Academy given a vote of confidence
5:30am Tuesday 11th February 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
LYDIARD Park Academy has been praised ahead of a new sixth form opening in September.
The secondary school has been given its third good Ofsted report in succession, and the first since converting to academy status.
Inspectors said: “Teaching is usually well planned to deliver good opportunities for students to work hard and make good progress.
“However, a small number of lessons are not sufficiently well organised because teachers do not plan enough for students to do, or provide for the acquisition of new knowledge or to practise their developing skills.
“Generally students respond with enthusiasm to teachers’ good subject knowledge, the range of stimulating activities and chances to flex their academic muscles in class.
“Teachers’ marking of work in books is inconsistent.
“Where comments about student output are incisive they help students understand what is of high quality and what needs more work.
“As a result, students are supported towards higher attainment.
“The behaviour of students is good and this helps progress and learning. Students work harmoniously together, often in groups and teams, and this helps them build good social skills.
“Leaders and managers at all levels, including middle leaders, share their high aspirations and ambition with everyone involved in the academy.
“The rise in achievement and attendance since its opening is celebrated but the team is fully aware that it has much to do to achieve the success that it plans for.
“The checks made on teaching are thorough, though sometimes a little too generous. The school understands that this aspect must be sharpened up if all teaching is to be as stimulating as it is in the best lessons.”
Principal Clive Zimmerman said he was delighted the school had survived the newly rigorous inspection criteria.
“It is a hat-trick, because it is the third good Ofsted report we have had in a row,” he said.
“That is particularly pleasing because last year they raised the benchmark, and have tightened it even more in January, so we have been among the first to be subject to the toughened version.
“The way that Ofsted look at it it is a first report for a new schoolbut, apart from the uniform and the sign on the door, we are the same.
“This report is off the back of eight or nine years of hard work.
“I think it is down to being absolutely relentless, having a strong eye for quality assurance and looking out for things that might not be as good as they should be.”
Mr Zimmerman said he supported the move by Ofsted to tighten its criteria.
“All indicators show we are in the top 20 per cent of schools, but it has become very rare to get an outstanding report,” he said.
“They used to give it out to about a quarter of schools, but have raised the bar now.
“I would like to think even if they gave us an outstanding report we would still be looking at how we could get better.
“It is generally a good thing Ofsted are a tough lot to satisfy. Children only have one chance so it is only right we make sure the school is the best it can be.
“This is also a big vote of confidence in the new sixth form. They said they were delighted, and we have got a really good uptake of 120 applications so far.”