Academy in Rushden ‘requires improvement’ say inspectors

Risdene Academy has been visited by Ofsted inspectors. The Academy is pictured here on its Foundation Day in 2013.
Risdene Academy has been visited by Ofsted inspectors. The Academy is pictured here on its Foundation Day in 2013.

A Rushden school which converted to an academy two years ago requires improvement, Ofsted inspectors have said.

An inspection team visited Risdene Academy in Newton Road earlier this month and have since published their report.

In it, inspectors praised head teacher Andrew Sears for removing inadequate teaching, but said that a number of improvements needed to be made – notably improving pupils’ attainment in writing and maths, an also closing the gap between the best-performing children and the most disadvantaged.

Inspectors said teachers also needed to give pupils more feedback about their work so that mistakes are not repeated.

Despite a number of weaknesses the school was praised for the behaviour of pupils and for the progress made by pupils in Year 6, which inspectors said was good.

Headteacher Mr Sears said: “I am happy that Risdene’s many strengths were recognised in the recent Ofsted inspection, particularly that we have created an environment in which pupils are keen to learn and are well behaved in lessons and around the school.

“But we recognise we’re still on a learning journey and the inspection has identified areas for improvement that will be quickly addressed by leaders, teachers and supporting staff.

“I believe it’s important there should be clarity around achievement.

“In 2014 pupils attained in line with or above national expectations at Foundation, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, and the progress made at the end of Key Stage 2 was considerably higher than the national average.

“Parents can be assured their children leave the Academy well prepared for secondary school.”

Ofsted grades schools on a four point system, with one meaning the school is outstanding and four meaning the school is inadequate. Risdene was ranked three overall, which means it will be inspected again within 24 months.

Johnson Kane, CEO of the Education Fellowship, of which Risdene is part, said: “We’re pleased Ofsted recognises that The Fellowship is already working with the newly re-shaped academy advisory board to ensure a sharper focus on pupil progress across the whole school as part of the relentless focus on securing and achieving excellence for all pupils.

“The Fellowship will continue to develop the leadership at the school and the quarterly review process will strongly support and challenge that leadership as we continue the journey to ‘Outstanding’.”

Risdene Academy has 317 pupils aged between four and 13.