Ofsted praise 'determined' leaders at improving Corby secondary school after remote inspection

Lodge Park Academy has a new 'culture of aspiration', according to inspectors

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 3:46 pm
Carly Waterman, who is leading Lodge Park's transformation. Image: JPI Media.

A transformation plan at a Corby school has taken another positive step after inspectors praised its remote learning offer during a monitoring visit.

Am Ofsted team held a virtual inspection of Lodge Park Academy in February and their report, which was revealed this week, commends the school for the raft of improvements it has made - most of them during difficult periods of lockdown when the school took a 'private school approach' to online learning.

Lodge Park, in Shetland Way, was deemed inadequate back in 2019 after several years of instability. But executive principal Robert Sloan and then principal Carly Waterman, who grew up in Corby, arrived with a plan, determined to turn around the school.

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Now Ofsted inspectors have recognised the progress made by the school's senior leadership team (SLT).

Their latest report cites their determination to improve the school and its continued commitment to this goal despite the pandemic. It also suggests that the SLT has ‘created a culture of aspiration for pupils and staff’.

It continues: "The plans for remote and on-site education are well thought-through and reviewed regularly.

"Leaders are mindful of the extra burdens placed on staff and take care to reduce these. Staff, families and pupils value your 'family-first' approach during the current circumstances."

Ofsted also praised the ongoing development of the curriculum, the training in place for curriculum leads to develop skills and confidence, and the range of remote education formats which have been made available to pupils.

The Ofsted inspection took place via a number of virtual meetings with the SLT, school and trust curriculum leaders, the SENCo and members of staff responsible for pastoral support and safeguarding. The inspector also reviewed examples of remote lessons and looked at information about the curriculum and other documentation provided by school leaders. They considered the responses to Parent View, Ofsted’s online survey, and the responses to the staff survey. Finally, they reviewed staff and parent responses to school surveys about remote education.

Principal Carly Waterman said: "We are delighted with the feedback from Ofsted’s virtual inspection. At Lodge Park Academy we work tirelessly to improve our school and the life chances of our students. Despite the challenges of this year, we have continued to grow and develop our curriculum, build a diverse and effective remote learning offer, and make strides in developing ‘LPA Spirit’ and an ethos that students are proud to be part of.

"We’re really looking forward to when Ofsted recommence graded inspections in the autumn term because we know we’re well beyond special measures and it will be wonderful for the hard work of students, parents and staff to be recognised.

"This school is completely transformed and students now learn in a happy, safe, disruption-free environment. Behaviour and attitudes are excellent. I’m really proud of how well the whole school community has pulled together to ensure Lodge Park Academy has made such dramatic improvements.

Robert Sloan, Executive Principal of Lodge Park Academy, said: “We are pleased that the progress we are making has been recognised by Ofsted. We are very proud of how we have supported students and families in the last lockdown and we will continue our rapid improvement journey as pupils return to school.”

Stuart Burns, CEO of the David Ross Education Trust, said: “We are delighted that this fantastic Ofsted report recognises the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at Lodge Park Academy. It is clear that LPA has taken remote learning seriously and provided excellent education over lockdown, and that everything they have done has taken students, staff, and families into consideration. We look forward to having Ofsted back in our schools in the near future.”