Academy status helps promote ‘Christian character’ of Yorkshire school, inspection report claims

Pupils at Christ Church Academy.
Pupils at Christ Church Academy.
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ACHIEVING ACADEMY status has helped to promote the Christian character of a primary school, according to a religious inspection report.

Two Church of England (CE) academies in the Bradford district have welcomed improved reports in their statutory religious inspections.

Immanuel College, a secondary school in Thackley made the move from good in 2010 to the highest possible grade of outstanding in 2016 in its SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) inspection. The College was described as being “highly effective and distinctive because of the excellent leadership of the headteacher who is challenged and supported by a knowledgeable governing body and a dedicated and talented leadership team”.

Headteacher Jane Tiller said: “There is a real culture and commitment to drive performance across schools in the district. Immanuel College is one of many schools in Bradford setting pupil achievement and community well-being as their highest priorities so that our pupils leave school with the foundations for a very bright future.”

Christ Church Academy, a primary in Shipley, moved from a satisfactory judgement in 2010 to a good judgement in its SIAMS inspection. The report said that “academy status and strengthened leadership has led to substantial strengthening of the Christian character of the school resulting in a much improved climate for learning”.

Philippa Foster, Head teacher at Christ Church said she was pleased with both the reports’ findings of the inspection and the supportive comments from parents as part of the inspection.

SIAMS is a church led inspection framework which considers how church schools are using their underpinning Christian values and ethos. Schools are judged on both “the effectiveness of their provision and the distinctiveness of their delivery.”

Both schools are part of the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) was set up in 2012 to support and sponsor academies in the city on behalf of the CE Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales.

BDAT currently sponsors three Church of England Primary Academies, St Oswald’s in Great Horton, Christ Church Academy in Shipley and St Philip’s in Girlington. It also supports Bradford Forster Academy and Immanuel College which joined the Trust in the 2015-16 academic year.

BDAT said: “By the end of 2016 we aim to have grown to support nine open academies. Our rapid growth is in response to both the emerging political agenda encouraging schools to consider academisation, as set out in the Education White paper “Education Excellence Everywhere” and as a result of schools requesting permission to join the trust.”

Richard Noake, the diocesan director of education for West Yorkshire and the Dales said: “SIAMs is a statutory inspection framework for all Church schools that sits alongside Ofsted inspections. It asks very similar questions to Ofsted about how effectively the school is delivering outcomes for children and it particularly asks how well the Christian ethos and values that underpins the work of the school contribute to these outcomes. Both Immanuel and Christ Church have demonstrated that through their unique delivery of these values, the thoughtful collective worship, the effective R.E. and dynamic leadership, they have created school environments that can drive successful and inspiring learning.”