Ofsted downgrade Ormiston Park Academy

OFSTED has told Ormiston Park Academy that the school "Requires Improvement".

In 2011, the Aveley school was graded as "Good" and many expected the gleaming new academy, described as a "Cathedral of learning" by its then principal, Tess Walker, to go on to be an Outstanding school.

But the government watchdog came in last month and made the following observations.

Areas of weakness

1. Although teaching is improving, leaders have not yet ensured that it is good or better throughout the academy. Students’ progress is variable and they do not yet achieve as well as they should.

2. Not all teachers use the information they have about students’ knowledge and understanding to set engaging work that helps all groups to make good progress.

3. When work is too easy or too challenging, a small minority of students do not concentrate and they disrupt the learning of others.

4. Sometimes teachers do not check that students have understood new learning before moving them on to the next task. Questioning and discussion does not always allow students to develop their ideas fully.

5. Feedback does not always provide students with precise information about how they can improve their work, so some continue to make the same mistakes.

6.Some teachers do not plan extra help for students based on a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This has limited the impact of this support, including for some students who have special educational needs.

7. Sometimes teachers work towards improvement targets that lack clarity, which limits their impact.

8. Over time, too few Key Stage 4 students have made good or better progress across the different subjects they study. This has limited their achievement.

9. Attendance, though improving, remains below the national average.

10.The sixth form requires improvement. Many sixth form students have studied courses that have not been a good match for their abilities. This, together with variations in the quality of teaching, has limited their progress and achievement.

Strengths

1.The Ormiston Academy Trust and governing body provide leaders with effective support and challenge. The Interim Principal and other leaders have ensured that teaching is improving. New subject leaders understand the improvements needed and how to achieve them.

2. The progress of the small number of students with special educational needs who attend the ASCEND unit is good, as is the care and support that they receive.

3. Most teachers now have high ambitions for those they teach and challenge students to meet them. As a result, achievement is rising, particularly in English and mathematics, and especially for disadvantaged students.

4. Students’ conduct around the academy site is generally positive. Behaviour within lessons is much improved. Levels of temporary exclusion are declining.

5. Students feel safe and secure at the academy.

YT will be looking to the school and Thurrock Council for a response.

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