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Ripon Grammar outstanding for boarding
13th July 2017

A state-funded grammar school has had its outstanding reputation enhanced still further with the same top grading for its boarding provision.

Ripon Grammar School has capacity for 95 boy and girl boarders, who pay to board but not for tuition and who enjoy an outstanding experience, according to Ofsted.

Inspectors said the school's boarding provision "consistently exceeds the standards of good" and that it "contributes to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people".

The school is welcoming and friendly and students make strong and lasting friendships, supported by very effective safeguarding practice, specialist services for health and emotional well-being needs, and outstanding leadership and management.

The social care inspectors noted that boarding at Ripon Grammar School brings significant benefits to boarders' independence, their confidence and self-discipline, and personal and academic achievements, providing them with a good springboard to their futures. "They are happy and enjoy being at school," the report said.

"There is an excellent balance of safe risk-taking and promoting boarders' development and life experiences," they added.

The report details how boarders are part of a strong school community that recognises their individual needs and any vulnerabilities associated with living away from home.

The boarders themselves are praised for being a credit to themselves and the school.

They are supported to manage their time doing homework and revision, the comprehensive range of activities, pursuing talents and socialising, and appreciate having house parents who are also teachers.

"Sustained improvement in their lives is evident in their achievement records, academic results and their higher education plans after A Levels," the inspectors said.

Headmaster Marin Pearman, who retires at the end of term, said: "This is a tremendous outcome of which we should all be very proud, and I am deeply grateful to all the staff, students and parents who contributed to the inspection.

"The judgement reflects extremely well on everyone associated with our boarding provision and is a further step up since our previous inspection. We have implemented a long term plan of investment in the quality of our accommodation and to meet the very high demand for boarding. I am especially pleased with the way the inspectors focused on the excellent outcomes and the diversity among our boarding community."

Mr Pearman added: "'Outstanding' does not mean perfect and there are some areas to address over the coming year, but I am delighted with the inspectors' appraisal of the experiences and progress of our students."

Boarders are able to influence life in the boarding houses, with ideas on menus, technology and social events. Inspectors noted the investment in a new extension to the girls' boarding house, the junior boys' washroom, new beds for boys and Wi-Fi.

Boarder Lachlan Moon, 15, of Wetherby, said: "The staff are very good at recognising our  differences and not treating us all the same, while at the same time treating us equally."

Harry Williams, 14, also of Wetherby, added: "Boarding's great because you always have your friends around you."

Abigail Burke, 15, whose family are stationed in Bristol, said: "My dad is in the RAF so although he's been posted, boarding allows me to have a stable school life."