Hull free school with academic focus is rated as outstanding

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AN INNER-CITY free school which tells all its pupils they should be able to achieve at least eight GCSEs has been judged to be outstanding.

Boulevard Academy, which was set up in West Hull in 2013, has been given a top rating in all the key Ofsted inspection areas.

All pupils are expected to study the academic subjects which make up the English Baccalaureate and the school operates an extended day, a monthly Saturday school and has a four week summer holiday.

Principal Andy Grace said this meant pupils would do an extra six and half weeks of learning over the course of an academic year - and an extra year’s worth of learning during their time at the secondary school.

Ofsted praises the results of students in its first two cohorts, years seven and eight, and says some are already working at GCSE level.

Mr Grace said: “We are delighted with the report. The success of a school has to be a three way partnership between pupils, parents and the school and I have to say that the community here has really supported what we are doing at the school.”

Mr Grace said the school’s size was crucial to its success. It is small for a secondary school with 120 in each year group. Mr Grace said class sizes would be no more than 24 as pupils move up the school.

The school is based on the site of the former Hull FC Boulevard ground.

The Ofsted report praises the results of pupils, the quality of teaching, the school’s leadership and the behaviour and safety of pupils as all being outstanding.

It says: “The unrelenting focus on literacy and numeracy in the curriculum is a powerful force for improvement. Consequently attainment in English and maths is improving strongly. Most students are exceeding the standards expected for their age.”

The report also praises the longer school day and extra learning opportunities Boulevard provides.

It says: “Students’ learning needs are met well supported by small class sizes and additional adults in lessons. Extra classes stretch the most able pupils, some of whom are already working at GCSE level. Students are proud to be identified as gifted and talented and enjoy the challenge provided.”

It adds: “The extended academy day and the Saturday school provide very valuable opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of their work.”

Mr Grace said he was proud of the report and “fiercely proud of the students.” He also paid tribute to the work of his colleagues at the school.