Rutlish School

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About Rutlish School

Name Rutlish School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Laura Howarth
Address Watery Lane, Merton Park, London, SW20 9AD
Phone Number 02085421212
Phase Secondary
Type Voluntary controlled school
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character None
Gender Boys
Number of Pupils 1458
Local Authority Merton
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of outstanding as a result of this initial (section 8) inspection. However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a full inspection were carried out now.

The next inspection will therefore be a full (section 5) inspection.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are extremely proud of their school. They value the support that they get from teachers and staff.

Pupils are motivated and work hard. In the majority of subjects, teaching helps pupils to understand the content being taught. Pupils achieve very well across the curriculum.

In the sixth form, nearly ...all students go on to attend university.

Pupils are happy and safe. They behave well around the school and are focused in lessons.

Leaders have very high expectations of pupils' behaviour. Incidences of bullying or racism are not tolerated. Appropriate support and sanctions are put in place swiftly if pupils' behaviour falls below these high expectations.

Leaders and governors are determined that every pupil's education should go beyond the taught curriculum. There is a range of activities that pupils can take part in, for example over 80 pupils belong to the school's Combined Cadet Force. However, some pupils in Years 7 to 11 do not take up these opportunities.

Sixth-form students participate in a regular enrichment programme. This includes a range of opportunities such as learning sign language, playing sports and discussing literature.

Pupils feel listened to.

They are encouraged to share their ideas and shape the development of the school. For example, pupils can become form representatives, join the school council and become a member of the junior leadership team.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The curriculum is broad and ambitious.

Leaders plan the curriculum so that knowledge and skills build logically over time, from Year 7 through to the sixth form. For example, pupils in Year 8 are prepared to understand complex concepts such as 'impermanence' in Buddhism because they learned the necessary foundational knowledge before. Leaders have begun to refine their curriculum in some subjects, ensuring that it continues to evolve and improve year on year, for example by taking into account prior learning in other subjects.

However, this work is at an early stage.

A strength of the curriculum is the large number of subjects that pupils study throughout their time at school, including the sixth form. Leaders have thought carefully about what subjects pupils study in all year groups.

For example, they have introduced Spanish in Years 7 to 9, alongside German and French, to increase the number of pupils choosing a modern foreign language at GCSE.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported to learn the same curriculum as their peers. Leaders work closely with a range of external experts, such as educational psychologists and speech and language therapists, to ensure that pupils get the specific support they need.

This information is then shared with teachers through clear support plans for individual pupils. Leaders identify early those pupils who cannot yet read well. They provide additional support through bespoke reading sessions to help them catch up.

Teachers have strong subject knowledge and are subject experts. They typically select activities that help pupils to learn the curriculum and that develop an appreciation of the subject. For example, in science, pupils are introduced to specific scientific techniques through carefully selected and interesting practical work.

Assessment is generally used well by teachers to identify what knowledge pupils do and do not know so that they can provide feedback. However, in a few cases, teachers do not systematically check pupils' learning. This means that, sometimes, some pupils do not get the specific help that they need to make sense of the new learning.

Behaviour around the school and in lessons is calm and focused. Pupils are respectful to each other and staff. There are clear systems and policies in place that staff use to ensure that no time in lessons is wasted with off-task behaviour.

Leaders have planned the curriculum carefully to support pupils' broader development. This introduces pupils to important aspects such as healthy relationships, the significance of consent and the importance of respect. These aspects are revisited in different years to promote pupils' age-appropriate understanding.

Alongside this taught programme, there are a number of extra-curricular opportunities that pupils can take part in, for example chess club, sporting fixtures and charity work. Leaders have recently introduced a new system to monitor pupils' take up of these opportunities and have identified that some pupils do not sustain their participation. They are in the process of addressing this.

Pupils are well prepared for their next steps when they leave the school and move on to the next phase of their education or training. For example, from Year 9 onwards, every pupil can access the support of a careers adviser. In the sixth form, students receive dedicated support when applying to university and/or apprenticeships.

Alongside this, visiting speakers from universities and companies running apprenticeship schemes encourage pupils to consider the full range of opportunities available to them.

Leaders and governors have an accurate understanding of their school. They are ambitious and have identified the right areas for development to focus on.

Staff are proud to be a member of the school. They value the support that they get from leaders. Leaders are mindful of staff's workload and have been proactive in taking steps to reduce unnecessary burdens on staff.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils feel safe and know who to report concerns to.

Leaders consider the specific safeguarding needs of pupils carefully.

There is a wide range of additional support available to pupils if they need it. For example, a school-based mentoring team provides one-to-one support for a range of pupils. Leaders also work with external agencies to secure the necessary help for pupils, if needed.

Leaders have recently introduced a new system for staff to report safeguarding concerns. They have provided the necessary staff training on how to use this system and are phasing out the old one.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few cases, aspects of the school's curriculum intent and implementation are not embedded securely and consistently.

This means that the quality of education provided is not exceptional for all pupils. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum intent and implementation are embedded securely and consistently across all subjects and that the curriculum is reviewed, refined and developed after teaching so that it improves year on year.


When we have judged outstanding, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.

This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in April 2017.

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