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The High Weald Academy

A Brook Learning Trust Academy

Great News Regarding Ofsted Monitoring Visit

It is a real pleasure for us to share with you the outcomes of our recent Ofsted monitoring visit which took place on Tuesday 3 July 2018

As you will know, since January 2017, we have been working extremely hard to address the issues cited in the previous inspection when the academy was judged as ‘requiring improvement’.  The purpose of the monitoring visit was to check on the progress we have made across a range of areas.  The experience was both thorough and forensic and the HMI [Her Majesty’s Inspector] who lead the agenda on the day found, and has mentioned in the report, many strengths. 

These include confirmation that we have taken the correct direction of travel in securing improvements:

“Senior leaders, governors and the trust are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the recent section 5 inspection in order for the school to become good”.

The report also pays tribute to the quality of leadership within the academy:

“Leaders are passionate about the role of the school to provide a good quality of education for pupils”.

“Leaders have worked systematically to secure improvement at every level”.

“They [the leaders] have improved the overall quality of provision through embedding their non-negotiables and high expectations for all involved whether they are pupils, staff or parents and carers”.

In terms of the quality of teaching, the report states that:

“Teachers know their pupils well and most use this knowledge to plan learning activities that provide a strong level of challenge. This has increased pupils’ overall progress, especially of pupils who are from disadvantaged backgrounds”.

Our students were fantastic ambassadors for the academy on the day of the visit and are also mentioned for the feedback they provided to the inspector:

“Pupils told me that the school had changed and it was ‘much better’ because ‘behaviour and lessons are better ”.

“Pupils are aspirational and recognise the improvements across the school. They like the clear structures and expectations that leaders have established”.

It was particularly pleasing to note that the three areas the inspector identified in which we need to continue to work on are priorities we have already recognised for the 2018-2019 Academy Improvement Plan.  These are to:

  • strengthen plans for the use of additional funding so that the actions can be accurately evaluated
  • further improve the attendance of pupils, especially those who are persistently absent
  • continue to eradicate inconsistencies in the quality of teaching and ensure that teachers apply the school’s behaviour for learning policy accurately.

As Co-principals, we are very appreciative of the input from the Brook Learning Trust in supporting us to move the academy forward:

  • Support from the trust has been effective. The trust has provided often innovative solutions to the staffing and leadership difficulties”.

We are extremely proud of this external endorsement and know that the improvements we have secured have taken great effort and hard work across the entire learning community at The High Weald Academy:

“The co-principals work very effectively together. They focus on what they describes as ‘the fundamentals’ and provide very successful professional development for all staff. Building on the work of the interim leadership, they have changed the culture of the school”.

The publication of the findings from this monitoring visit [which will go live on the Ofsted website next week] is indeed a fitting end to our tenure here and a really positive starting point for the new leadership team who we have been working alongside this term to ensure there is a smooth transition into the new academic year.