Steyning Grammar School earns top SIAMs rating for exemplary Christian vision and student support

Posted: 5th June 2024

Steyning Grammar School (SGS), which is part of the high-achieving Bohunt Education Trust, has been awarded a Judgement 1 in its latest Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) report, with inspectors praising the school for being “welcoming”, “inclusive” and “giving equal care” to all.


The inspection, which took place on 15 and 16 May 2024, is the first for the school under the new framework which came into force in September 2023. It evaluated how effective the school is in its distinctive Christian vision, which for SGS is “to live life in all its fullness and flourish as God intended (John 10:10).”


Assessing how this vision is established and promoted by leadership at all levels, inspectors found that “students and adults flourish because the Christian vision is at the very core of the school”. The report also commends the school’s vision for being a living reality, with “senior leaders fully committed to ensuring it is lived out daily.”


Inspectors also found that the “wellbeing of all students is of paramount importance to the school”. As such, the Chaplaincy Team, led by the School Chaplain, plays a central role in this, providing “spiritual nourishment”. The report notes that students feel there is always someone they can talk to and Sixth Form students benefit from a bespoke Wellbeing Hub and Mental Health provision. Similarly, parents testify to the outstanding pastoral care afforded to the most vulnerable students “going way beyond” expectations.


Other key highlights from the report include:


  • Students are “encouraged, supported and helped to be the best they can be”.
  • The boarding provision has a highly positive effect upon the ethos and character of the school. Students who board are “exceptionally well cared for pastorally and spiritually”. Within the boarding house there is a truly inclusive and nurturing atmosphere.
  • The curriculum has been carefully and thoughtfully designed. It allows students to
  • explore and debate questions of meaning, to make connections across the subjects they learn and to develop their spirituality. The character programme is an “anchor point” in the life of the school.
  • Partnership working is “highly effective”, with a mutually beneficial partnership with the local churches, and the diocese. This has resulted in the development of a chaplaincy which understands the needs of students and provides strong pastoral care.
  • Inspectors also praised the partnership with Bohunt Education Trust which is “valued” as it provides very good support.
  • The religious education (RE) curriculum is extremely well-planned and thought-through, with moral and philosophical questions as its backbone. The curriculum has a clear-cut impact on the way students think and live their lives.


In addition to praising the partnerships the school has, inspectors also referenced the impact of the school’s work with the local governing body, Bohunt and the local diocese for monitoring and evaluating the work of the school effectively to maintain its Christian character. As such, inspectors noted that the “trust’s vision of enjoy, respect and achieve has total synergy with that of the school’s vision”, continuing to strengthen the provision on offer to ensure every pupil can thrive.


Founded as a Church of England School in 1614 by Alderman Thomas Holland, the school has over 400 years of Christian heritage which continues to shape the school’s vision today.


Adam Whitehead, Headteacher of SGS said:


“This report captures the unique character of our school and we are grateful for the tremendous efforts of everyone across our school community to ensure we all flourish in the most holistic sense of the word.


“We welcome external validation as part of our ongoing journey of improvement and review the impact of the strategic direction of the school. We are particularly proud that the report recognises the kindness and compassion of our ‘SGS family’, and that our students are polite, respectful, tolerant and helpful.” Our Christian vision and heritage continue to guide our work and serve as a spiritual anchor.


Neil Strowger, Leader of Bohunt Education Trust said:


“I am delighted with this report, and to have supported Steyning Grammar School in upholding its distinctive vision and ethos that enables all students to flourish. We are committed to providing the resources and guidance to ensure the school maintains its strong Christian character, while delivering an outstanding education.”

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