School hit with third ‘requires improvement’ judgement in a row

City Academy Norwich has been judged to require improvement for a third time - but inspectors say th

City Academy Norwich has been judged to require improvement for a third time - but inspectors say the school's leaders are pushing hard for improvements. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A high school has been judged to require improvement by inspectors three times in a row.

City Academy Norwich has held Ofsted's second lowest judgement since March 2015, with inspectors visiting four times since the judgement was first made.

Its latest inspection in June found significant leadership and staffing changes had slowed the pace of improvement with weaknesses in the quality of teaching, attendance and behaviour.

However, leadership and management was judged to be good, with inspectors saying that senior leaders had "effected an important cultural change" and that the new headteacher, in post since November 2018, had "won the hearts and minds of his team" despite a recent restructure.

Inspectors said the school in Bluebell Road, which has around 570 pupils, has had three different headteachers since its previous inspection.

In 2018 it was taken over by the Bohunt Education Trust after nine years with the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group following a string of poor exam results.

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The latest Ofsted report said poor attitudes to learning among some pupils led to low-level disruption in lessons, while high levels of persistent absence and fixed-term exclusions were said to be affecting progress. Work to tackle these areas is in its early stages.

Staff changes were said to have contributed to a legacy of weaker teaching in some areas, particularly humanities, but inspectors said improving teaching was leading to better progress for pupils.

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While the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils at the school and other pupils nationally is narrowing, inspectors said the difference between girls' and boys' outcomes "remains too wide".

Limitations in literacy were said to be a barrier to learning for many pupils, especially boys, disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and disabilities, but a whole-school literacy strategy is being developed to tackle this.

Inspectors said support from the Bohunt Education Trust had supported leadership development and that senior leaders and governors were highly ambitious for their pupils.

Parents are increasingly positive about the quality of education at the school and staff were said to be vigilant and mindful of vulnerable pupils' needs.

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