High school has improved, inspectors say, in first visit since academisation

The student leadership team at Sewell Park Academy with principal Penny Bignell,. From left to right

The student leadership team at Sewell Park Academy with principal Penny Bignell,. From left to right: Ruby Pummell, Eli Robinson, Migle Adomaviciute, Bethany Lee, Olivia Scotter. Mrs Bignell, Ferenc Mudri, Keisara Sela, Melissa Plane and Ewelina Jablonska. Picture: Sewell Park Academy - Credit: Archant

A Norwich high school with a 'caring ethos' is taking steps towards improvement - but inspectors say there is more work to be done.

Sewell Park Academy. Picture: Sewell Park Academy

Sewell Park Academy. Picture: Sewell Park Academy - Credit: Archant

Sewell Park Academy was visited by Ofsted at the end of May, in its first inspection since it became an academy with the Right for Success Trust in 2015. It was previously Sewell Park College, which was put into special measures in 2014.

The new report, published this week, rates the school requires improvement across the board, highlighting both positive changes - and areas of weakness.

Inspectors said: 'Leaders, including governors, have not ensured that pupils make good progress from their starting points in a range of subjects.'

But they said the progress of pupils was improving, along with behaviour.

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They said some behaviour issues stemmed from pupils becoming bored in lessons, if 'teachers do not plan learning which engages and interests them'.

There was praise for headteacher Penny Bignell, whose leadership inspectors said had 'raised the expectations of staff and pupils'.

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'As a result, academic standards and pastoral care are improving,' the report said.

The school's safeguarding was also praised, with vulnerable pupils described as 'well protected and supported', in a school which the report said has a 'caring ethos'.

Inspectors said the Right for Success Trust had provided effective leadership, and said it 'does not shy away from making difficult decisions to improve the quality of education'.

The report said: 'Leaders' effective restructuring of staff, and the appointment of 12 new teachers this year has placed the school in a good position to improve more quickly. The school's capacity for more rapid improvement is evident in the development of teaching over the past few months and the quicker progress pupils are now making.'

Key areas for improvement include teaching in certain subjects, such as science and humanities, and pupil achievement.

Mrs Bignell said the school was on a journey to improvement, and that incoming pupil numbers reflected a renewed confidence in the school.

She said the team was aware of areas in which improvement was still needed, but that they were pleased with the improvements shown in the report.

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