Failing school is improving, say Ofsted inspectors

Chris Pickering: Significant progress has been made in a short space of time.
Chris Pickering: Significant progress has been made in a short space of time.
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Effective action is being taken at a failing South Yorkshire primary school to turn around its fortunes, Ofsted has concluded.

Inspectors visited Brookfield Academy, in Swinton, South Yorkshire, last month for the first time since it was placed into special measures last September after receiving the lowest possible rating in all key areas.

They praised the school’s executive headteacher Julie Mills, appointed after the previous judgement, and sponsors Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) for the rapid improvement.

Leadership, safeguarding, behaviour, and teaching and learning had all improved, the education watchdog said.

Mrs Mills said: “I’m pleased inspectors have recognised the hard work put in by the team here to turn matters around. But we accept there is much still to be done and there is a determination to see the transformational change through.”

Inspectors welcomed a dramatic improvement in the learning environment, with facilities for reception and nursery children transformed since their last visit. A six-figure investment by WCAT created a new foundation stage unit which meant children were taught in a bright, light open space rather than separate classrooms.

The chief executive officer of WCAT Chris Pickering said: “Significant progress has been made in a short space of time. Our aim is to ensure children across all our academies are receiving consistently good and outstanding teaching.”

Inspectors said the quality of leadership and management has improved, with the executive headteacher “setting the vision for improvement”.

Following the previous inspection, Ofsted acknowledged that work had been completed quickly to ensure all safeguarding policies and procedures were in place. Inspectors also found children to be “articulate and confident” and beginning to make “more rapid progress”.

However, they found that attendance is unacceptably low and not improving despite the work of the school with families.