DELIGHTED staff and students are celebrating today after their school was rated “good” for the first time after 26 years.
Colchester Academy was given the rating following an Ofsted visit last month.
Government statistics show it is the fourth best in Colchester in terms of the progress children make while at the school.
Since education body Ofsted was formed in 1992, the academy, which was formerly called Sir Charles Lucas School, has never been awarded a “good” rating – the second best score.
Fiona Pierson, who became the headteacher almost three years ago, put the improvement down to the work of everyone at the school.
She said: “So much work has been put in by everyone here from the staff, to the children, to the parents.
“Having such a great school is something the whole community can look at and be proud of.
“But I think the important thing to say is the job isn’t done and it never will be done because we have to keep up the high standards we’ve set.”
Miss Pierson has also been nominated for Headteacher of the Year 2018 at the Essex Teaching Awards.
She said: “That’s a bit embarrassing really. It’s not just myself who has helped to turn things around so I think it’s recognition for the whole school rather than just myself.
“Of course, I’m grateful to be nominated and shortlisted but I think embarrassing is definitely the word.”
The school was put into special measures in July 2015 when pupils were found to be underachieving.
During the last inspection at the school in December 2015 three of the fours areas on which schools are judged were assessed as “requires improvement”.
But now all four have been ranked good by inspectors who noted teaching, achievement, behaviour and attendance had all improved.
The rating means every secondary school and academy in Colchester now has an Ofsted rating of at least good.
St Helena School in Sheepen Road, Colchester, has also maintained its “good” rating following an inspectors’ visit last month.
Proud – St Helena headteacher Zoe King with head girl Chloe Gregor and head boy Joel Barnett
Headteacher Zoë King said: “I am delighted that Ofsted again judged the school to be good.
“This is a fantastic report which highlights the real strengths which exist at St Helena School.
“It is the combined efforts of our staff, students and parents which have ensured St Helena School remains a good school delivering a high quality of education for the community.”
The report stated following a period of concern, the school has taken steps to ensure maths is improving.
However, it pointed out teaching in languages is not as strong as other subjects.
St Helena’s School’s full report can be viewed at st-helena.essex.sch.uk.
In January 2014, The Whitehaven Academy opened under Bright Tribe’s sponsorship. The Trust had hoped to develop a hub of schools in Cumbria, recognising the value of the collaboration and school-to-school support that happens in our other hubs. As we have been unable to grow beyond a single school in Cumbria, we recognise the need to explore alternative sponsor options for Whitehaven Academy.
In the light of this, Bright Tribe has agreed with the DfE and Regional Schools Commissioner that they will pursue alternative options for the school. The process which must be followed to achieve this may take some time and due regard must be given to the sensitivities around managing this action appropriately.
We believe alternative sponsorship is the most appropriate route for the school’s continued improvement journey. Bright Tribe has supported a number of improvements to assist this, including the recruitment of the current senior leadership team. Their strong leadership, including the work of Principal Mr. Warren Turner, was recognised by the most recent Ofsted monitoring inspection, which judged the school to be taking ‘effective action’ towards improvement.
Bright Tribe is aware of the problems with the school’s buildings, which are the result of historical underinvestment prior to the Trust’s involvement. The Trust has carried out numerous works to improve the condition of these buildings, something which was also recognised in the recent Ofsted monitoring report, which states that “the Trust has implemented a planned schedule of remedial work”.
Bright Tribe has continued to lobby at the highest level to secure additional funding for the school’s buildings and grounds, but without success.
The Trust is aware of the increased media activity of late and would ask for a period of calm, to allow all parties to focus on the needs of the school, children and staff. It is essential that the school is able to remain focused on educating the children it serves and driving forward progress around educational improvements at pace.
This will also allow time for Bright Tribe to continue to work with the DfE to determine the best solution for the school’s future success.
