Abbot’s Hill celebrates all round ‘excellent’ inspection report 

Tuesday 25 February 2020

As a result of January’s three-day Educational Quality and Focused Compliance Inspection, we are delighted that we have been awarded the highest possible grading in all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI); being rated the highest category of excellent for both academic achievement and the quality of personal developmentThe report captured the unique and inclusive ethos of the school and reflected the school community, made up of a dedicated team of staff and inspirational and hardworking pupils. 

Head, Mrs Kathryn Gorman, said The Independent Schools’ Inspectorate have done an excellent job of summing up our school. They have understood our simple philosophy; that happy pupils learn and grow with confidence. We know that our pupils are celebrated as individuals and therefore develop into wonderful young adults ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of life. 

People often talk about how a school “feels”. The comments below will give you a good insight into what it feels like to be a student at Abbot’s Hill. This is a wonderful place to learn and grow.” 

Packed with positive reviews across personal development and academic achievement, we invite you to view the entire report here.

The key elements which were inspected were: 

Personal Development 

We pride ourselves on our pastoral care and ensuring that the girls who come here will leave as confident, compassionate and creative young women. ISI recognised this in their report, giving Abbot’s Hill the highest possible rating of excellent, commending the school on the “strong commitment to teaching and learning and the holistic approach it takes to each individual”. 

Girls’ understanding of themselves and their peers is a key theme throughout the report, highlighting that “pupils display a sensitive understanding of each other and so are able to work effectively together to solve problems and achieve common goals”. 

Pupils’ positive attitudes are encouraged and celebrated. We are delighted that the dedication and self-awareness of our pupils has been recognised by ISI, who noted that “pupils are responsible, confident and have a highly developed sense of self where, through their authentic personal understanding and contemplative nature, they display self-confidence without arrogance”. 

From our youngest children to our GCSE students, all of our pupils are encouraged to aim high and to fulfil their potential. They are stretched and supported at each stage of their journey, and this is one of the reasons that Abbot’s Hill girls leave the school as confident, grounded and passionate young women. 

Academic Achievement 

Academic achievement is given the highest possible rating of excellent in the report. At Abbot’s Hill, we firmly believe that our pupils achieve fantastic results time and time again because they are happy. Our GCSE results are consistently “well above the national average”, as a result of “skilled teaching which develops [pupils’] confidence to hypothesise, analyse, synthesise and engage in thinking”. 

ISI were able to see the breadth of what is on offer here at the school, highlighting that “pupils’ achievement in a wide range of curricular and co-curricular facets of school life is excellent” and “pupils’ achievements in external competitions, in gaining other scholarly distinctions, and their success in sports and the arts are outstanding” noting the range of pursuits on offer and how our pupils can take part, take risks, experiment and explore, discovering who they are and their unique talents. 

The inspectors enjoyed visiting classrooms from our youngest EYFS pupils learning through play, to hearing GCSE Art students speak eloquently about their work. They noted that “pupils have very positive attitudes to their learning” and that “pupils enjoy learning, think independently and have energy and passion in their drive for success”. 

Our girls are articulate and confident, able to engage in thoughtful discussions and demonstrate sophisticated study and research skills. We believe these characteristics are the reason our students achieve highly, time and time again. 


Our co-educational Day Nursery and Pre-School setting also received the highest grading in all areas of the dedicated EYFS framework. The quality of education and the personal development of children were rated extremely highly, with the inspectors commenting that “high quality resources, a challenging investigative curriculum and adults who show a thoughtful understanding of children’s development needs, enable children to demonstrate the characteristics of effective learning, constructive behaviour and positive relationships”. 

Focused Compliance Inspection 

Abbot’s Hill was fully compliant with all areas inspected by ISI. 

Read the highlights from the ISI report here.

Read the full ISI report from January 2020 here.