Highgate School rated 'excellent' by independent schools watchdog

pupils in craft workshop

Highgate pupils having a 'crafternoon' session as part of their Fast Fashion-Free February campaign - Credit: Diarmuid McDonald

Highgate School has been rated "excellent" by the independent school's watchdog.

The school, in North Road, received the highest rating from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) following a visit in December. 

The report focussed on the achievement of the pupils, including their academic development, and the personal development of the pupils.

For the inspection, the Department for Education (DfE) requested a particular focus on relationships and sex education (RSE), spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and welfare, health and safety, to ensure that pupils are safeguarded effectively.

The £7,000-a-term private school last month published the results of an independent investigation after dozens of pupils publicly complained about its “rape culture”.

Several claimed the school had failed to respond appropriately when sexual assaults were reported to staff.

Following their visit the sole recommendation by ISI inspectors was to "extend opportunities for pupils to review and contribute to the RSE and PSHEE (persona, social, health and economic education) curriculum".

A spokesperson for the school said: "This is already something which Highgate welcomes, and to which it is committed." 

Highgate School headteacher Adam Pettitt

Highgate School head Adam Pettitt apologised last year, saying he was 'truly sorry' that girls had been 'made to suffer' - Credit: Highgate School

The ISI report said: "As a result of the issues highlighted by reports about the school in the media and in open letters, there has been a sustained and effective focus on mutual respect and the understanding of experiences of those of a different gender."

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It said the school's personal, social, health and economic (PSHEE) and RSE programmes were enhanced by regular communications with pupils, assemblies, discussion with relevant school societies, and additional seminars on equality, everyday sexism and other related areas.

"Many of these focused on behaviour out of school, especially at weekend parties," the report added.

"Pupils have led talks with younger pupils on responsible behaviour and positive relationships.

"In discussions, pupils expressed their full support for the increased focus and arrangements."

Among other key findings inspectors found that pupils "show exceptional attitudes to study and scholarship" and collaborate effectively with one another and staff.

It said students have "exceptional levels of knowledge, skills and understanding for their age" in all subject areas and are skilled communicators.

Pupils have an "acute moral awareness built on clear guidelines in the junior school" and an encouragement of debate and challenge as they move into the older year groups, the report outlined.

"Many pupils have an understated but well-embedded awareness of the positive experience caused by the unexpected and intangible," it added.