A STRUGGLING Coventry academy school is showing “promising” signs of improvement after a damning Ofsted report last year, a government adviser says.
The Grace Academy is also to turn to Coventry City Council for more support.
It follows concerns raised in Paliament by Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson this month about Grace Academy School in Woodway Park, which was placed in ‘special measures’ by watchdog Ofsted last year.
As we reported last week, Ofsted in November wrote to the school in Wigston Road to say it was still not making sufficient progress following its ‘inadequate’ rating last March.
Ofsted had criticised the school for quality of leadership and teaching, pupils’ behaviour, and exam results, with just 32 per cent of pupils achieving 5A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths.
The regional schools commissioner was brought in to provide external advice to the Grace Academy Trust, which also runs two other Midlands academies.
Pank Patel, West Midlands’ regional schools commissioner said this week: “We are confident that the measures they are taking to address the underperformance of these schools will result in young people receiving a much better education.
“We have seen predictive data that looks promising. The new team led by Chief Executive Officer Jamie Clarke, is undoubtedly having an impact, as well as work with Sponne Teaching School in Northamptonshire.”
Chris Watt, a governor on the school’s Academy Improvement Monitoring Board, said: “..There is still work to do, but having seen what’s happened already I am confident that the academy is on the way to being a school the local community can be rightly proud of.”
Principal Colin Boxall, said: “We have been very focused internally on tackling the issues that have needed to be addressed and we are now keen to build a closer working relationship with the local authority who we are meeting next week.
“I am extremely pleased with the progress the children are making and improvements in teaching have been verified by two external reports.
“I am looking forward to the outcome of the latest Ofsted monitoring report which I am confident will support this progress.”
In a statement from the school, teacher Chris Hernon also said: “We have had issues to address, and a break in leadership can take a term or two to steady the ship, but Colin Boxall has got the staff working together.”
The Grace Academy was set up in new buildings under the previous Labour government, which only sought to academise failing schools in disadvantaged areas.
The coalition government has since encouraged all schools to convert to academies with more freedom from councils, and most secondary schools in Coventry have done so.