The Acorn School in Nailsworth given top marks by government inspector

A UNIQUE and innovative approach to education has earned The Acorn School in Nailsworth a glowing report from Ofsted.

The school, which shuns state exams such as GCSEs and A-levels in favour of its own curriculum, provides an ‘outstanding quality of education’ according to the inspector Steffi Penny, who visited last month.

"The curriculum, teaching and achievement of students are now outstanding, having been judged good at the last inspection," she reported.

"Students’ behaviour is exemplary and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding."

Founded in 1991 by head teacher Graeme Whiting, the school is home to 63 pupils, who are aged between six and 19.

Students in kindergarten and lower school follow a curriculum based on the principles of Rudolph Steiner, while those in upper school are taught a course of education developed by Mr Whiting and his wife.

Mr Whiting said the teaching was rooted in ‘old fashioned values’ and combined an academic education with creative and physical activities.

Alongside the more traditional subjects of English, history and politics, the school, an independent co-educational, places huge emphasis on various arts and crafts.

There are regular trips to sites of cultural interest both in the UK and abroad, and students also get the opportunity to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, such as water-skiing, hill walking and orienteering.

In a letter to the school outlining her main findings, the Ofsted inspector said: "Staff work exceptionally hard to make your learning exciting and interesting.

"The excellent teaching ensures that, along with your exemplary attitudes to learning, you make outstanding progress."

Despite not sitting A-levels, a high proportion of the school’s students still gain entry to university after presenting the institutions with examples of their work.

Ofsted said the school could improve by ‘continuing to explore ways to ensure that students can develop and demonstrate their mathematical skills’, particularly in lower school.

Mr Whiting said: "I am delighted with the fact that we have achieved an outstanding report. It is commensurate with the amount of effort put in by the teachers, students and parents."

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