One of Doncaster's biggest schools told to improve because of concerns over ‘low level disruption’ and ‘absences’

Education bosses have told one of Doncaster’s biggest schools it must improve – just three years after grading it as outstanding.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 08 May, 2019, 17:25

Inspectors who visited Outwood Academy (Adwick), based at Windmill Balby Lane, Woodlands, on March 26 and 27, rated it as ‘requires improvement’ overall, and specifically for its quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, and the outcomes for pupils.

Leadership and its post 16 education education were rated as good.

Alex Fraser, Health Monitor, Marvin Reader, Course Leader, Callum Morrow, Jack Halliday and James, Legg, all Health Monitors, pictured with XLR8 participants at Outwood Academy Adwick. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 10-08-15 XLR8 MC 1

In their report, inspectors said the quality of teaching was variable, and staff expectations were not consistently high across the school, having an adverse effect on pupils’ learning and outcomes.

It stated rates of absence and persistent absence were too high and improving too slowly.

And it added although reducing, there was still too much low level disruption in the school, which was having an adverse effect on some pupils’ learning and outcomes.

There were also many strengths noted including the knowledge of its governors, safeguarding, support for pupils and their families, its curriculum, the support it gets from Outwood Grange Academies Trust, and the fact that most of its pupils enjoy school and feel safe.

The principal of the academy and the chief executive of the Trust that sponsors the academy have already spoken in agreement with this judgement and pointed to ‘significant progress’ made already, leading to Ofsted’s ‘good’ rating for the academy’s leadership.

Ofsted first graded the school as outstanding in February 2016 after being in special measures since 2002, improving to requires improvement in 2013 shortly after joining Outwood Grange Academies Trust.

Martyn Oliver, the chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, said: “We are pleased that Ofsted stated that the academy is well supported by the trust and that the vast majority of pupils enjoy going to the school.

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“However we recognise that recent challenges from the rapid expansion in the number of pupils attending the popular school along with the challenges that all schools are facing in recruiting teachers has had an impact on the academy.  

“Having re-doubled our efforts which includes putting in place an excellent new principal, Andy Scruby, I am delighted that we are already seeing great improvements which Ofsted recognised and that we are heading for yet another record-breaking set of results this year.

“Parents and the community should rest assured that the Trust is confident that it has the capacity to quickly return Adwick, especially with this year’s results, to its former position. All our other 21 academies that have been inspected by Ofsted are rated Good or Outstanding, including eight that have received this grading within the last two terms alone.”

The inspectors’ report said that since his appointment six months ago, Andy Scruby has been ‘forthright in his efforts to improve the school.’

By implementing rigorous systems for monitoring the quality of teaching in the school, positive effects were being seen on pupils’ outcomes. The inspectors also noted that due to this ‘the decline has now been halted.’

Work done by the school’s leadership to address the inconsistencies in the quality of teaching were also noted by Ofsted inspectors who said that the leadership had acted ‘effectively to develop a team of skilled teaching and support staff to address the inconsistencies in the quality of teaching.’

Andy Scruby, who was appointed Principal at Outwood Academy Adwick in November 2018, said: “We were naturally disappointed at the outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection but we fully accept and agree with their judgement.  

“Staff are committed to improving every aspect of school life and Adwick will continue to be a school which its students and the community can be justly proud. There’s no doubt the report identifies some challenges, but it has also highlighted some very positive areas which are a credit to the staff and pupils.”

In recent years the popular Windmill Balk Lane-based secondary school has undergone an expansion in its pupil numbers on roll of over 10 per cent, from 914 in 2014 to its current number of 1018.