In 2015 Bright Tribe Trust was selected by the Department for Education to sponsor Haydon Bridge High School. Since this time progress relating to the transfer of the school has been hindered by the school’s significant and increasing financial deficit. In the period, the school has seen a significant reduction in the number of pupils on roll and there is no sign of this increasing, in fact there has been a steady decline over the last five years. The comparatively small number of pupils on roll has had an insurmountable impact on the school’s long-term viability.
During the initial period of due diligence, the Trust took effective action to drive up educational outcomes for the school and improve the learning environment. It has invested heavily in the school, putting into place and funding a number of measures, including the appointment of a Regional Executive Principal and Principal to work alongside the school’s existing senior leaders and staff to drive up standards and improve outcomes for students. This is reflected in the improved GCSE results gained across a variety of subjects under the leadership of this team. Bright Tribe has also provided back office support for the school’s finance team and Interim Executive Board, as well as securing a DfE Environmental Improvement Grant which it used to make much needed capital improvements to the premises.
The Trust has been working closely with the DfE, Regional Schools Commissioner and Secretary of State appointed Interim Executive Board however the financial position and long-term viability of the school presents a significant financial risk to the Trust and its portfolio of other schools and Bright Tribe Trust therefore concludes that it can no longer continue to support Haydon Bridge High School.
The IEB, along with headteacher Darren Glover, will continue driving improvements.
A new dental health project aiming to cut tooth decay in children of primary school age has been launched in Ipswich.
Mayor of Ipswich and nurse Sarah Barber joined leaders from Suffolk County Council at Cliff Lane Primary School to kick-off the fresh scheme this week.
Cliff Lane and Highfield Nursery Primary School are taking part in the pilot, which will support pupils and parents with key tips and advice on keeping teeth healthy.
The trial is part of the ‘Keep Suffolk Smiling’ initiative, which has seen parents given free toothbrushes and toothpaste at their child’s 12-month check-up.
Teachers at the two schools will get help from Suffolk’s community dental health team to deliver important messages about dental health, alongside information to take home for parents.
Although oral health is improving in England, almost a quarter of five-year-olds have tooth decay, and oral health accounts for around £3.4billion per year to the NHS. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five-nine in 2014/15 with more than 24,000 youngsters admissions for an almost entirely preventable disease.
In Suffolk, 79.1% of five-year-olds are free from dental decay, compared to the national average of 75.2%.
Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and chairman of the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “It’s good that in Suffolk we have better standards of dental health than across England as a whole, we know more work is needed to better oral health standards for all children in Suffolk.
“This pilot scheme is another way that Suffolk County Council is working hard to give every child in Suffolk the best start in life.”
Mrs Barber, a nurse at Ipswich Hospital, said: “Good dental health from a young age is incredibly important, which is why I wholeheartedly support this project to support teachers and parents to raise awareness of the issue among children.
“By working with Cliff Lane Primary School, among others, we’re hoping to make a real difference to children’s oral health and I am really pleased to be part of this project from the outset.”
Suffolk County Council’s director of public health and protection, Abdul Razaq, was also at the launch event.
Success for Alde Valley Academy as school is formally recognised to be a ‘Good school’ with ‘Outstanding’ attributes by Ofsted
Alde Valley Academy, Leiston, Suffolk, a Bright Tribe Trust school is celebrating being awarded a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating with ‘Outstanding’ attributes just four years after being judged ‘Inadequate’ and placed in Special Measures by the Department for Education. Ofsted inspectors commented that since the school converted to academy status in 2014, “the level of support given by the Multi Academy Trust has been instrumental in enabling the school to move forward”, and that the Bright Tribe Trust has played an essential role in “quickly identifying the problems and then seeking out and appointing a principal who has so successfully driven change.”
Inspectors also praised the outstanding leadership of the principal Michael Wilson commenting that since his appointment, “the principal has galvanised staff, pupils, parents and the local community to support the school’s rapid improvement under his leadership” and that “leaders of the Multi Academy Trust and the head teacher have a vision for the school which staff share.”
