Outstanding! ‘Extraordinary’ York school gets top marks from Ofsted

York’s biggest school has been rated outstanding for the first time in its history.

Eleven inspectors from Ofsted spent three days at Huntington School before giving it the top rating on Thursday (November 30).

They were especially impressed by the school’s national research school status which has had “an extraordinary impact on teachers’ understanding of how to improve their practice”.

They wrote in the report that “the school’s approach to teachers’ professional development is exceptional”.

Wonderful young people

Students are flying! Photograph: Huntington School

Huntington chair of governors Alison Bayliss said: “The Outstanding judgement is down to the hard work of the staff at Huntington.

“It recognises their expertise and their commitment to providing the best education and care possible for our students.

“I am especially pleased for our students. They are wonderful young people who value education and work hard.

“Ultimately the school belongs to them and the fact they are getting such a great education is a huge cause for celebration.”

Ten years of work

Head teacher of Huntington School John Tomsett

Headteacher John Tomsett said the Ofsted verdict came on the back of “ten years of relentless hard work by the staff and students”.

“Truly great schools don’t just suddenly exist. You grow great teachers first, who, in turn, grow a truly great school,” Mr Tomsett said.

“The combination of our teachers’ wisdom and effort, along with their evidence-based teaching, within a community which has a compassionate ethos, has resulted in our students making better than expected progress at GCSE and A level, year-in, year-out.”

Mr Tomsett said the research school status had enabled teachers to learn from the best researchers in the world, adding:

What is equally important is the ethos of the school. Our staff and students embody our school’s values of Respect, Honesty and Kindness.

A sense of humanity runs through our school like the words in a stick of rock.

Every single member of our school community deserves thanks for what they have contributed to making this an Outstanding school. Our students are remarkable young people.

What Ofsted said

Some of Huntington’s star performing A level students this summer

The headteacher and senior leaders have established an impressive culture of high aspirations. Teachers and pupils share a steely determination to succeed

School leaders and staff have a strong moral purpose. They are ambitious for their pupils and put their needs above all else

Pupils really enjoy coming to school and are very proud to speak about the school’s many strengths

Pupils make strong progress in English and mathematics, often better than pupils nationally, and this has been consistently positive since the previous inspection

The sixth form provides an outstanding education

Many pupils have developed a love of reading. The library is a hub of activity at break times and lunchtimes

Behaviour in lessons and around school is excellent

Governance of the school is highly effective. Governors are deeply committed, appropriately experienced and suitably tenacious in their work

Behaviour in lessons and around school is excellent. Pupils are friendly and polite to each other and to adults