Iceni Academy achieves its first “good” rating from Ofsted

Iceni Academy has received a "good" rating from Ofsted. Pictured: Principal Gee Cook celebrates with

Iceni Academy has received a "good" rating from Ofsted. Pictured: Principal Gee Cook celebrates with pupils. - Credit: Archant

A 'courageous and determined' principal has succeeded in pulling her academy out of special measures to achieve its highest ever Ofsted rating.

Iceni Academy in Methwold received a 'good' rating from the education watchdog following its most recent inspection, lifting it significantly from the 'requires improvement' rating it was handed during its last full inspection two years ago.

Inspectors who visited the Academy Transformation Trust school in July described its leaders as 'ambitious', adding: 'They want the school to be outstanding and they are doing the right things to achieve this.'

However the academy's sixth form, which closed to new pupils this term due to dwindling numbers, was still judged to require improvement.

The Ofsted report, published on Tuesday, applauded principal Gee Cook for her 'courageous and determined leadership' since taking over in 2013, which was judged to have 'driven substantial improvement in all areas of the school'.

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There was also praise for the assistant principal for her leadership of the primary site.

A 'sharp increase' in teaching quality was noted along with a sharp rise in pupil achievement, which is now above average, leading inspectors to state that 'there is now a clear culture of raising pupils' aspirations within the school'.

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Inspectors said that pupils' 'spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is very strong' and their 'personal development' across the school was 'outstanding'.

However at the academy's sixth form, inspectors judged that improvement measures had had 'less impact' than at the other key stages and said the quality of education for the school's remaining Year 13s needed to improve.

There was also some criticism of integration between the school sites, one of only two in Norfolk to combine primary and secondary education. The report noted parents and pupils did not see the phases as 'part of one school'.

Ms Cook said: 'This is a significant achievement for Iceni Academy pupils, teaching and learning staff and governors.

'We have never in the history of the academy or in the predecessor school had such a high grade and I am incredibly proud of the dedication and commitment of everyone involved.

'Although there is still work to do in the sixth form, the inspection team identified that 'leaders are providing 16-19 study programmes that have improved significantly'. I am delighted that Iceni's achievements have been recognised and that pupils there could not find a single thing to improve.'

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