One of the top reasons people move home is for their children to get a better education. Selecting the right school for your child is challenging, so we have compiled a list of the best schools for parents considering moving to Welwyn Garden City.
Our list will be based on the Ofsted ratings of each school with Welwyn Garden City in their address in alphabetical order.
Ofsted Ratings Explained
Ofsted ratings are gathered from inspections of schools. Schools tend to know when they are due an inspection, but they have no forewarning so inspectors will get a true gauge of how good a school is in a variety of factors.
Once the inspections are done they will receive one of four grades:
- Requires improvement
Read more: Is Welwyn Garden City a Nice Place to Live?
Schools deemed ‘outstanding’ in overall effectiveness within Ofsted reports typically avoid routine inspections, allowing them to go up to a decade without reevaluation by the education watchdog. Nevertheless, if there is evidence of a decline in performance or the presence of risks, including potential safeguarding concerns, a comprehensive inspection may be initiated. In Welwyn Garden City there are currently four Outstanding schools:
Applecroft School reflects a diverse mix of social backgrounds with predominantly White British pupils. Pupils with learning difficulties and/or disabilities slightly exceed the national average, primarily with specific learning difficulties.
The Early Years Foundation Stage offers Nursery and two Reception classes, supplemented by a new on-site children’s centre. Notably, the school has garnered numerous national awards, including Investors in People and Arts Gold.
Knightsfield School is a specialist school for the deaf. Their auditory-oral approach caters to deaf students in Years 5 to 13, some with additional needs. With a commitment to safeguarding and a supportive atmosphere, Knightsfield fosters a happy, successful environment.
High expectations drive academic achievement and independence, tailored to individual needs. Pupil behaviour has been noted to be exemplary, and the school has a focus on communication skills and elevated GCSE achievements, especially in English, maths, religious studies, and art.
Lakeside School is a special school for children with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties and autism. Leaders prioritise communication and interaction in Lakeside’s curriculum, fostering a rich learning environment.
The well-thought-out curriculum is tailored to each pupil’s needs, emphasising consolidation and repetition of learning. Individual targets are seamlessly integrated into all activities, with regular reviews ensuring relevance. It has been noted that teachers, deeply familiar with pupils, make skilful adjustments to plans, focusing on motivating active participation. Phonics, sensory play, and social skills development contribute to pupils’ exceptional engagement and achievement. Lakeside instils life skills, independence, and self-awareness, preparing pupils for their future beyond school.
Welwyn St Mary’s C of E School
Governors, staff, parents, and pupils collaboratively shaped the school’s visionary motto, ‘Learning Together for Life,’ reflecting a community deeply passionate about education.
Teaching consistently ranges from good to outstanding, with enthusiastic teachers delivering engaging lessons. Rigorous monitoring ensures high-quality teaching, supported by tailored professional development. Pupils achieve well above national standards in English and mathematics, rapidly progressing into fluent readers.
The school fosters a happy, harmonious, and secure community, promoting outstanding spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development.
In Welwyn Graden City there are 17 schools with a Good rating from Ofsted. Providers rated as ‘Good’ in Ofsted reports typically undergo inspection within a five-year timeframe following the release of their previous inspection report. While these inspections generally take the form of a short evaluation, there is the possibility of a comprehensive inspection if indications arise that such an approach is warranted. This may be the case, for instance, if there are indications of a decline in the provider’s overall performance.
Commonswood Primary & Nursery School provides students with an environment to personally develop with a wide variety of educational and extra-curricular activities. It has been graded as Good by Ofsted with some improvements required to achieve Outstanding status.
Harwood Hill School
Harwood Hill Junior Mixed Infant and Nursery School is a Good school according to Ofsted grading. At the school, they prioritise early reading among pupils as well and assist children with SEND abilities to ensure they are making the most out of the curriculum.
Holwell Primary School has a clear, ambitious curriculum to support the development of the pupils to prepare them for secondary school. They develop a standard of learning that encourages the students to improve in areas of personal, social and health.
