Inspectors say Norfolk academy bosses ‘think school is better than it is’
PUBLISHED: 20:56 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 20:56 29 November 2018
Bosses at Norfolk’s original academy think it is “better than it is”, according to a report which criticised its teaching, leadership and pupils’ poor attitudes to learning.
Ofsted inspectors have told the Open Academy in Norwich it must up its game after a recent inspection found leaders, governors and trustees did not have an “accurate” understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.
Serious concerns were raised about pupils too. Inspectors said their attitudes to learning were “not good” and that “too many put in less effort than they should”, while instances of inappropriate behaviour were said to be too common and rates of pupil absence are above the national average.
The school was ranked as “requires improvement” – a grade lower than its previous “good” rating – following a two-day inspection in early November.
But the school said staff and pupils had been “working extremely hard” to make progress and that measures were already being taken to fix the problems noted by inspectors.
Open Academy was established on the site of Heartsease High School in 2008.
This summer it celebrated its best GCSE results yet, with provisional results showing 61pc of students gaining a grade 4 or above in English and Maths – 21pc more than in 2017.
But Ofsted inspectors felt senior leaders’ assessment of pupils’ outcomes was “overly generous”.
The report said leaders across the school lacked a “secure awareness of the progress pupils are currently making” and were “not accurate in evaluating their work” to improve pupil behaviour and attendance.
Inspectors also said teachers’ expectations of their pupils were too low and work was sometimes not challenging enough. “Too many teachers accept poorly presented work and pupils not working hard.”
But the report did note some positives, such as the impact of senior leaders on the wellbeing of staff, the good design of the school’s curriculum and its “good use” of the opportunities afforded by the Norwich Opportunities Area scheme.
Mary Jane Edwards, chief executive officer of DNEAT (the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust), which runs the school, said: “Immediately after the inspection findings the trust moved quickly to draft in extra experienced education experts to work with leaders and teachers in the school, including the governors. We are pleased that visible improvements are already clear in the last two weeks.
“We remain deeply committed to securing rapid improvement at the academy, whilst also recognising that exam results have improved dramatically this year, and that students leaving the academy were able to get onto the courses they wanted or enter training or employment.”