Kettering school's pride after Ofsted praise

They've been graded as good with outstanding features - an improvement on its last inspection

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 7:30 am
KBA staff are celebrating
KBA staff are celebrating

A Kettering school which was told to improve several times has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for turning it around in a glowing report.

The all-through Kettering Buccleuch Academy (KBA) was rated as inadequate in 2014 before two requires improvement ratings in 2015 and 2018.

But after it was visited by education inspectors last month the Weekley Glebe Road school has been given a new rating of good - with grades of outstanding in three individual areas.

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Dino Di Salvo, principal of KBA, said: "We are so thrilled that the inspectors have recognised so many of our school’s strengths in their report, judging us to be ‘good’ with several outstanding elements. Alongside academic achievement, we put an important emphasis on ‘education with character’, so it is wonderful to see pupils’ personal development judged to be outstanding.

“What is most gratifying to see reflected in their report, however, is the hugely positive relationships we have across our school - whether between staff and pupils, the support we receive from our governors and [education trust] United Learning, or our partnership with parents and families.

"It is these relationships that allow us to ensure we are delivering the very best for our pupils, each day, and this report is testament to the efforts of everyone associated with KBA.”

The academy impressed inspectors when they visited just before the half-term break under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

They were complimentary about many aspects of the “popular and thriving school”, including its leadership, culture of high expectations and pupil achievement.

While the overall judgement was good, the school was judged outstanding in three areas with leadership and management, pupils’ personal development and sixth form provision showing a marked improvement.

In the inspectors’ report, KBA’s leadership team was said to be “highly ambitious” for pupils and staff alike and praised for the way that they maintained, as far as possible, the school’s usual curriculum throughout the pandemic.

They also highlighted many of the school’s wider strengths, from the “vibrant learning environment” its youngest pupils enjoy to the quality of teaching right across the school. Pupils were said to be “well cared for” and to share positive relationships with staff at all phases.

Angela O'Neill, head of primary at KBA, said: “It is fantastic that the inspectors saw clearly how much has improved across our primary phase since our last inspection and judged us to be securely good.

"We have put in place significant changes to develop our curriculum, quality of teaching and wider character education for pupils, so we are all very proud and pleased to see the inspectors’ comments.

"The support and positive feedback we have had from families, especially over the past 18 months, has been brilliant and we are delighted to be able to share this achievement with them too.”

Sir Jon Coles, chief executive of United Learning, said: “This latest judgement is excellent news for the school and shows just how much progress has been achieved in the past few years – despite the challenges of the last 18 months.”