News, Schools, Truro

Cornish school gets top marks


Polwhele House has achieved “Excellent” in every section of its recent inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

At the end of September Polwhele House was closely studied by four inspectors for four continuous days. The inspectors observed lessons, conducted formal interviews with pupils and examined samples of pupils’ work. They held discussions with senior members of staff, observed a sample of extra-curricular activities and attended registration sessions and assemblies. Inspectors also visited the boarding house as there are at present six occasional boarders among the school’s 102 pupils.

ISI reports do not provide a single overarching judgement for the school but instead give a clear judgement on each aspect of the school’s work at the beginning of each section of the resulting report. These headline statements must include one of the ISI descriptors: excellent, good, sound or unsatisfactory.

Polwhele House was awarded “Excellent” on every count. An excerpt from the ISI’s Main Findings summarises the reasons.

“The school is highly successful in meeting its aims and offers pupils an excellent educational experience. From the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) onwards, their achievement is excellent, both in academic and in extra-curricular activities. Pupils make rapid progress in relation to their abilities as a result of the excellent creative teaching they receive, which encourages them to develop their reasoning skills and become highly independent.”

Headmaster Alex McCullough is proud of the school’s report.

“We are very proud indeed of the tenor of the inspection report as a whole and are delighted the inspectors identified the school as having such strong features, with every category deemed to be ‘Excellent’, the highest grading. It is usual for schools to be awarded pockets of ‘Excellents’ but very rare for schools to receive the highest grading in all areas.

“We realise there is, and will continue to be, much to be accomplished in the future, but this report has been a most important and remarkable achievement and my admiration and gratitude goes to the children, parents, teachers and governors who have played such a crucial part in all of this.”

Polwhele House is a proprietorial, co-educational day and boarding preparatory and pre-preparatory school for pupils between the ages of three and thirteen years. In 1983 it became the school at which the Truro Cathedral choristers are educated.

The school is based around a historic manor house in 32 acres of garden, playing fields, park and woodland on the outskirts of Truro in Cornwall.

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