Ofsted inspectors who visited Stoke Gifford’s Abbeywood Community School at the end of February have confirmed the academy’s ‘good’ grading but at the same time identified priorities for improvement.
The ‘short’ inspection was the first carried out since the school was rated ‘good’ in October 2014, following its incorporation into the Olympus Academy Trust (OAT) on 1st January 2013.
Inspectors noted that the headteacher, Dr David Howe, who was appointed in January 2015, has successfully developed a culture of collaboration among staff and secured the confidence and support of the vast majority of parents. As a result, the school has grown in popularity and the number of pupils on roll is steadily rising.
The report points out that pupils’ progress fell in 2017, but acknowledges that support from the trust and other sources has been used to ensure that “the progress of most groups of pupils currently in the school is now better”.
Inspectors describe the school as “highly inclusive”, adding that it provides a “friendly, orderly environment”.
On the topic of safeguarding, the report states: “The school’s policies and procedures for keeping pupils safe are well organised and effective.”
“Pupils feel safe and well cared for in school. They are aware of how to keep themselves safe when using the internet.”
“Both pupils and parents say that any bullying that happens is dealt with quickly and effectively.”
Senior leaders at the school are praised for continually seeking improvements in teaching and learning, while governors are said to be knowledgeable and prepared to “challenge senior leaders robustly”.
Inspectors report that pupils are proud of their school, saying that it is a welcoming and inclusive place where all pupils are accepted. Pupils’ transfer from primary school is supported by teachers very effectively. As a result, relationships between pupils and staff are typically positive and constructive from the beginning.
The vast majority (91 percent) of parents who responded to the Parent View survey over the last 12 months said they would recommend this school to others.
On the downside, the report expresses concern over students’ attainment at GCSE level in maths, geography and history and says the most able pupils are not being challenged consistently across the school.
It is also noted that the proportion of disadvantaged pupils who attained a grade 5 or better in both GCSE English and mathematics was less than half that of other pupils nationally. Furthermore, efforts to improve disadvantaged pupils’ attendance has not been successful in some cases.
In the light of the fact that inspectors identified a number of priorities for improvement, the school has been told to expect a ‘full’ inspection next time, which Ofsted guidelines indicate will be within the next two years.
• Students and parents at another OAT secondary, Bradley Stoke Community School, have been told to expect an Ofsted inspection “soon after we return to school after the Easter holidays”.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine (on page 28). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,200 homes in Bradley Stoke and Little Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.