Lodge Park is OUT of special measures after two-year school-wide transformation

Inspectors say the school is good in four out of five categories

By Kate Cronin
Monday, 13th September 2021, 7:51 am
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 7:52 am
Carly Waterman, Lodge Park Principal.
Carly Waterman, Lodge Park Principal.

The headteacher at Lodge Park Academy says she is 'delighted' after inspectors said the Shetland Way school had no need to remain in special measures.

Inspectors rated Lodge Park as good in four out of five areas they inspected and gave it an overall rating of 'requires improvement'.

They praised the pride that pupils feel for their school and positive relationships between staff and pupils. They said that behaviour has improved significantly.

After a turbulent few years, experienced educator Carly Waterman was appointed as principal in mid-2019 to help turn around the school that was rated as 'inadequate' following a damning inspection report which said pupils were being let down. There had been three different headteachers in a year and inspectors ordered two external reviews following their report.

Bob Sloan had also been appointed as executive principal to replace outgoing Meena Wood.

Mrs Waterman grew up in Corby and attended Kingswood School. When she was appointed she told this newspaper she was determined to make sure children at Lodge Park had the same chance of success as pupils at every other Corby school.

Ofsted inspectors, who visited at the end the summer term gave 'good' ratings to the categories of; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; leadership and management and sixth form provision. They said that the fifth category, quality of education, requires improvement and gave the school and overall rating of 'requires improvement'.

During their two-day visit, the four inspectors spoke to students across the school as well as staff and governors. The looked closely at the subject areas of science, history, French and design technology.

In her report, lead inspector Rachel Tordoff said: "Pupils are really proud of their school. They know that the school continues to get better all the time. They value the commitment of senior leaders to maintain these improvements. They are ambitious to succeed.

"Positive relationships exist between pupils and staff. There is a culture of mutual care and respect. Behaviour has improved significantly. Staff usually resolve any incidents of bullying swiftly. Most pupils behave and attend well. They understand what staff expect of them.

"Some pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) do not attend as well as they should and are excluded from school too often.

"In some subjects, pupils benefit from a curriculum that is designed to help them build on what they know already. However, in some subjects pupils cannot remember important knowledge because the curriculum is not planned and delivered well enough."

She said that the combined cadet force and #LPASpirit awards were positive additions to the curriculum.

Ms Tordoff said that staff must now ensure all subjects provide consistent planning and delivery. She said that pupils are not prepared effectively to study design and tech at key stage four level.

She added: "Teachers are proud to work at the school and want pupils to be successful. Many use their subject knowledge to good effect. In French, teachers emphasise the importance of using accurate grammar and pronunciation. In Year 12 sociology, teachers ask probing questions to deepen pupils’ understanding of ideas such as structuralism.

"However, this is not the case in all subjects. In science, teachers do not check carefully that pupils understand what they have learned before they move on to new content."

"Most parents and carers of children with SEND who responded to the online questionnaire, Ofsted Parent View, are positive about the support that their children receive.

"Typically, one parent explained how leaders ‘invest time to understand my child and find strategies that are inclusive and work."

The 2019 Ofsted report detailed alarming examples of bad behaviour from pupils. But inspectors who visited in June said that the attitude of pupils had significantly improved.

Their report said: "Leaders support any pupils whose behaviour is more challenging, for example to build their self-esteem.. Few lessons are disrupted by poor behaviour.

"Sixth-form students are overwhelmingly positive about how the school has improved. They attend well and study courses that closely match their interests and aspirations. Teachers help students to develop their independent learning and study skills.

"Students receive appropriate advice and guidance about their future plans. Many aim to be the first in their family to attend university."

In order to improve the school's rating at its next inspection, bosses must ensure the attendance of pupils with SEND is improved, including reducing fixed-term absences.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Waterman said: "I am really pleased with our Ofsted outcome and am glad they recognised the transformation of student behaviour from the previous inspection.

"We are particularly pleased to be given ‘good’ for four key areas, and we will continue to keep rapidly improving. We look forward to welcoming Ofsted back in the near future.

"Our Trust CEO, Stuart Burns, has given his congratulations and has asked me to pass on his thanks to you - the families and the community who support us so much.

"As headteacher, I would also like to say a huge and genuine thank you. We could not have made these improvements without your support and loyalty, particularly during a pandemic and two lockdowns. I would also like to publicly note my thanks to Mr Robert Sloan, who has now moved on to be Director of Curriculum at Greenwood Academy Trust.

"Mr Sloan’s impact on the school’s transformation cannot be overstated."

You can read the report here.