Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School

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About Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School

Name Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Ed Goodall
Address West Street, Marlow, SL7 2BR
Phone Number 01628816500
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1165
Local Authority Buckinghamshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The school's mission is to 'inspire, empower and shape the future'.

Pupils and staff understand that this only happens by focusing as much on personal development as on academic results. The highly ambitious curriculum is designed so that pupils from Year 7 onwards study each subject broadly and deeply. Thanks to consistently high-quality teaching, pupils achieve exceptionally well, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The impressive extra-curricular programme also allows pupils to enrich their learning outside the classroom but also to develop and discover interests and talents.

The school is a vibrant and generous commu...nity, where pupils display excellent behaviour and manners. Pupils' very positive attitudes to learning can be seen in classrooms and in their independent and group activities.

They are very respectful and highly supportive of each other, regardless of any differences. Neither staff nor pupils tolerate bullying and so it is extremely rare. Any issues are reported to staff and addressed.

Parents, staff and pupils appreciate the school's traditions, ethos and inclusivity. Staff value each pupil in their own right, and pupils feel safe and happy here. As one student said, 'It is a school where you can be who you want to be.'

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

The curriculum is very thoughtfully and ambitiously sequenced. Pupils gain excellent results. However, the curriculum is far more than examination preparation.

Pupils enjoy placing their learning in a bigger picture. For example, pupils spoke of discovering new styles and instruments in music and valuing language-learning. Others enjoyed discussing abstract mathematical theory.

One sixth-form student reflected on being inspired by 'walking in the footsteps of poets' while on a trip to Venice.

Teachers understand that pupils arrive at the school with a rich range of prior experiences. Staff take great care to help all new pupils settle to learning and school life quickly.

Consequently, pupils become resilient and skilled learners, regardless of their starting points. Reading for pleasure is woven into the school's culture, and pupils routinely explore a range of texts linked to their subjects. If pupils need help with this, they receive appropriate and effective support.

The curriculum delivery is extremely strong across all subjects. Teachers explain new content and concepts skilfully and clearly. They regularly clarify understanding and address any misconceptions directly.

Teachers carefully select materials and tasks so that pupils practise applying what they have learned to increasingly complex problems. Pupils relish the feelings of confidence and independence this brings. They are strikingly eloquent and reflective about their learning.

They are very proud of their achievements and continuously want to improve. Consequently, they are very responsive to feedback. For pupils with SEND, staff identify their needs swiftly and precisely.

Teachers target adaptations and ensure that these pupils learn successfully and happily alongside their peers.

The school's ethos is positive and joyful. Pupils and staff nurture warm and kind relationships, based on mutual respect.

Pupils know that their opinions matter, and they feel listened to. There is strong pastoral support available to pupils, should they need it. Pupils have a deep pride in the school's traditions.

For example, sixth-form students are extremely mindful of their potential legacy. Consequently, they are excellent role models and take seriously their custodianship of the school's culture for younger year groups.

The school's personal development and careers programmes are both excellent.

They are carefully organised from Years 7 to 13, and staff put in place thoughtful adjustments for individuals, where necessary, so that all pupils benefit. Pupils learn how to navigate the modern world safely, including online. They enjoy exploring social issues and discuss them maturely and sensitively.

The careers programme opens their minds to a raft of possibilities for when they leave, through regular exposure to varied partners from the world of work, education and training. To help pupils develop confidence and character in practice, they participate in enrichment experiences ranging from sports and performing arts to interest groups, such as 'Fem-Soc'. There is also a very popular Duke of Edinburgh's Award programme.

Many of these activities come from 'pupil voice' activities and are led by sixth-form students.

The school values highly its 'Borlasian traditions' but also understands the importance of providing a modern and relevant education. Governors fully support these priorities.

They also discharge their statutory responsibilities diligently. Staff feel respected and know that workload and well-being are taken seriously. They particularly appreciate the school's collaborative approaches.

Parents are hugely supportive of the school's rounded education approach. They feel it means their children flourish and are exceptionally well prepared for the future.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

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