Slightly wounded by Ofsted report, Neale-Wade continues to show its extraordinary turn around as exam results underpin revival

Neale Wade Academy March. Principal Jason Wing.

Neale Wade Academy March. Principal Jason Wing. - Credit: Archant

Supported by a parents’ survey that shows 82 per cent agree their children are taught well, principal Jason Wing still feels slightly wounded by a less than flattering Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors landed on the doorstep of Neale-Wade Academy on a snowy February morning to undertake a ‘no notice’ report.

Rating leadership, management, and the sixth form as good, the Ofsted team concluded, however, that behaviour, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils all “requires improvement”.

Their assessment, in a school that has shown massive improvements, has been generally felt to be harsh.

Last year’s GCSE results produced a bumper crop of A* to C passes in Maths and English with an overall 67 per cent pass rate – putting the academy above the national average.

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But cometh the day, cometh Ofsted and Mr Wing has already begun to baton down the Neale-Wade hatches promising immediate action to “address these inconsistencies” which affected the overall rating.

“A little low level disruption in some of the classes on that day caused us to get a school requires improvement finding- yet inspectors also commented on how well behaved most students are,” he said.

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“We were asked in 2012 to hit targets- we hit targets. When everyone else went down in English and Maths last year we went up.”

Mr Wing, now in his fourth year as principal, believes his students “are getting a really good deal here – and have upped their game. I know how hard both the staff and students work and I want that reflected in the report.”

Admitting his colleagues were “disappointed” by Ofsted’s overall conclusions (and he’s hoping they make a quick return visit after this summer’s exams), he promised to address the issues raised.

They will be more emphasis on languages (the academy he admits lags in that area) and every line of the Ofsted report is being looked at to ensure perceived faults are quickly remedied.

“Yes progress here has been rapid however we may not have had enough time for everything to come to fruition,” he said. “We are one set of really good results away from being a good school.”

Ironically it was a handful of negative comments from parents that likely triggered the Ofsted inspection but nearly 200 have now come forward to express their view.

That updated survey on Ofsted’s own website not only reflects parents view of teaching but also shows 87 per cent agree their kids are happy at Neale-Wade, 83 per cent would recommend it others whilst 84 per cent believe the school is well managed.

And if enthusiasm by both staff and pupils can be measured it is likely to be found in the emphasis now placed on learning.

Last Saturday, for instance, 100 students came in, freely, for extra lessons and both early morning and after school clubs buzz.

“And we had a full IT course over half term, the same will happen over Easter and the same next half term,” he said. “It will pay dividends- everything to get these kids through.”

Whilst Ofsted might have some reservations, its report didn’t hold back from praising Neale-Wade for its social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of its students.

These were deemed a particular strength of an academy that “promotes equality of opportunity, tackles discrimination and prepares students well for life in modern Britain”.

Mr Wing added: “Neale-Wade is on a journey but we all appreciate we still have work to do to improve further”.

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