Ofsted tells Lowestoft academy it requires improvement but praises effective changes

A Lowestoft academy has been told it requires improvement for the second time by Ofsted, despite praise for the sustained and effective changes introduced.

Ormiston Denes Academy received the rating in all four key areas, including outcomes for pupils and quality of teaching.

However inspectors said that, since the previous visit in February 2015, the academy has responded positively, with the new principal Ben Driver and the senior leadership team working “swiftly and effectively to bring more sustained improvements.”

It also said that pupils and parents are positive about the improvements, and highlighted the ‘hands on’ approach of the academy’s sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), which has a “more secure understanding of the impact of the actions being taken to improve pupils’ achievement.”

The report said the academy requires improvement because pupils in 2016, including disadvantaged pupils, did not make enough progress from their starting points. It said despite improvements in behaviour, a small number are not yet behaving appropriately, and although improving, absence rates remain too high.

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It added that teaching, learning and assessment remains variable, but praised senior leaders for bringing about improvements in pupils’ achievement through monitoring of teaching.

Nicole McCartney, managing director (East) at OAT and executive headteacher at the academy, said: “Ormiston Denes Academy has been committed to improving standards across the board. We have worked closely with Ben Driver, the senior leadership team and teachers to achieve the sustained improvement which has been recognised in the report. Ormiston Denes Academy is on a positive, upward trajectory and the hard work and commitment of all involved to improve standards is clear.”

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The report said the academy’s enrichment curriculum, alongside the wealth of extra-curricular provision, was a “real strength” and that pupils are receiving increasingly high-quality information and guidance enabling more of them to go on to appropriate post-16 destinations.

Mr Driver said the academy has made “rapid progress” this year, and was pleased Ofsted had recognised it.

He added: “We are clear that this alone is not enough and with the support of Ormiston Academies Trust, our community, staff and students, we look forward to sustaining this rapid progress on our journey to outstanding.”

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