Archbishop Holgate’s has been awarded the highest possible rating by Ofsted following a two-day inspection which judged the school to be outstanding in all areas.

Inspectors assessed the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes of pupils, their personal development, the sixth form provision, the leadership and management of the school and its overall effectiveness, judging all to be outstanding and concluding: “Archbishop Holgate’s School is an exceptional place for pupils to learn.”

Headteacher, Andrew Daly, said: “I am extremely proud of this report and the education we provide for all students at Archbishop Holgate’s. The outcome of this inspection is testament to the efforts of our entire school community, especially the hard work and positive attitude of our students and the commitment and service of our staff team.”

“Given that the new inspection framework is much more rigorous and judgements harder to achieve, combined with the ongoing demands of the pandemic, makes it even more pleasing that inspectors did not identify any areas for development.”

Highlighting the many areas in which the school excels, the report praised the quality of the curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities available to pupils, stating: “The curriculum at this school is exemplary. All pupils benefit greatly from lessons in a wide range of subjects, alongside a set of extensive enrichment opportunities.” The Sixth Form curriculum was also noted to be “exceptionally strong.”

Inspectors described behaviour at the school as exceptional and said: “Pupils are calm, orderly and respectful. Pupils are confident, articulate and produce consistently high-quality work. Their ability to recall key content from the curriculum is noteworthy.”

During their visit, inspectors met with the Headteacher, senior leaders and governors; talked to pupils about their work and visited lessons; observed extra-curricular activities and form time sessions; spoke to curriculum leaders and teachers and looked in depth at areas of the curriculum, including English, Mathematics, History, Geography and Art.

Inspectors also reviewed the systems in place to keep pupils safe, saying: “Leaders are tenacious in their efforts to keep pupils safe. The safeguarding training all staff receive is of the highest quality.”

The additional pastoral capacity put in place to provide mental health and wellbeing support for pupils was also recognised in the report.

Teaching and learning across all subjects was praised with inspectors saying: “Teachers have strong knowledge of the subjects that they teach. They deliver lessons with passion. As a result of high-quality training, teachers use a range of strategies to ensure pupils remember what they have been taught.”

Inspectors sought the views of members of the school community, including parents, pupils and staff. One parent told inspectors: “The staff live and breathe the school values, and that is passed onto pupils. There is a unique and indefinable sense of welcoming at the school, no matter which member of staff you speak to.” All staff said they feel valued and referred to being part of a special community and are incredibly proud to work at the school.

The wider personal development of pupils and preparation for life after Archbishop Holgate’s was identified as another strength of the school with the report saying: “Important topics, such as maintaining healthy relationships, preparing for the world of work, and developing leadership skills, are planned and taught exceptionally well. There is also considerable strength in the school’s wider provision of careers information and guidance for pupils of all ages.”

The support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities was deemed exceptionally strong with inspectors saying: “Teachers receive high-quality guidance on how to support these pupils. Well trained and knowledgeable teaching assistants play an active role in supporting pupils with SEND. Leaders are fully committed to eradicating any barriers to learning for these pupils. As a result, all pupils achieve highly.”

The report recognised the strength of governance at the school noting: “Governors hold leaders strongly to account. Governors and leaders are constantly seeking to adapt and improve the school.”

Chair of Governors, John Hattam, said: “Archbishop Holgate’s is a special place because of the way it blends its four core values of Justice, Compassion, Forgiveness and Trust with a focus and determination by all staff to ensure that every pupil achieves their maximum potential.  We were delighted to see these foundations of the school’s performance so explicitly recognised in the Ofsted report.”

Andrew Daly, added: “I have had the privilege of leading Archbishop Holgate’s for the last twelve years, during which time the school has been afforded a number of accolades including outstanding SIAMS inspections and more recently accreditation as a national Teaching School Hub. We are well known for our excellent examination outcomes for all groups of students at both GCSE and Post 16, regularly some of the best in the country. However, this inspection framework is about much more than academic results, for a school to be judged as outstanding it must consistently be providing an all-round education of the highest standard to all students. This is what our report recognises and what we are most delighted about.”

“We are so pleased with our inspection and the recognition it affords to the collective efforts of staff, students, families and our wider community. Please rest assured that, as always, we will continue to strive to ensure that our school remains the best possible place for students to learn and grow as individuals.”

In February 2021, Archbishop Holgate’s was selected as one of the government’s new teaching school hubs, a national network of 87 school-led centres of excellence for teacher and leadership training and development. Working in partnership across the Ryedale, Scarborough and York region, the Pathfinder Teaching School Hub, based at Archbishop Holgate’s, provides high-quality training and continuous professional development for teachers at every stage of their career.

The school is also a founding member of Pathfinder Multi Academy Trust, a partnership of ten church and community schools serving more than 4,000 students and their families across York.