This judgement marks the latest in a series of successes for the school which this summer included 62% of GCSE students gaining a grade 4 and above in mathematics and English combined. Just last week the school also celebrated a positive progress 8 score of +0.46 placing the school significantly above the national average for the progress of its students.
Inspectors commented on the words of one parent who stated that, “this school is now the school that everyone is talking about and considering moving their children here.”
Other improvements noted by inspectors included vastly improved behaviour which they declared to be ‘outstanding’. The report states that the conduct of pupils ‘is exemplary’ and that students, “are polite and welcoming to visitors and engage courteously in conversation, often instigating it.”
Michael Wilson, Principal at Alde Valley Academy said, “This is truly a reflection of the incredible hard work of all our staff, students and parents. Since my arrival three years ago I have witnessed Alde Valley Academy improve dramatically, a reflection of our commitment to high expectations and high standards in every aspect of the school. This is a great boost for the town of Leiston”.
Mary McKeeman, Chief Operations Officer, Bright Tribe Trust commented, “This report represents yet another success for Alde Valley Academy, following on from its hugely improved academic results. With the continued support of staff, pupils and the school community we know Alde Valley Academy can become the outstanding school of choice in the local area. Congratulations to everyone at the school!”
Placing both schools significantly above the national average for the progress of its students
Bright Tribe, a non-profit making, multi-academy trust, is reporting record results for Alde Valley and Colchester Academies in Progress 8 results – a measurement which benchmarks a student’s progress between the end of Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 across eight key subjects.
Alde Valley Academy celebrates outstanding Progress 8 results
Now significantly above the national average for the progress of its students
Alde Valley Academy, Bright Tribe’s secondary school and sixth form, in Leiston, Suffolk celebrated a positive Progress 8 score of +0.46 placing it significantly above the national average for the progress of its students. Zero is the baseline average score for schools
The school, which is on a firm upward trajectory, was also recognised in its recent Ofsted report as a Good school with Outstanding attributes just four years after being judged ‘Inadequate’ and placed in Special Measures by the Department for Education.
Commenting on the students’ progress, Principal Michael Wilson said, “We are thrilled with our result of +0.46 which shows that we are achieving very significantly above national benchmarks and clearly demonstrates the outstanding quality of teaching and learning that takes place within our school. Students at Alde Valley achieve significantly better than their prior attainment would suggest for all groups of learners.
“This goes hand-in-hand with the excellent results the school achieved at GCSE level this summer and represents a truly phenomenal outcome for us.”
This judgement marks the latest in a series of successes for the school which this summer included 62% of GCSE students gaining a grade 4 and above in mathematics and English combined.
Colchester Academy celebrates Progress 8 results – placing the school above the national average for the progress of its students
Colchester Academy, a vibrant Bright Tribe academy in Colchester, Essex, providing outstanding learning for 11–16 year-olds, celebrated marked improvements in its Progress 8 results of +0.23 – placing the school above the national average for the progress of its students. Zero is the baseline average score for schools.
Earlier this year students at Colchester Academy also celebrated marked improvements in its GCSE results which showed improved academic measures from the previous year’s results as well as gaps between key inclusion groups narrowing significantly. Individually a number of students performed particularly well, celebrating A* results as well as grade 8s or above in the new maths and English GCSEs.
Fiona Pierson, Principal at Colchester Academy commented, “We are absolutely thrilled with our Progress 8 results and delighted to see so many students achieve so well, with many outperforming their predicted targets. Staff and students alike have worked incredibly hard throughout the year and I am delighted with the success the school has achieved. I wish all students the very best of luck in the next stage of their education.”
Pupils well above national average in many areas
The number of children at Werneth Primary School reaching a good level of development (GLD) at the end of Foundation Stage has risen. Last year it was 47% but this year is up to 62%. While the majority – 99.5% – of pupils are EAL, all pupils are making excellent progress.
