Ofsted inspectors identify "serious weaknesses" at Gloucester Academy
INSPECTORS say a new Gloucester school has serious weaknesses and is inadequate.
An Ofsted inspection report on Gloucester Academy, published today, says attainment at the Saintbridge school has declined in its second year, and achievement of pupils is inadequate, a ranking of four.
The school is an amalgam of two failing schools, and a new £15million build on the former Central Technology College site is due to open next year.
The report makes it clear there is still much to do - teaching, pupil behviour, leadership and management are ranked at three - requiring improvement.
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Inspectors found last month that major changes are being made, and some are starting to make a difference.
Inspectors said headteacher John Reilly, governors and senior leaders are "sharply focused" on improvement and teaching is improving much more quickly compared to last year.
And they found a "positive climate" for learning thanks to significant improvements in students' behaviour and attitudes.
John Reilly, headteacher of Gloucester Academy, said, "I am delighted the Ofsted inspectors have seen how much the academy has improved in the last year. We recognise that there is still much to do but we are now seeing the benefits of the investments we have made in improving the quality of teaching and learning at the academy. We are focused on our journey of continuing to improve our academy in line with our ethos of working together in an atmosphere that encourages respect for others, for our environment and for ourselves. We intend to build on this report and the progress it identified to deliver a significant improvement in next year's exam results."
The academy which opened in September 2010 has made strong progress with learning and teaching. The inspectors found lessons are improving for the all academy's students, including for those who are disabled or have special educational needs, mainly because students' attitudes to learning are considerably more positive than in the past.
The inspectors saw examples of good practice across a variety of lessons varying from art to mathematics and science. One of the best lessons observed was a Year 10 philosophy lesson, here students were shown to be making excellent progress in learning about the subject, but also demonstrated they were developing a deeper understanding of other aspects of learning, such as social and moral questions.
The positive aspects of the academy's pastoral support to encourage an inclusive and caring learning environment and the introduction of the ASPIRE system which endorses pupils' positive behaviour is also reflected in the inspector's comments, "The academy has correctly evaluated behaviour as having improved considerably since it opened. The 'ASPIRE' system, which promotes respect and good attitudes to learning, is having a strongly positive impact. Senior leaders at the Academy have established a positive atmosphere of pride and purpose, underpinned by stronger and more consistently applied strategies for managing behaviour."
Mr Reilly added, "We are very excited about our new £15 million state of the art academy building. It will provide first class facilities to our students, including new IT and digital space to reflect Gloucester Academy's vocational and IT specialisms. The new building, due to open next academic year, is the physical manifestation of the changes and improvements we are already making, as we seek to create an exciting and inspiring place to learn."