Academy steps up following concerns raised by watchdog
TYTHERINGTON School has undergone its first inspection since becoming an academy last year.
The inspection was carried out in April by Ofsted following concerns about the achievement of the 15 per cent of disadvantaged pupils on its register, and focused on the quality of leadership and management at the school.
But on his latest visit, inspector Patrick Geraghty found that middle and lower ability disadvantaged pupils were making better progress, with achievement gaps between them and their peers ‘closing rapidly’.
He also praised the academy for the procedures that had been put in place to support disadvantaged pupils, including the strong commitment from the head teacher Steve Jowett, staff and teachers. As the school is an academy, it is no longer subject to the traditional Ofsted inspection and grades, but it is still visited by the school watchdog.
Steve Jowett, headteacher, said the school had worked very hard to ensure all students made better than average progress.
He added that some parents were not happy their children were labelled ‘disadvantaged’ but said the school worked not only with academic considerations, but placed ‘a high importance’ on supporting students and families in a range of educational areas.
He said: “The report reflects the strength we have in this part of our work and gives good advice on how we can improve further, which we welcome.
“Our attendance is 95pc to 96pc, above the national average, but we are definitely looking at being a bit more proactive with regards to discussions with parents.
“The report contains many positive comments and has given everyone a boost.”
The inspector also noted greater choice in the curriculum, with work placements used ‘more appropriately’ to inform pupils on career choices, reducing the percentage of disadvantaged pupils not going into education, training or employment from 15pc in 2012 to zero in 2014.
Pastoral support was judged ‘excellent’ and ‘comprehensive’, enabling pupils with ‘barriers to learning’ to cope better.
There was ‘strong commitment’ from the headteacher and ‘excellent coordination’ between staff to ensure disadvantaged pupils got additional support and interventions.
Areas of improvement noted were the initiation of discussions with parents over disadvantaged pupils’ attendance.
Inspectors found the trigger of 90pc attendance was ‘too low’ and said it should be closer to the school average of more than 95pc.
Evaluation of methods to improve achievement was also noted.
●● Headteacher Steve Jowett, pictured with pupils Timmy Whittaker, Joe Blair, Will Bellerby and Louise Shaw, said the report reflects the school’s strengths