28 November 2017

Dear Parents/Carers,

Section 8 ‘Short’ Inspection by Ofsted – November 2017

I am delighted to be able to share with you the outcome of our recent Ofsted inspection visit.  On the 14th of November, the school received what is known as a Section 8 inspection.  This is a short inspection used when Ofsted have no particular concerns about a school but wish to confirm that the school continues to be good.  All schools judged to be good receive a routine Section 8 inspection every three to four years.

I am very pleased to say that Ofsted have judged that the school continues to be good.

Unlike in a full inspection, Ofsted don’t comment on four separate aspects of the school.  Instead, they write a letter highlighting the school’s strengths and any areas where they feel the school can continue to improve, the full version of which you can read here.

In summary, the inspectors, both highly experienced serving headteachers, were very impressed with the school, commenting on the “universal view” that “the academy has improved since the last inspection” and that “there is now a sharper focus on ensuring that everything at the academy is done well.”  They complimented the leadership team, noting that they have “brought renewed energy to the academy.”

Inspectors noted that “the academy has built on its strengths. Pupil attainment remains high and above national averages. Pupils make good progress across a wide range of subjects.” In particular they pointed out that “most-able pupils make good progress.”

Of course, in a large and complex organisation like a school, there are always areas for improvement.  It was pleasing that Ofsted agreed with our own self-evaluation, noting that we have “acted rapidly to address the concerns in these areas.”  Many of you will be aware that in order further to reduce off-task behaviour in the classroom and to improve attendance, we have overhauled our pastoral team structure and accommodation.  Ofsted agreed with us that this is rapidly making a difference to the school commenting that “attendance has shown a year-on-year improvement” and that our students “have good attitudes to their work and are well behaved.”  Our newly formed pastoral team were complimented as a “well-trained team (whose) members work closely together”

Inspectors further praised our “commitment to sustaining a broad, inclusive curriculum, with a focus on performing arts,” noting that “ensuring that all pupils understand your core values, enhances the inclusive nature of the academy

As you might imagine, we are extremely proud of Ofsted’s glowing praise for our school and its students. They were particularly struck by the close-knit, child-centred community here, praising the “highly visible opportunity” of kindness week “for staff and pupils to think of others. In assembly, student leaders clearly articulated the importance of caring for others and encouraged their peers to contribute to the academy’s food bank appeal. The assembly was warmly received by pupils who clearly share the same values.” Equally, they were impressed by the high number of respondents to the parents’ survey, which was overwhelmingly positive.  I’m very grateful for your support – and for the plethora of encouraging emails we received on the day of the inspection.  That perfectly sums up our school: staff, pupils, parents and governors all working as a community, all achieving excellence together!

Yours faithfully,

Steven Jefferies NPQH

To take Ofsted’s ParentView Survey at any time, please visit their website.