The leaders at Homerswood Primary School have endeavoured to improve the learning of students after a period of extended absence for some staff members. At the school, pupils find learning to be fun and engaging which helps them settle quickly into the environment.
Monks Walk School
Monks Walk School has meticulously crafted an ambitious curriculum, delineating the knowledge and skills students should attain at specific milestones. Subject specialists have dissected this knowledge into manageable steps, guiding a carefully orchestrated sequence in curriculum planning and delivery.
Training equips teachers to effectively deliver the curriculum, with clear presentations and modelled examples aiding student comprehension. Thoughtful questioning gauges understanding, ensuring students confidently engage with learning activities.
Sixth-form students, exemplifying high knowledge and articulation, serve as role models, contributing to the school’s academic culture.
Oaklands Primary School have effectively addressed previous improvement areas, ensuring an ambitious curriculum from Reception onward. Subjects boast well-planned guides aiding teacher instruction, with regular assessments of pupil recall.
Pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their learning, showing a mature understanding of societal issues, and individual liberty, and actively participating in sports and leadership roles.
Our Lady Catholic School
Leaders have crafted a clear and ambitious curriculum, outlining what pupils should learn and when enabling effective planning for building on prior knowledge. Teachers generally present information clearly, but occasional gaps in subject knowledge hinder error detection, as not all leaders receive recent subject training.
In early years, a priority on phonics, reading, and early math fosters swift progression, evident in children’s readiness for Year 1.
Pupils engage in debates on gender stereotyping, environmental issues, and healthy relationships, participating enthusiastically in physical activities and responsibly managing playtime responsibilities.
Panshanger School carefully designs a well-structured reading curriculum, fostering rapid and secure phonics development from early years. Staff provide precise support for reading fluency, benefiting writing ideas from high-quality texts.
Pupils’ respectful behaviour, positive attitudes, and focus on mental well-being have been noted to contribute to enjoyable, uninterrupted learning. The staff’s high regard for leaders creates a positive school community.
At Peartree Primary School the teaching quality is now deemed good, fostering pupils’ good progress from low starting points. Enthusiastic pupil engagement and improved attendance contribute to a positive learning environment.
The curriculum effectively promotes pupils’ development, particularly in the early years. However, challenges include insufficient difficulty for the most able pupils and limited development of punctuation and grammar skills. Science investigations and skills checking by some subject leaders are areas for improvement.
At Springmead Primary School teachers demonstrate good subject knowledge, using careful questioning to assess understanding. However, post-lesson knowledge checks sometimes fall short, leading to gaps in pupils’ retention.
Reading holds a high priority, with effective phonics training and a focus on expanding vocabulary through reading positively impacting writing. Identified pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive swift support, but those in catch-up reading programs face challenges impacting their overall achievement. In addition to the regular curriculum life skills education introduces practical concepts, such as finances, preparing pupils for adulthood.
St John’s C of E School
St John’s C of E Primary School allows pupils to consistently achieve good progress due to effective teaching, with Nursery and Reception children also making commendable strides. Teachers provide appropriately challenging work for all abilities, fostering an enjoyable learning environment.
Pupils express a positive attitude towards school, citing their enjoyment, keenness to succeed, and exemplary behaviour. They feel safe, reporting rare incidents of bullying, confident that staff would swiftly address any issues. The headteacher exhibits excellent leadership, collaborating effectively with others for overall pupil progress.
St John’s Co of E School, Lemsford
The second St John’s in Welwyn is in Lemsford village. This primary school have strategically planned a cohesive curriculum across all subjects from Reception to Year 6.
Teachers generally possess secure subject knowledge, effectively explaining tasks and ensuring pupils understand and apply themselves. Immediate addressing of misconceptions during lessons is common, resulting in strong retention and connections across most subjects. However, in some areas, skills and deep learning development are not maximised, lacking connections to past learning or challenging curriculum content. The early years program is strong, fostering language development, independence, and social skills through engaging activities.
