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Ofsted Inspection of Westlands Academy

16th January 2017

The Trust is delighted by Ofsted's evaluation of Westlands Academy, judging Westlands as a 'Good' school following its inspection on 6 & 7 December 2016.   This evaluation clearly reflects the good practice available there, and the positive outcomes Westlands achieves for its students.

While the full report is available on Westlands’ and the Trust’s websites, I thought it would be helpful to highlight the major conclusions and some of the comments contained in it.

  • Overall Effectiveness - Good
  • Effectiveness of leadership & management - Good
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment - Good
  • Personal development, behaviour, and welfare - Good
  • Outcomes for pupils - Good

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school

  • Senior leaders set high expectations for all pupils. Despite the social, emotional and mental health difficulties they experience, pupils make strong progress and leave the school well prepared for the next stage of education, training or employment.
  • Senior leaders have a detailed and accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and what needs to be done to improve the school further. There is a strong and determined drive to secure the very best outcomes for pupils.
  • Academy trust directors make an important contribution to the school’s leadership and management. They are knowledgeable about the school’s effectiveness and, crucially, they challenge senior leaders systematically, and in doing so, hold them robustly to account.
  • Additional funding, including the pupil premium and the Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up premium, is used effectively. Disadvantaged pupils and those who need to catch up make increasingly fast progress as a result of well-targeted and carefully planned additional help.
  • Teachers plan learning activities which interest and motivate pupils. They pitch work at the right level so that the most able pupils are challenged and those working at lower levels receive the extra help and support they need.
  • Teachers explain ideas and concepts clearly and question pupils skillfully about their work. As a result, the most able pupils develop and deepen their knowledge and understanding and gain confidence in explaining their ideas.
  • Pupils develop the positive attitudes they need to be increasingly successful learners. The values of tolerance and respect for other people are taught systematically and well. This helps pupils to be well prepared for their lives as citizens in modern Britain.
  • Pupils receive high-quality guidance about further education, training and employment. Increasingly, pupils are knowledgeable about their post-16 options and, as a result, make better, more informed choices.
  • Pupils’ views are given a high value at Westlands Academy. The school’s strong emphasis on encouraging pupils to face up to the consequences of their actions is helping them to take greater responsibility for their behaviour.
  • There is a sustained upward trend in the qualifications achieved by Year 11 pupils. The progress current pupils make in English and mathematics is improving. Pupils are on track to achieve outcomes which are closer to the high standards they achieve in other subjects.

Some comments from the Inspection Report:

  • “The principal, senior leaders and the academy trust set high expectations for pupils.”
  • “Leaders and the academy trust have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the school’s performance.“
  • “The school’s development plan provides a strong starting point for securing further improvement in the quality of education and the outcomes pupils achieve.”
  • “The curriculum has been developed and refined in response to pupils’ complex and sometimes changing social, emotional and mental health needs.”
  • “The governance of the school is good. Senior leaders and the academy trust’s chief executive give directors detailed reports on all aspects of the school’s performance.“
  • “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. There is a strong and deeply embedded culture of helping pupils and protecting them from harm.”
  • “Teachers plan learning activities which interest, motivate and challenge pupils. As a result, they work productively, learn well and make increasingly strong progress in English, mathematics and a wide range of other subjects.”
  • “Pupils’ confidence and independence is promoted effectively in creative subjects such as art and design, design technology, and catering.”
  • “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good. Pupils make strong progress in acquiring and developing the positive attitudes they need to be successful, confident and independent learners.”
  • “Pupils say that they feel safe and well supported in school. They say that adults listen to them and that their views are valued.”
  • “The behaviour of pupils is good because, over time, there is a marked improvement in the behaviour of pupils who have complex social, emotional and mental health needs. In general, pupils respond positively to the firm but reassuring guidance they receive from adults and conduct themselves well.”
  • “Records show that, over time, almost all pupils improve their attendance and some improve their attendance significantly.”
  • “Pupils are well prepared for the next phase of their education, training or employment because they have the qualifications and positive attitudes needed to take this crucially important next step.”

I would want to congratulate the whole community at Westlands – staff, students, parents and carers – for their contribution to this well-deserved outcome. I have no doubt that the strong encouragement given by parents and carers to the young people attending Westlands has played a large part in this successful outcome.I know that with parental support Westlands Academy, Abbey Hill Academy & Sixth Form, Green Gates Academy and Hollis Academy will all go from strength to strength in the future.

Elizabeth Horne CBE

Chief Executive

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