Principal’s commitment praised, but school not improving fast enough says Ofsted

The Principal, whose “whole-hearted commitment to the academy” has been recognised by Ofsted, is adamant the school will be rated at ‘Good’ at the next Section 5 inspection. Ofsted say there is still a way to go yet and improvement needs to be accelerated.


Sandown Bay Academy has today (Thursday) received its latest Ofsted inspection report, with a mixed bag of feedback.

The inspectors found the school is not improving fast enough and that leaders are not “taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the last section 5 inspection in order to become a good school”.

Head has “whole-hearted commitment to the academy”
Inspectors say the new Principal, Ms Charlemagne, who has been in the post for eight weeks, has demonstrated her “whole-hearted commitment to the academy”. It was recognised that she has “planted firm roots on the Island and very quickly won the confidence of staff, pupils and parents”.

Sandown Bay was placed in Special Measures in March 2013, but through improvements under former Executive Principal Eric Jackson, exiting Special Measures in October 2014..

Highlights from the report
The latest inspection says,

  • Recommendations made at the previous positive monitoring inspection visit in January 2015 have not been acted on urgently or sharply enough.
  • The Principal and academy trust are adamant that the academy will be judged ‘good’ at its next section 5 inspection. However, it was clear during this monitoring inspection that improvement has not been fast enough in order to assure this judgement.
  • Pupils’ GCSE results in 2015 show an improvement compared with those from 2014.
  • More pupils are achieving five GCSE grades at A* to C including English and mathematics.
  • Nevertheless, key groups of pupils identified at the section 5 inspection in October 2014 and at the monitoring inspection in January 2015 are still not performing as well as they should.
  • A-level results for 2015 in Years 12 and 13 were disappointing in some subjects, including some unexpected ‘U’ grades for mathematics in Year 12.
  • Overall weaknesses in mathematics were identified at the section 5 inspection in October 2014, so it is a concern that after one year not enough has improved in this subject area at A level.
  • The academy is still at the stage of focusing on what teachers still need to do, rather than evaluating the impact their work is having on outcomes for pupils.
  • Academy leaders have invested much time and resources in scrutinising teachers’ feedback, and collecting and sharing examples of strong practice. This is a laudable approach and many pupils are now benefiting from the improved feedback they receive.
  • However, not enough is being done to link teachers’ marking and feedback to the impact it is making on pupils’ progress.
  • Behaviour and attendance continue to be concerns in the academy. Persistent absence of some pupils, although improved, is still higher than the national average for similar schools, particularly for disadvantaged pupils.
  • You are acutely conscious of the lack of resources on the Island for those pupils who may require alternative education, and you have begun working more collaboratively with other schools to plan for this.
  • Since taking up your post, you have taken a firm line with unacceptable behaviour, such as verbal abuse, swearing or persistent disruptive behaviour.
  • While there has been an overall reduction in the number of fixed-term exclusions over the last two years, the numbers are still unacceptably high when compared with national figures, which raises concerns about the way the academy manages pupils’ behaviour
  • The academy relies heavily on support from the trust and, to a lesser extent, on training and advice from Hampshire local authority.
  • Trust leaders have an overgenerous view of the performance of the academy and the pace of improvement. This is because the trust does not routinely and objectively measure the success of its actions to improve the academy by the impact on pupils’ progress and behaviour

Firmly focused on getting best outcomes for all students
Principal, Mrs Claire Charlemagne, is adamant that the school will be judged a ‘good’ school at its next inspection. She states,

“I am very much enjoying the challenge of continuing to move the academy forwards. Clearly there is work to be done to take Sandown to the next step. We have reviewed our plans which are firmly focused on getting the best outcomes for all students. Already I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the loyalty and dedication of the Sandown Bay community.

“I know that we will achieve our goal. I won’t be satisfied until every one of our students achieves the very best possible results.”

Beverley Perin, Chairman of the Management Board commented,

“Our new Principal has already reviewed our provision across the Academy and made important changes to strengthen the academic programme, safeguarding procedures and support for disadvantaged students.

“We have developed partnerships with outstanding schools and universities on the mainland for Maths and Science providing exciting opportunities. I am confident Mrs Charlemagne will now take the pace of progress up a gear to tackle lingering weaknesses in some areas.

“The Trust will continue to support the academy.”

The report
You can see the full details in the letter below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.

Image: Todd Binger under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 10th December, 2015 8:59am



Filed under: Education, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Ofsted reports, Sandown, Top story, Youth

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