At Stansborough School leaders have revamped the curriculum, prioritising academic rigour evident in nearly all pupils embracing the English Baccalaureate subjects. This broad and balanced curriculum, extending to the sixth form, caters to diverse talents and interests, fostering a consortium arrangement for a variety of courses.
A well-planned curriculum across many subjects ensures progressive knowledge building, as seen in mathematics where algebra basics precede complex applications. Pupils with special educational needs have tailored support recorded in plans, contributing to overall high achievement, particularly in the bespoke sixth-form programs.
Tewin Cooper C of E School
Embracing the motto “small school, big dreams,” Tewin Cowper prioritises a sense of community and individual achievement. Despite expansions, the school maintains a family-like atmosphere, fostering a calm and purposeful learning environment.
Pupils feel well-known and cared for, emphasising a strong support network. Leaders and staff cultivate open partnerships with parents, who commend the school’s friendly atmosphere and approachable teachers. Parents and pupils alike highly recommend Tewin Cowper, noting their children’s happiness, enjoyment of school, and positive progress.
The Holy Family Catholic School
In recent years The Holy Family Catholic School has experienced phased refurbishments, including trim trails and a story-telling circle, to help enhance the learning environment.
Reading stands out as a strength, with above-average attainment. A new approach to reading comprehension, involving carefully chosen texts and author visits, promotes a positive reading culture. Despite challenges in teacher retention and recruitment, the school maintains strong teaching quality, learning, and assessment, earning overwhelming support from parents who praise staff for their friendliness and professionalism.
The curriculum at Waterside Academy emphasises essential knowledge for continuous learning, backed by resources and training for teachers.
Reading takes precedence, with a consistent phonics approach ensuring early fluency. Most subjects facilitate effective knowledge retention, but occasional lapses in checking pupils’ understanding lead to persistent mistakes. The early years exhibit high expectations, fostering attentive and engaged children. Leaders prioritise special educational needs, guiding teachers in tailored support. Pupils collaborate well, demonstrating perseverance and independence.
There are currently four schools in Welwyn Garden City considered to Require Improvement. For schools that require improvement, they will receive a full inspection from Ofsted within 12 to 30 months.
In the last Ofsted visit in 2022, Creswick School has been noted to be making improvements for pupils and teachers for better educational outcomes. A range of extra-curricular activities are available to pupils of the school to assist in improving education for students.
Ridgeway Academy is a newly opened school in Welwyn Garden City with its first Ofsted inspection in January 2023. It has been noted in the report to be a safe place for boys and girls with counselling and mental health support available for students.
Swallow Dell School
- Age: Primary, 2-11
- Address: Blackthorn Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 3JP
- Website: https://www.swallowdell.herts.sch.uk/
Following an inspection in March 2023, Swallow Dell Primary School dropped from Good to Requires Improvement. The Ofsted reports that learning could be better designed but praised the community feeling of the school.
Templewood Primary School provides students with an excellent opportunity for creativity with music, art and theatre prominent in their curriculum. However, reading and development in language have been criticised in the most recent Ofsted report.
There is currently only one school in Welwyn Garden City considered by Ofsted to be Inadequate. It should be noted that schools granted an inadequate rating are given a full inspection within 15 months of when they were given an inadequate rating.
- Age: Primary, 3-11 years old
- Address: Watchlytes, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 2AZ
- Website: https://watchlytesprimary.org/
Watchlytes School is a primary school for both boys and girls. The inadequate rating was given in September 2021, so another full inspection will be due soon.
Moving to Welwyn Garden City for Your Child’s Education
Welwyn Garden City has a wide array of Key Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 opportunities for children to get an excellent education. If you are considering a move to the area for this reason Brycelands Removals can help provide a smooth and stress-free move, which can be difficult when moving with a family.
Speak to our team today about your move to Welwyn Garden City.