Chiefs at two Doncaster academies praised for "unwavering determination" to deliver quality education

A multi-academy trust that sponsors over 30 schools across the North of England has been praised by Ofsted, the education regulator, following a full trust evaluation.

By Stephanie Bateman
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 12:54

Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) is one of the highest performing trusts in the North of England and currently sponsors over 30 schools, providing education for over 25,000 students, spanning two Ofsted regions and 11 local authorities. 

It looks after Outwood Academy Adwick and Outwood Academy Danum in Doncaster.

Amy Richardson pictured during a science class at Outwood Danum

The Trust was evaluated by Ofsted in May, for four days.

Having assessed the central functions of OGAT and met with senior leaders who worked across the trust, as well as meetings with principals and visits to individual academies, Ofsted published a positive evaluation of the Trust. 

The inspectors praised the Trust’s ‘strong and principled leadership’, and its ‘unwavering determination’ to ensure it provides its students with the best quality of education. Ofsted also made note of the OGAT’s ‘clear strategic direction and careful resource-management’ that has ‘enabled the Trust to grow sustainably.’

Martyn Oliver, Chief Executive of OGAT, said: “We are delighted that following our recent evaluation visit, Ofsted has written to us praising numerous different aspects of the Trust.

“I am thankful to the staff for all their hard work and their determination to ensure we do all we can at OGAT to provide children with the very best possible education.”

The inspectors were also impressed by OGAT’s rapid school improvement ‘transformation model’ which is implemented at each academy that joins the Trust. The summary evaluation noted that ‘exceptionally rigorous due diligence checks result in a thorough and precise plan to ensure that the right support and resources are provided’ in order for the academy to make quick improvements.

Ofsted even went further and praised the impact of OGAT’s transformation model and the work put in when they sponsor a new Outwood academy as ‘striking.’ The inspectors made a note of highlighting that two of the eight academies that were judged to be inadequate when they joined the Trust, were now rated outstanding, while the other six are judged to be good.

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Martyn added: “At OGAT we believe that every child deserves the best and we have never shied away from taking on schools with tough challenges ahead of them. We are delighted that Ofsted has noted this and praised our work.

“Our seven strand transformation model is implemented immediately when we begin working with schools, enabling us to very quickly implement our vision and put students first, raise standards and transform lives.

“The success of this model is best highlighted by the success of the eight schools that were inadequate before they joined Outwood.” 

As part of its evaluation of OGAT, the inspection team considered 10 inspections of the Trust’s schools that had taken place between November last year and April this year. It also visited eight OGAT academies during the May evaluation visit and held telephone discussions with principals of the other 13 academies within the Trust.

Overall, there were 85 separate meetings that took place during the on-site visit by Ofsted in May, which involved over 160 governors, staff and students.

In addition, in the published summary Ofsted stated that seven OGAT academies have been judged as outstanding since joining OGAT, with six of these representing an improvement on their previous rating. It also found that 13 of the Trust’s academies had been judged as good since joining the Trust, with 11 of these representing an improvement.

Out of the other 11 academies, one is outstanding and exempt from routine inspection, one had been judged as requiring improvement since joining the Trust, and the other nine were yet to be inspected.

Commenting on the inspection, Martyn said: “It was a very robust and thorough inspection, and we welcome that. We are an open and honest Trust, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with Ofsted to learn any new lessons which may help us improve the delivery of our vision of putting students first, raising standards and transforming lives.”

Following the visit, Ofsted did have three recommendations for OGAT that all involved continuing with the good work the Trust was already doing. The inspectors urged the Trust to continue to improve outcomes for disadvantaged students, who now attain at least in line with disadvantaged pupils and ‘often do better’ according to the Ofsted letter.

The other two areas the inspectors wanted to see continued improvement were pupils’ behaviour and absences, with fixed-term exclusions and long-term absences both above the national average. Ofsted did note the work done to address these by OGAT, especially the notable 29% reduction in fixed-term exclusions across the Trust in the past year.