Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy contributes to Ofsted’s Good Practice Project
Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy was selected by Ofsted to take part in a project which will give national recognition to some of the great work done in so many different areas across the school. The particular focus of the report was on the exceptional outcomes achieved by those disadvantaged students who receive Pupil Premium funding. Ofsted’s aim was to highlight the outstanding work that takes place in OBA to support these students and share some of the many examples of best practice with other schools across the country.
The two Ofsted inspectors who joined us had a very tightly-packed schedule to follow. This allowed them to observe teaching and speak to as many staff and students as possible about the huge range of strategies we have put into action and the impact of our allocation of Pupil Premium funds.
Ofsted recognised that “The specialisms of English and Applied Learning permeate the curriculum and the academy provides an innovative learning environment that excites, stimulates and challenges students.”
Ofsted identified many areas of excellence but singled out our “exceptional” Transition Programme and the ‘Philosophy 4 Children’ enquiry-based classroom approach to learning as the main case studies to be shared with schools nationally.
Praising OBA’s Transition Programme, Ofsted commented that “Most secondary schools have a transition programme. However, what is different at OBA is the importance attached to the programme, with the consequent time and investment in ensuring that it is successful.” Inspectors went on to say that as a result, there has been “a shift from transition being on the periphery of the work of the academy, to it being seen as a key strategy for raising achievement.”
Other key findings on OBA’s Transition Programme that were noted by Ofsted highlighted the facts that:
- “The primary pupils gain from specialist teaching, in areas of the curriculum such as PE, music, cookery, science, and teachers value the sharing of good practice.”
- “OBA gains a greater understanding of the needs of the pupils who will transfer to them and are able to be pro-active, for example by planning interventions for as soon as students enter Year 7.”
- “One of the strategies that stood out was the strong working relationship between the academy and the primary school and the commitment both schools give to bridging the gap between primary and secondary education.”
- “Parents are more confident and feel familiar with the academy before their children transfer.”
Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy’s ‘Philosophy 4 Children’ Programme, which permeates teaching and is founded in discussion and deep questioning, was another key area which was identified as best practice by the Ofsted team. After observing some P4C driven lessons, Ofsted noted they were “impressive, as the responses of students showed interest, maturity and a willingness to engage with difficult and complex moral and social issues.”
Inspectors also added that the ‘Philosophy 4 Children’ Programme ensured that:
- “Students are confident speakers and are developing leadership skills.”
- “Teachers asked probing questions.”
- “The sessions were good examples of the risks teachers take in OBA in order to promote worthwhile learning.”
- “The lessons provided very challenging and thought-provoking material for students (and observer) alike.”