and now again at the Senior School, reflects the commitment, devotion and energy our teachers and support staff give to ensuring students have the highest academic achievements and co-curricular opportunities like nowhere else in Cornwall. I am thrilled to hear that the inspectors felt that we were entirely successful in our mission of providing students with an education for life - one that prepares boys and girls for the real world.”‘Pupils thoroughly enjoy their learning’ – Truro Prep School ISI Report 2017
The school’s aim at 3-11 is to help children develop a lifelong love of learning and the inspectors were quick to comment on this in the report.
The report said: “Pupils thoroughly enjoy their learning, and are proud of their school and of each other. The school is entirely successful in meeting its aims to challenge, inspire and support each and every pupil.”
Inspectors also shed light on the Prep school’s teaching style within the report. The report said: “Pupils are full of praise for the teachers who they say make lessons fun, know them well and support their learning.”
Recent lessons and activities at the school have included coast-to-coast cycles, walks along historic mining trails, and classroom-based ‘whodunit’ forensic science investigation.
A high standard of pastoral care was also singled out in the report, particularly the Prep School’s Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme.
“Pupils’ understanding of how to stay safe and how to be physically and mentally healthy is outstanding. Their development is enabled by a detailed PSHE scheme of work that includes mindfulness and meditation, providing the pupils with the tools to deal with stress.”
Sarah Patterson, Head of Truro Prep, shared her thoughts and said, “The fact the children told the inspectors that ‘they see the school as being like one big happy family where all members of the community feel involved and valued’ is really heart-warming to hear.”‘Outstanding extra-curricular programme’ – Truro School ISI Report 2017
At ages 11-18, the report evidenced that Truro School were successful in their mission to provide a high quality extra-curricular programme with the aim of preparing students for the real world through a rich variety of experiences.
The inspectors commented, “Pupils take part enthusiastically in the outstanding extra-curricular programme which takes place every day after school and for the whole afternoon on Wednesdays. Many of them excel in areas of expertise and interest, resulting in some outstanding achievements.”
Recent additions to the extra-curricular options include surfing and snorkelling off Cornwall’s coastline, community volunteering, and Tai Chi.
Back in 2015, a Drama Technical Club was added to the extra-curricular programme to teach students about cameras, lighting and stage management. The school has since invested in an outdoor broadcast truck and the students have ran no less than five live web broadcasts to thousands of spectators around the globe.
The report stated, “Pupils display high levels of confidence and assurance in themselves. They make appropriate choices about their learning and take advantage of the opportunities which are offered in the many and varied activities.”
Focusing on academic matters, the school obtained its best GCSE results in five years in August with 59% of grades A*-A. This compares to a national A*-A rate of 20% (equal to grade 7 or above in the new national grade format). The school’s A Level results also increased with the statistics well above national averages again.‘Pupils have a strong sense of service’ – Truro School ISI Report 2017
In the area of personal development, ISI highlighted Truro School’s fundraising activities and their importance in developing well-rounded students.
“Pupils have a strong sense of service and seek opportunities to do voluntary work locally in the community, whether part of the Duke of Edinburgh or independently. They are regularly involved in beach cleaning, and helping in local charity shops and at residential homes for the elderly.”
Last year the school raised over £12,000 for charity, including two student-led charity rock concerts that raised over £1500, split between Tourette’s Action and Cornwall Hospice.
Away from fundraising, the inspectors also praised the school and its pupils for their understanding of global perspectives, crediting some of the school’s overseas charitable partnerships.
The inspectors said, “Each year, groups of pupils travel abroad and try to make a difference. The school has a longstanding link with a community school and one for street children in Uganda. Pupils who visited the latter in 2017 described the trip as ‘life changing’ in terms of raising their awareness of children living very different lives to their own and helping them acquire a world view.”What next for the Cornish school?
Parents and pupils at Truro Prep School are eagerly awaiting for the ribbon to be cut on new classroom facilities shortly after Christmas. The development includes six new classrooms, an assembly/performance hall and a separate drama studio.
Sarah Patterson, Head of Truro Prep, said: “We are very excited about our new building. The children will benefit hugely; they will have brand new classrooms designed to provide outdoor learning opportunities. Our new assembly hall will ensure that drama and music productions will be showcased as they deserve as well as providing a place for quiet reflection.”
At ages 11-18, the senior school is planning to expand its boarding facilities in the near future to cater for demand from both UK students and overseas.
Andrew Gordon-Brown, Headmaster of Truro School, reflected: “When I walk around school each day I observe boys and girls who love being here, who are happy, who are kind, and who are determined to be the best versions of themselves. The team of inspectors from the ISI who visited us recognised all of these qualities and have judged us to be excellent in all areas. It is very gratifying to be judged as so successful in achieving our aims and the report is a source of renewed determination as we continue our drive to be the leading independent day and boarding school in the South West.”
Mr Conchie finished by saying: “On behalf of the Governors, I would like to thank the parents, the students, the teachers and all those who play their part in making Truro School this incredibly vibrant and successful community.”