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Inspection report 2023

The Pilgrims’ School is proud to have been rated an ‘Excellent’ school in a recent Independent Schools Inspectorate’s (ISI) Compliance and Educational Quality Inspection.

The inspection was completed in February 2023 and Pilgrims’ achieved the highest possible rating across all areas of our provision for pupil achievement and personal development. In the Focused Compliance Inspection, Pilgrims’ met every statutory standard.

The key findings of the inspection are as follows:

  • Pupils consistently achieve a very high level of success in their work with excellent outcomes for senior school entry.
  • Pupils are highly articulate and communicate with clarity and confidence with each other and with their teachers.
  • Pupils are curious with a thirst for knowledge and understanding which they demonstrate and develop through their intelligent and perceptive questioning.
  • Pupils demonstrate excellent levels of self-confidence, resilience and perseverance so that they become confident young people inspired and prepared for the next stage of their education.

What is an ISI inspection?

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is appointed by the Department for Education to inspect association independent schools in England. The inspectors observe lessons, have discussions with pupils and examine samples of pupils’ work. They hold discussions with members of staff and with governors, observe co-curricular activities and attend form meetings and assemblies. Inspectors consider the responses of parents, staff and pupils to a pre-inspection questionnaire and examine curriculum and other documents.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about The Pilgrims’ School please contact our Registrar, Emma, to arrange a personal visit or ask any questions you may have. She can be reached via email at or call on 01962 854189.

The ISI inspection report is split into a regulatory compliance inspection and educational quality inspection. Pilgrims' is rated Excellent - the highest level - in all categories. 

Teaching and learning

“Pupils knowledge and understanding are of a very high quality for their age."

  • Levels of attainment are well above average in standardised tests in English and mathematics compared to those taking the same tests nationally.
  • Junior school pupils make excellent progress across all subjects and are well-prepared for entry to the senior section of the school. 
  • With unstinted support from teachers and leaders, almost all are successful in gaining places at the school of their choice.
  • Pupils explore far and above the subject curriculum to develop their talents and interests and not least for those who are highly accomplished singers and performers as choristers and quiristers. 

Pastoral care

"Pupils behaviour is exemplary. All pupils develop a mature level of understanding and responsibility for their own behaviour because teachers and leaders encourage and promote positive behaviour."

  • Pupils spontaneously say that their high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem are developed through the secure support provided by their teachers and pastoral leaders.
  • They are confident and assured that they can be themselves, nurtured by teachers who praise and encourage them and celebrate their achievements. 
  • Older pupils particularly enjoy 'group', a fortnightly discussion in small groups with the school nurse where they discuss anything they wish. 

Parent feedback

“Almost without exception, parents who responded to the questionnaire said the school actively promotes values of democracy, respect and tolerance of other people, and treats children fairly regardless of their sex, faith, race of needs."

  • The vast majority of parents said the school encourages children to adopt a healthy lifestyle, with a suitable balance of free time and activities during boarding time. 
  • Most parents said that boarding supports their children's personal development and academic progress. 
  • The majority of parents said the school is governed, led and managed effectively. 
  • Almost all parents agreed that the school provides a suitable range of extra-curricular clubs activities.

Early Years Foundation Stage

“EYFS and pre-prep children play happily with and around others, sharing and taking turns.”

  • Pre-prep children demonstrate increasing fluency in their reading and writing and in numeracy, developing secure understanding of addition, subtraction and multiplication.
  • Pupils in the Early Years Foundation setting (EYFS) achieve extremely well in meeting the expected learning goals well in advance of their entry to Year 1.”
  • In the pre-prep, pupils use a range of computer programmes to record their progress so that they know how to improve in their work and participate in a computer club to begin to understand coding.


“Boarders are supported to develop good relationships with fellow pupils and staff which is based on mutual trust and respect."

  • The vast majority of parents said that the school encourages children to adopt a healthy lifestyle, with a suitable balance of free time and activities during boarding time.
  • Boarders' views are actively encouraged, and their opinions and concerns are appropriately considered by staff. 


Previous reports

Copies of previous inspection reports can be downloaded by clicking the links below:

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)
Regulatory Compliance Report 2019

The full report can be read here

Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI)
Integration Inspection Report 2015

The full report can be read here

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.