Key stage 1 phonics shows a significant improvement in standards, up from 50% last year to 75%. ‘This is the highest score ever in the school,’ said Conrad North, ‘and reflects the progress we have made since introducing Read, Write Inc. Last year 11% were achieving greater depth in reading, now we are up to 16%.’
There have been some pleasing results in KS1 maths too. Last year just 6% were achieving greater depth but this year the figure has shot up to 17%. Maths has always been a strength at Werneth Primary and this is reflected at KS2 as well. Both last year and this year Werneth pupils were above the national average for progress in maths by the end of Key Stage two.
For reading, writing and maths combined last year 31% of pupils at KS2 achieved the expected standard. This year that has risen to 47%, an improvement that is significantly more than the national average.
“There has been a big improvement in a short time,” said Conrad North. “I am delighted to report that last year was a very successful year academically. Our children continue to progress well with their learning.”
The entire Cliff Lane community is proud of its pupils’ fantastic improvement in performance in the 2016/2017 SATs. With the recruitment of a permanent Principal Nadia Bosse and a Regional Executive Principal Cassandra Williams, who both provided strong-targeted support, the results have improved significantly. The environment of the school has been transformed and a child centred approach to learning has been established.
In Key Stage 2 the combined average for reading, writing and maths increased by 22% from the previous year. Grammar punctuation and spelling improved by 21%, maths increased by 14%, writing by 8% and reading by 13%. The overall attainment results will continue to improve each year to the level which the leaders know are achievable for through consistent good quality support, focussed monitoring and raising aspirations.
In Key Stage 1, 79% of children reached the expected levels for reading and exceeded the national average and 67% of children reached the expected levels for maths and exceeded the national average for the first time!
Nadia Bosse attributed the improvement to a whole school drive on quality first teaching where staff maintained high levels of standards to ensure outstanding progress in the children’s learning. “The school identified gaps early on through robust tracking of children, and effective support was put in place so that no child was left behind.”
The principal Nadia Bosse, who has been in post since September 2016, said she had been ‘deeply moved’ by the support she has received from the staff at both Cliff Lane and Bright Tribe and from the parents. “It is wonderful to have this ongoing support,” she said. “Together we can move Cliff Lane on, so it becomes a school that we can all be really proud of.”
Mary McKeeman, Chief Operating Officer, Bright Tribe Trust, was particularly impressed with the change of the learning environment and calm determined attitude of the children.
Students at the Whitehaven Academy celebrated today as they collected their GCSE results. The academy is on a rapid improvement journey which has seen a very successful Section 8 monitoring report and 100% of A-level students obtaining a pass in summer 2017.
The 2017 summer exam season saw students sitting the new Grade 9 – 1 GCSEs in English and maths for the first time. Under the new grading system Grade 9 is the highest grade, set above the current A*. The intention of the new system is to provide more differentiation, particularly among higher achieving pupils. As the grades do not map across to the A* – G format this means comparison with previous years cannot be made immediately.
At Whitehaven Academy staff worked incredibly hard to prepare students for the new examinations and the school has seen some extremely positive results from its individual students and subjects. This includes the sciences where 87% of students gained an A* – C in biology and 65% in chemistry. A number of individual students also achieved particularly well, with several students gaining A* grades or a grade 8 or above in maths and English.
Students who gained exceptional results include Ben Walkingshaw who achieved an outstanding grade 9 result in maths, with students Nimah Ross and Alex Sharpe also achieving an exceptional grade 8 in the subject. Callum Garrs also performed particularly well gaining a grade 8 in English.
Warren Turner, Principal at Whitehaven Academy commented on the results, “We are pleased to see a number of our students perform exceptionally well with many overcoming a number of barriers to achieve above what they were predicted. These results are part of our rapidly improving journey to become an outstanding academy and this is also reflected in our highly successful A-level results and our Ofsted Section 8 report. We will work at pace to build on these successes in future and are well on our way to ensuring that Whitehaven Academy becomes the outstanding school of choice for the local community.”