A message from Principal, Mr Wright, about our recent Ofsted report:
Our latest school inspection report was released in November 2017.
The inspectors have picked out a number of strengths of the school. Ofsted says that students’ results are improving, that teaching is strong in numerous subjects, particularly English, Music and vocational subjects, and that the support we give to students with special educational needs is strong.
The report acknowledges the hard work of parents, students and staff in relation to student outcomes in 2017. Ofsted said: “2017 exam results are in line with the national average across a broad range of subjects, including high outcomes in compulsory examination subjects, business, computing and sport.” Our score for Progress 8 is positive, showing that our students make more progress than that expected of them, and is above local authority and national figures. OBA’s students also achieved the new, harder Grade 5 in Mathematics and English at a rate higher than the local authority average. The inspection report also acknowledges the strength of pupil outcomes in the Sixth Form in 2016 and states that 2017 results indicate that outcomes in the sixth form “remain strong”.
I am really pleased that Ofsted rated personal development, behaviour and welfare as Good, and I am delighted that Ofsted agrees that our students behave well, and are safe and well cared for in the school. Our students’ good attendance and behaviour is also highlighted. We have worked very hard as a school to set the standards very high for our students, and this includes uniform, attendance, punctuality, courtesy and behaviour and I am glad that inspectors saw the positives in this. I know these are your top priority and something that the whole staff here takes very seriously.
Overall, Ofsted have concluded that we are in the Requires Improvement category. This is due to the variability in the school both within and between departments that means as present outcomes in some subjects are not as strong as they are in many areas. Our challenge is to work together to make sure that we achieve greater consistency in teaching and learning and pupil outcomes. What is very pleasing is that Ofsted has also said that our academy is well-placed to achieve these improvements, and I have no doubt that we will do so. The full report can be read in the attachment below. The many, many positives about the school are highlighted in the report.
Other quotes that demonstrate how the report is positive about so many aspects of the school where it says:
- “Leaders ensure that pupils are safe and well cared for in school. Pupils’ attendance and conduct is usually good.”
- “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good, and almost all pupils speak positively about their school.”
- “Teaching is routinely strong in a range of areas including English, music, dance and vocational option subjects.”
- The stronger leaders, such as those in English, dance and music monitor teaching and outcomes effectively and adjust where necessary
- “Pupils benefit from the English, maths and Science courses and the academic and vocational options they follow.”
- “Pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are well supported. Most attend school regularly and make good progress.”
- “Pupils’ outcomes” are “improving.”
- “The recently appointed Principal and the school’s governing board have an accurate understanding of the priorities which reflect the developmental needs of the school and their actions are beginning to improve some of these areas.”
- “The curriculum for developing pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural knowledge and appreciation of fundamental British Values is effective
- “School leaders provide a wide range of extra-curricular options, with more than 200 activities taking place most weeks and three-quarters of the pupils at the school participating in them. Leaders are investigating the barriers that prevent others from joining in, so that they can act to support all pupils to benefit from this rich and varied extra-curricular offer.”
- “The proportion of pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, who progress to further education, employment or training is well above the national average.”
In terms of what we need to do to progress, the report is also clear that the school’s leaders, including our governors who it describes as experienced and expert, have a good understanding of the areas that need to improve. Indeed an action plan to address these has already been put in place, and Ofsted says that these actions are already having a positive effect. I have attached to this letter an overview of this action plan which was drawn up in September and does not need to change as a result of our inspection. We know our school, and what we need to do to improve.
For instance, we have appointed a new Teaching and Learning Leader who will be key in the reduction in the variability in the school. We will also make good use of the strong network of support provided by Ormiston Academies Trust, and are working with the local Teaching School Alliances. My own background and expertise is in school improvement, as I previously headed a local Teaching School Alliance.
Most parents told Ofsted you were pleased with how the school is led, and we remain a popular school, and are over-subscribed for next September’s Year 7 intake.
Overall I see many positives of our academy, and much that we can build on. We are already heading in the right direction; our staff and I will continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that we are successful in delivering the highest quality of education to your children. Please find a full copy of the report below.