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Principal, Emme Ford received special mention for “strong commitment and drive” in Abbey Park's recent Ofsted inspection

Abbey Park goes from 'needs improvement' to 'good'

The latest Ofsted inspection found that 'the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has improved and is now good'

Posted by Hannah Vickers | July 27, 2017 | School life

Abbey Park Primary Academy in Illingworth, Halifax, which is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust (NET), is making marked progress, according to its latest Ofsted report which rates the school ‘good’ across every measure.

This is a dramatic and much welcomed improvement on its last inspection two years ago when the school was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by Ofsted inspectors.

The intervening two years has seen a huge investment by NET and Abbey Park’s governing body in restructuring the school development plan, implementing a range of well-targeted professional training and mentoring to improve the capacity of leaders and governors, initiating a robust approach to performance management by ensuring the accuracy of data and targets which are clearly linked to pupils’ progress and ensuring that pupil premium funding is targeted to provide additional teaching and welfare support for disadvantaged pupils.

Since its last inspection Ofsted reports that “the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has improved and is now good. As a result, standards are rising.” It states that “between Year 1 and Year 6 pupils achieve well, particularly in reading and mathematics and effective provision in the early years ensures that learning gets off to a flying start.”

The principal, Emme Ford, receives particular praise for her “strong commitment and drive”.  Ofsted recognises that she is “passionate about giving pupils the best opportunities”.

We have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and conduct and they have really risen to the challenge - Emme Ford, Principal of Abbey Park Primary Academy

Commenting on the judgement, Mrs Ford, said: “We could not have made such great strides forward without the continuing support of our sponsor, Northern Education Trust. 

“We have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and conduct and they have really risen to the challenge. The way in which we have planned the curriculum means that pupils are interested in the topics they study and particularly enjoy the visits that support their learning. This has led to greater engagement.

“It is really pleasing to read that one of our pupils said to the inspector that ‘you cannot really get sad in this school’ because by sitting on the friendship bench at break times someone will come and play with you. This simple statement illustrates the important point that children must look forward to school and feel safe and valued. Then they will be ready to learn.

“We are working hard to continue developing this ethos together with a positive climate for learning at Abbey Park and are now moving forward confidently with this really positive judgement behind us on our journey to becoming an outstanding school in the near future.”

NET’s chief executive, Ian Kershaw, added: “The team at Abbey Park, particularly the principal, who has provided tremendous dedication, vision and leadership, are to be congratulated.

“Every child deserves the best educational opportunities available and this is what we are committed to providing throughout all our academies.

“Abbey Park’s recent, above average Key Stage SATs results, which reflect a combined score of 62% for reading, writing and maths, are a reflection of how much hard work is going on at the school, both by pupils and teaching staff. Long may it continue.” 

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