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Ofsted finds academy in good Workington order

Workington Academy's first ever Ofsted report find an institution boasting clear vision and strong leadership

Posted by Julian Owen | July 08, 2018 | Teaching

Workington Academy has received promising feedback in its inaugural Ofsted report, following an inspection in May.

The thorough report highlights strong leadership, the “clear vision” of the new headteacher, and the staff’s “supportive relationship with pupils” as factors that will “ensure that outcomes for pupils remain on a trajectory of improvement”.

The successful sixth form, and the effectiveness of leadership and management of the school, were two particularly notable areas of strength, and graded “good” in the findings. Strong improvements in English and mathematics were also praised.

“Leaders’ effective use of additional funding” is evident in the progress of disadvantaged pupils, and also cited as a strength. The school is deemed highly inclusive, with students who have special educational needs or disabilities reporting that they feel safe and happy.

Workington Academy was formed by the merger of Southfield Technology College and Stainburn School and Science College, and opened in September 2015, sponsored by the Cumbria Education Trust (CET). Both schools had been in special measures previously, and had been judged by Ofsted as inadequate across all categories in previous inspections. So, whilst Ofsted determined that the school 'requires improvement' overall, the assessments and analyses are nevertheless promising.

The academy’s new headteacher, Des Bird, has only been in post since Easter, after spending four years at Carlisle’s Richard Rose Morton Academy, where he raised standards across the board, lifting the school from special measures to being “good” in every category.

At Workington, Mr Bird has already “swiftly identified what aspects of the school require improvement,” and the report also cites his “clear vision,” noting that “his plans to improve the school are sharp and precise. Pupils and staff are positive about his encouraging effect on the school’s culture.”

"The thorough report highlights strong leadership, the “clear vision” of the new headteacher, and the staff’s “supportive relationship with pupils” as factors that will “ensure that outcomes for pupils remain on a trajectory of improvement”."

Mr Bird is confident that Workington Academy is now well on its way to becoming a good school: “This report provides firm evidence that we are moving ever closer to the goal of a “good” judgment from Ofsted, which is encouraging. Though there is work still to do, the overall tone of the report is really positive and Ofsted recognises the progress which has been made when it says that ‘despite challenging circumstances, leaders ensure that outcomes for pupils remain on a trajectory of improvement’.”

Inspectors found that the efforts of Workington Academy’s leaders to promote equality and diversity across the school are “remarkable” and they have been effective in raising standards and outcomes for students.

According to the report, “pupils feel safe in school and bullying is extremely rare”. It says the work of all staff to keep pupils safe from harm is “exemplary” and describes their work with external agencies as “meticulous”. The inspection team also recognised that “the overwhelming majority of pupils behave well during learning” and “the vast majority move around the school in a calm and orderly manner”.

“I took up this role because it provided a tremendous opportunity to build on my experience. One of my first tasks has been to work with the experienced and established senior leadership team to further improve the quality of teaching and learning across the academy,” says Mr Bird.

“I am delighted that students studying English and maths at KS4 level are now making similar rates of progress to students nationally, and our KS3 students are now also making good progress as they benefit from improvements in teaching.”

Despite the encouraging feedback, Mr Bird remains focused on the tasks at hand: “We must now work harder to reduce absenteeism, improve behaviour and provide more effective monitoring and assessment of our students’ progress.”

 

 

 

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