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Head of west Norfolk academy says ‘further work is needed’ after Ofsted criticisms

PUBLISHED: 14:49 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:54 09 November 2018

Hilgay Riverside Academy near Downham Market, part of the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust, has been ranked as requiring improvement by Ofsted. Picture: Hilgay Riverside Academy

Hilgay Riverside Academy near Downham Market, part of the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust, has been ranked as requiring improvement by Ofsted. Picture: Hilgay Riverside Academy

Hilgay Riverside Academy

The head of a Norfolk academy judged to require improvement has acknowledged that “further work is needed”.

Ofsted inspectors said the quality of teaching at Hilgay Riverside Academy near Downham Market was inconsistent while leadership had, until recently, “not been fully effective”.

The inspection in October also found that expectations of pupils’ behaviour and outcomes were “sometimes too low” and that reading, writing and maths outcomes in key stage one and two were below national averages.

But the report said the current headteacher had put the school on a “clear upward trajectory” with “decisive and effective leadership”.

It was the school’s first Ofsted inspection since it opened as an academy in the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust (DEMAT) in January 2016.

Inspector Wendy Varney judged the school’s quality of teaching, pupil outcomes and early years provision to require improvement, with some children failing to get off to a “strong start” in reading and writing due to teachers’ lack of knowledge.

But its effectiveness of leadership was judged to be good – with a focus on improving the quality of teaching and developing its curriculum – as was the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils.

Ms Varney also highlighted the support given to the school by DEMAT. “A lead officer from the trust visits the school every term to ensure that the school is moving in the right direction. There is clear evidence that these actions are having a positive impact on the school’s development,” she said.

Headteacher Sarah Turner, who joined the academy in September 2017, said: “I am pleased that Ofsted has recognised our journey of improvement and praised the good leadership, as well as the pupils’ behaviour and welfare.

“Although the report is in agreement with the school’s self-evaluation, we recognise that further work is needed to raise pupil outcomes, and we are committed to achieving good judgements in all areas in the next inspection.”

DEMAT chief executive Andrew Read added: “This report on Hilgay underlines the importance of a whole community approach to system leadership.”

Hilgay Riverside Academy is part of the Riverside Federation with Ten Mile Bank Riverside Academy.

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