Watchdog tells Norfolk high school it is not improving quickly enough

PUBLISHED: 07:13 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:05 16 November 2017

Acle Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Acle Academy. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

Leaders at a high school have been told they are not taking effective action to shake off special measures.

Leaders at a high school have been told they are not taking effective action to shake off special measures.

Acle Academy was put into special measures by Ofsted in December 2015 and, since then, the watchdog has visited on four occasions to track progress.

After its latest visit, in September, inspectors noted improvements but found that effective action towards removal of special measures was not being taken. They advised the school to not appoint newly-qualified teachers.

MORE: Crisis for Acle Academy after damining Ofsted report

“Leaders and governors have not maintained a sense of urgency or pace in how they raise standards in the most vital and weakest elements of the school’s provision,” they said.

Though they praised head of school Helen Watts, saying she was “passionate, diligent and committed to pupils”, they said she had not had the capacity to drive up standards.

They said that pupils are “far more positive” about experiences in almost all of their lessons, but that teaching had not improved quickly enough.

In a letter to parents, Mrs Watts said she was disappointed with the findings but recognised the areas the school needed to work on.

MORE: Acle school on ‘road to recovery’ after positive Ofsted check

“Having an Ofsted inspection in the first week of the school year is always difficult for schools as teachers are meeting their students for the first time,” they said. “However, we are pleased so many aspects of the original report have been successfully addressed and most notably that students commented, ‘the quality of teaching had improved a lot since they first joined the school’.

“We have already made measurable progress since the September inspection to improve the quality of provision in the areas highlighted... Although we are disappointed with the report we have full confidence that the school will make the developments needed to move out of a category by next term.”

Matthew Arrowsmith Brown, chair of governors, said they aspired to become “outstanding in as short a time as possible”.

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