It’s official – Shrewsbury High School GDST is excellent in all areas!

Following our inspection in November, the ISI has recognised Shrewsbury High School GDST as “excellent in all areas”, the highest rating obtainable.   The ISI report key findings are that the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements, and the quality of pupils’ personal development are excellent.

In 2019 Shrewsbury High made public a promise to deliver excellence consistently and reliably for all our pupils – it is a promise that remains at the heart of our aims and values.   It is a promise that has driven us forward, carried us through the challenges of the pandemic and informed our decision making as we took bold decisions about the future of the school and reaffirmed our commitment to being an all girl all through school in the heart of Shrewsbury.

We hold this promise of delivering excellence very dear and so we were absolutely delighted when the Independent School’s expectorate (ISI) – having intensely scrutinised and observed our school at every level and in every aspect of the education we provide from Reception (Early Years) to Year 13 (Sixth Form) – concluded emphatically that we deliver on that promise.

Inspection can be a nerve-wracking experience for all concerned primarily because you want the inspectors to truly see the school, and to understand what you are all about.   It was particularly gratifying that the first thing all inspectors agreed upon when they gave their verbal feedback was that they had been immediately struck by the warm welcome of the SHS community and made to feel part of our exceptional family.  As the report shows they truly did see the school and understood all that we aim to achieve for our students.

At Shrewsbury High School we are committed to inspiring and empowering our students. We want each and every pupil to thoroughly enjoy the adventure of school and as they discover all about the subjects, the world, and most importantly themself, they grow into  young people of character, confident in who they are and what they have to offer, compassionate, kind and determined to be courageous, not perfect. This report highlights just how successful we have been in our mission and in delivering our aims.

Not only does it show that our students are flourishing academically, confident to take risks with their learning, it also testifies to what resilient, confident and collaborative young women they are.

We are dedicated to offering a broad and highly personalised curriculum and we want to foster an environment where students can immerse themselves fully in school life and excel in areas of particular strength.   Inspectors observed that our pupils understand they are important determinants of their own success and wellbeing and that they are intent on making the most of their time at school.

While many things from the report stand out, we are particularly proud that our pupils demonstrate a deep respect and great empathy for one another and pride in their inclusive community.  I was delighted to see the many comments relating to the outstanding development of pupils social and collaborative skills through all aspects of our school life and the recognition that this is achieved through our commitment to inculcating  SHS core values of moral integrity, respect for self and others, social responsibility and ambition.

We were thrilled to see that the excellent quality of teaching and learning was recognised with numerous comments about high levels of engagement facilitated by excellent relationships between pupils and staff with pupils able to achieve excellent outcomes across the board which is superb.      Inspectors comments that…

Excellent progress is achieved by pupils as a result of their positive attitudes to learning, supported by teachers’ strong subject knowledge, careful planning and highly engaging teaching

It meant a great deal to us to receive such positive results from our pupil, parent and staff questionnaires.   An exceptionally high level of satisfaction in all areas and among the highest scores the reporting inspector had seen in any school. At the heart of our success lies a very productive relationship of trust and empathy between pupils, staff and parents.  A relationship sustained by careful communication and partnership and one which we will never take for granted.     Our achievement is down to the dedication and hard work of our whole staff body, the courage and brilliance of our pupils and the incredible support and loyalty our parents.   We are so proud of the whole school community.

So what next?

Of course one does not rest on one’s laurels and a crucial aspect of inspection is to make the most of independent and expert scrutiny to help you spot any areas that require further improvement or renewed focus.

We welcome the recommendation to ensure that all teaching is consistently engaging and that all feedback contains clear advice on how to improve work.  Since we moved to a blended approach with both digital and more traditional ways of working we recognise we need to ensure our feedback is consistent and useful across both formats and crucially that our students and their parents know where to find feedback and how to make use of it.

Moreover, to remain excellent one must be committed to continuous improvement and listening to feedback.  Nothing less than the best will do for our students so we must ensure we remain focused on the needs of the individual pupils who join us and the unique set of circumstances each new academic year brings.  Certainly, if the last few years have taught us anything it is that Shrewsbury High is very adaptable and whatever the circumstances, we do not compromise on pupil experience.

For now however I think it’s important that as a community we take a moment to feel proud of all that we have achieved and celebrate the successes of our pupils and staff.    It is hugely gratifying to have the rubber stamp of high approval and to know that the most intense scrutiny found nothing but excellence.*  Thank you to our brilliant students and the extraordinary staff at Shrewsbury High School whose commitment to delivering excellence for all is second to none.  Well done SHS and best wishes for an exciting year ahead.

Jo Sharrock


* ISI reports play a key role in helping prospective parents choose the right school for their child.  It should be part of every parents toolkit as they assess a school’s suitability and quality.  The ISI inspection process is rigorous and scrutinises every aspect of school life from Safeguarding, to personal development and the quality of teaching and learning.

To read the full ISI Inspection Report, visit:Inspection Report

To find more tips for choosing the right school visit:  How to make the most of school open days.