Skip to main content

Exeter Cathedral School: ‘Excellent’ in all areas says Recent School Inspection

Exeter Cathedral School is delighted to formally share its glowing inspection result following an Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) Inspection in May. Inspectors praised the School’s overall educational quality and awarded it ‘Excellent’ in all areas.

The ISI Inspection report found that ECS was ‘Excellent’ when considering the quality of its pupils’ academic achievements and personal development. ‘Excellent’ is the highest possible grade awarded to independent schools by the Independent School Inspectorate and ECS is thrilled to be formally recognised as ‘Excellent’ in all inspection areas.

The ISI Inspection viewed the independent day and boarding school in the heart of Exeter as ‘highly successful in its aim to develop children as independent learners’. Key findings of the ISI Inspection report praised ECS pupils for their excellent attitudes towards learning, academic and non-academic achievements, their ability to demonstrate knowledge and skills in multiple areas of learning and the way in which they confidently communicate.

The report went on to commend the excellent level of pupils’ development demonstrated in their class work and interpersonal conduct. The report noted that pupils share a clear sense of respect for themselves, others and towards their community; they understand the importance of school values and good habits, demonstrating how to keep themselves safe, fit and healthy (mentally and physically).

Overall, pupils were described as ‘happy, confident, and self-aware of their achievements.’ Furthermore, it was noted that pupils are ‘effective communicators, with outstanding oracy, literacy and listening skills.’

Some of the School’s unique strengths were also noted by inspectors, from the ‘confidence and resilience’ of the choristers as they engage in their choral duties, to the various positions of responsibility held by pupils (school council, librarians, prefects, sports captains, etc.). All fostering a sense of pride and commitment in the School community.

Mr James Featherstone, Headmaster since 2016, commented, ‘To have achieved the highest possible grade in our recent inspection is an outstanding result. We are a busy and happy place, and it is a source of real pride for all of us that the team of inspectors came and saw the School during a normal week and found us to be ‘excellent’ across the board. Our pupils are sparky, engaged and kind, and my team of staff is extremely hard-working and dedicated: this unbeatable inspection outcome is the result of that winning combination. The School has enjoyed a period of considerable positive change in recent years, and what we offer at ECS – and the way in which we offer it – is indeed ‘excellent’. It is great to have this officially recognised by the Department for Education.’

ECS pupils were equally keen to share views of the Inspection. Rowen, aged 12, said, ‘I’m really pleased as this is a brilliant school and it’s great news to have an excellent inspection response.’

This report is a significant achievement for ECS and recognises the hard work and commitment of its staff and pupils and is proof of the academic and pastoral progress that the School has made in the last few years.

Exeter Cathedral School was founded in 1179 as a boys’ choir school. Non-chorister pupils were admitted in the 1960s and it has been fully co-educational since 1994. To this day, ECS is a flourishing day and boarding school with over 250 pupils aged 3 to 13.

For additional information and photos, please contact:

Timothy Hamilton, Director of Marketing and Communications

Exeter Cathedral School, Palace Gate, Exeter EX1 1HX

A full copy of the Inspection Report is available via our website: