New Year blues? Not at Neale Wade Academy, March, where Ofsted are glowing in their praise for transformation taking place

22:01 06 January 2016

Jason Wing Principal of Neale Wade Academy with staff members. March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Jason Wing Principal of Neale Wade Academy with staff members. March. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

Governors and staff of Neale Wade Academy began the New Year in celebratory mood after the latest Ofsted report dropped on the mat.

Jason Wing, Principal.Jason Wing, Principal.

Inspectors – who visited the school in November- delivered a glowing assessment of the transformation taking place.

Pru Rayner, of Ofsted, said leaders were relentless in improving teaching by developing different ways of working to support pupils.

She said: “The assistant principal responsible for mathematics has transformed the approaches to how it is taught. Pupils say they understand much better what they need to do and are more confident in their learning.

“Ninety Year 11 pupils are attending extra catch-up sessions, three mornings a week, and extra tuition is also given on Saturdays.

Jason Wing Principal of Neale Wade Academy, March. Picture: Steve Williams.Jason Wing Principal of Neale Wade Academy, March. Picture: Steve Williams.

“Already nearly half of all pupils, including the disadvantaged pupils, attending these sessions have progressed by at least a GCSE grade,” she said.

Ofsted says Neale Wade has a ‘passionate conviction’ that all pupils can realise their full potential while teachers go ‘the extra mile’ to support those who need more help, according to the latest Ofsted inspection.

The unannounced inspection came in November and was made following the academy’s last inspection in February 2015 when leadership, management and sixth form were judged to be ‘good’ but all other aspects of the setting’s work were judged to ‘require improvement’.

But in November Ofsted found staff working on improving absence rates and an assembly about it had shocked students into showing how it could affect achievement.

“Leaders are highly creative in improving the academy,” she said. “They seek advice and support from other successful schools but always shape it to meet the needs of the pupils at Neale Wade.

“Pupils are encouraged to have high aspirations for their future,” she added.

During the visit students gave “moving accounts of how staff had given extra time and attention to ensuring they have been given every opportunity to succeed”.

Principal Jason Wing said: “We are obviously very happy with outcome of the visit as we feel it reflects all of the hard work that has taken place by students, parents and the staff of the academy.

“We appreciate that this is very positive report and we will continue to address any areas for development and build upon the good practice that was identified.”

The academy, which opened in April 2013 and is sponsored by the Active Learning Trust (ALT), has six core strengths, according to the report which are:

• Principal Jason Wing leads with an unwavering determination to ensure all pupils achieve well

• Improving disadvantaged pupil achievement is a key priority.

• Leaders at all levels track progress, attendance and behaviour of disadvantaged pupils carefully.

• Teaching is carefully planned so that new learning is accessible to all.

• Aspirations are high and teachers go the extra mile.

• A range of strategies support pupils moving up from primary school.

Weaknesses are:

• Governors need a more detailed understanding of disadvantaged pupil progress.

• Progress leaders must ensure disadvantaged pupils are given help to catch up.

Gary Peile, ALT chief executive, said: “I am delighted that Ofsted has highlighted the excellent work of all staff and pupils at the Neale Wade Academy.

“Particularly pleasing is the praise for Jason and his team in their work to ensure all pupils realise their full academic and personal potential.”

He said the principal’s work “helps us, as a trust, to meet one of our overriding aims to ensure the delivery of high quality education through our academies to support pupils across all age ranges from the early years to post 16”.

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