School where Bear Grylls praised students now gets Good Ofsted rating for very first time

The inspirational John O’ Gaunt school in Hungerford received glowing praise from inspectors after four brilliant years of improvements including vastly improved GCSE results and levels of progress.

They highlighted a raft of excellent areas including school leadership, ambition and expectation, care and support, teaching across a range of subjects, the community feel and relationships, and the curriculum.

The report also highlighted the assistance of the Excalibur Academies Trust which has further boosted the brilliant momentum of improvements over the last three years.

Four years ago, TV star Bear Grylls visited JOG to praise students for their end of year awards and opened the £1.5 million Bear Grylls Inspirational Centre at the school.

Principal Alan Henderson said: “We are all absolutely thrilled with the Ofsted judgement of ‘Good’.

“The hard work and dedication of our committed and hard working team of staff has led to rapid improvements in recent years, and it’s brilliant that this effort has now been recognised by Ofsted.

“I would like to thank the parents and governors who have supported the school for many years. Hopefully, this judgement will give the whole town of Hungerford something to scream and shout about, and encourage even greater support for their local secondary school.

“The support from Excalibur Academies Trust has been crucial to the recent success at JOG, and I’m sure this relationship will go from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Ofsted inspectors said: “Since academisation, leaders have been successful in driving up standards. As a result of their actions, teaching and pupils’ outcomes are good.

“The headteacher has created a culture of higher ambition in which pupils are encouraged to reach their potential in a nurturing and inclusive way.
“Staff know their pupils extremely well and support them effectively in their personal development.”

They added that the curriculum changes resulted in pupils aiming higher and with greater numbers achieving their potential.

And they mentioned the strong relationships across year groups and close-knit community atmosphere working so well in the small school.

They said: “GCSE results show that pupils make good or better progress from their starting points in English, mathematics, science, history, geography and languages, as well as several other subjects.

“The most able pupils are benefiting from a more ambitious curriculum and teachers’ higher expectations of what they can do and achieve.”