Cotham School retains Good Ofsted rating after inspection

Cotham School has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for the “breadth and ambition” of its curriculum and for its “calm and harmonious” atmosphere.

The two-day inspection, which took place in October, highlighted how students are “polite and friendly” and enjoy attending the school, secure in the knowledge that staff care about them. It concluded that Cotham remained a good school.

Inspectors noted that teachers had strong subject knowledge and delivered lessons that improved students’ life chances.

“There are high expectations for what all pupils can achieve. The school strives to provide the same high-quality education to all pupils, regardless of their starting points or the challenges they face,” the report said.

There was further praise for Cotham’s range of extra-curricular clubs which helped to develop students’ talents and interests, as well as the many leadership opportunities available, ranging from being a reading buddy to becoming a sports leader or house captain.

The inspectors also highlighted the school’s engagement  with parents and the wider community.

“The school celebrates the diverse community that it serves. Pupils and their families feel welcome and valued,” Ofsted reported.  Headteacher Jo Butler said she was thrilled by the report. 

“This kind of feedback from Ofsted means so much to students and their families, the staff, my senior leadership team and the board of governors,” she said.

“We have such an amazing school community here where everyone plays their part on a daily basis to make it the place it is. Ofsted’s very positive report is wonderful news for us all – something for everyone to celebrate.”

The inspection took place on 17 and 18 October and was published in December.  Inspectors surveyed students and staff, met with senior leaders and several  governors. They evaluated the school’s approach to safeguarding and carried out a ‘deep dive’ into English, maths, history and modern languages. Inspectors were very positive about all these areas. 

In a letter to parents and carers, Ms Butler thanked the school community for the valuable part they had played during the inspection. “I would very much like to thank the many parents and carers, students and staff who contributed to the inspection procedure,” she said.

“The prospect of a visit by Ofsted is daunting for every school, but to hear the many wonderful things said during the inspection has made the process really worthwhile.”

Only one area was noted for improvement – that work given to students does not always reflect the ambition of the curriculum. Ms Butler assured parents and carers in her letter that school leaders were already addressing this.

Chair of governors Sandra Fryer also thanked“everyone who has contributed to the success of our amazing and multicultural school leading to this excellent Ofsted outcome.” 

Cotham School has 1,65o pupils aged 11 to 18. Its catchment area covers Cotham, Clifton, Kingsdown, Redland, Bishopston, St Paul’s and Easton.