Corby school is improving, says principal

Ofsted inspectors visited Kingswood Secondary Academy on November 2 and 3
Ofsted inspectors visited Kingswood Secondary Academy on November 2 and 3
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A secondary school in Corby which has been rated ‘good’ in fewer areas than last year says it is continuing to improve.

Ofsted inspectors visited Kingswood Secondary Academy on November 2 and 3.

They concluded that leadership and management and the sixth form provision are both ‘good’, but that the academy ’requires improvement’ in the areas of behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.

This contrasts with an inspection last year which found that, along with leadership and management and the sixth form being rated good, pupil behaviour and safety was also ‘good’.

However, due to changes in the way the criteria are judged, the school says direct comparisons with last year’s report is not possible.

The new report does praise the strong leadership of the new principal, Andrew Burton, who joined the academy in January 2016.

It references how in the short time he has been at the academy he has “taken decisive and effective action to improve the quality of teaching and pupils’ outcomes”.

The report goes on to highlight how Mr Burton and his senior leadership team have implemented a culture of higher expectations and that because of this “teaching and pupils’ achievements are both improving across most subject areas at both key stages 3 and 4.”

The support of the Greenwood Academies Trust was also recognised and the inspectors highlighted how staff access high-quality support from the trust’s education advisers and wide-ranging training and CPD through the trust’s Learning Alliance.

Upon reviewing the sixth form provision, the inspectors found that leadership, teaching and achievement are all ‘good’.

They commented that students “receive effective careers advice and guidance” and “benefit from a range of work experience opportunities”, both of which ensure that students are well prepared for life after the academy.

In terms of the main academy, the inspectors noted that “outcomes for pupils are now improving and highlighted that “pupils’ outcomes in 2016 improved on those of their peers in previous academic years.”

This is significant given that most pupils join the academy with attainment which is well below average.

What is even more encouraging is that inspectors reviewed the performance information for current pupils in key stages 3 and 4 and found that it indicates that there are increased proportions of pupils who are making the progress they should, across a range of subjects.

Of particular interest to parents will be the review of the academy’s safeguarding systems which led the inspection team to conclude that the academy ensures that pupils understand how to be safe.

Those pupils who inspectors met said they feel at the academy and the large majority of parents who expressed a view through Ofsted’s online questionnaire agreed that their child is safe at the academy.

Parents will also be interested to read that inspectors found that pupils “conduct themselves in a calm and appropriate manner and interact well with each other.”

One pupil commented to the inspection team that “people get on with each other naturally, because they think it is the right thing to do.”

In addition to evaluating academic performance, the inspectors noted that the extra-curricular opportunities enhance the well-designed curriculum and help prepare pupils for life in modern Britain and that “there are wide-ranging opportunities for pupils to secure their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.”

Mr Burton said: “I believe that the report recognises the progress that the academy has made in the last two terms and that outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in particular are improving to match those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities and those for whom English is an additional language.

“The inspectors identified areas for further improvement, many of which we had already identified.

“I am confident that we have the drive and capacity to continue to move forward and make further progress.

“I wish to thank the pupils and staff who have worked tremendously hard and the families who continue to support us.

“It is also important to acknowledge the Trust as they continue to support and challenge us regarding the improvements we are making.”

Chief executive of the Greenwood Academies Trust Wayne Norrie said: “I would like to recognise the work that Mr Burton, and the senior leadership team, have done to drive improvements since the inspection last year when the academy came out of special measures after being with us for just five terms.

“The academy is clearly on the right improvement journey and the trust will continue to provide the necessary support to enable the academy to move forward to being good.”

This article has been amended to reflect the fact that Ofsted inspection criteria are judged differently to last year, and thus direct comparisons to previous reports are not possible.