December 9 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Thetford Academy is toasting the first big success of a new era after it was found to be making progress in its fight to get out of special measures.
Adrian Ball, executive principal, said the outcome of Ofsted’s monitoring report was “great news” for the 1,300 pupil school just six weeks after it moved into its new £19m home.
“It’s just a brilliant step forward for the academy and it’s recognition for the students and staff that we are going in the right direction,” he said.
The school was plunged into special measures in February 2013 after its last full inspection.
It listed a string of failings at the school, including weak leadership, inadequate teaching and poor behaviour from pupils.
A monitoring inspection in May then found that progress at the school was too slow.
But inspectors, who visited on October 15 and 16, found that standards are now rising across the board.
Students are seen to be better behaved after an “overhaul” of systems, according to the report, while attendance has improved.
Inspectors found that students felt the academy was “a different place” to last year, with exclusions dropping and attitudes improving.
The strong report means the school has been again allowed to appoint newly qualified teachers (NQTs) as a result.
Mr Ball, who was installed in September, was praised in the report.
It said: “The new principal, ably supported by the senior leaders and governors, has rapidly created a positive ethos in the academy, where aspirations for all students are high.”
Teaching at the school still ranges from “outstanding” to “inadequate”. Particular weaknesses were highlighted in English and modern languages.
Mr Ball said the school now had to keep improving.
“We have got the basics in place but we have shown that what we are doing works.
“Hopefully this report will give people confidence that we are headed the right way and have stopped the slide,” he said.
Rachel de Souza, CEO of the school sponsors, the Inspiration Trust, said the leadership team are in it for the long haul.
“We want to get the school to outstanding in three years. We won’t give up until we achieve that.
“This is our first real test and it’s a step to getting there,” she said.
Both Mr de Souza and Mr Ball said the school would now be looking to improve teachers at the school through training.