Winterbourne Academy given good rating by Ofsted after 'epic school improvement journey'
INSPECTORS have confirmed the turnaround in the fortunes of Winterbourne Academy by giving it a 'good' rating.
Ofsted has made its first inspection of the secondary school, four years after it replaced the Ridings Federation Winterbourne International Academy.
The report comes five years after the education watchdog found the predecessor school to be inadequate – and ten years after its last 'good' rating.
Head teacher Jason Beardmore said he was "thrilled" at the new report, which was "official recognition that we now have a Good school for the local community again".
Ofsted rated the 1,758-pupil school 'good' in all five areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, and sixth-form provision.
Writing after a two-day visit in May, the team of five inspectors said: "Pupils appreciate the high expectations the school has of them and most rise to meet them.
"Pupils take pride in their work and most strive to do their best. They are polite and courteous.
"The school’s ‘PRIDE’ values of participation, respect, integrity, determination and enthusiasm help pupils to develop their character."
The inspectors praised the "ambitious" curriculum, including work to increase the number of pupils who studying both humanities and a language, and the range of courses allowing the 297 sixth form students to "follow their individual interests and aspirations", including those at other schools run by the Olympus Academy Trust, which took over the school in 2018.
The inspectors said: "Pupils have positive attitudes to their learning. They are keen to learn, and most work hard, even when they are finding work challenging."
The report said pupils behaviour was "orderly" and any instances of bullying were "dealt with effectively by staff", as well as by anti-bullying ambassadors among the pupils.
The inspectors made criticisms in two areas – the use of "discriminatory language" by some pupils, which makes others "feel less welcome in the school", and not always identifying "gaps" in pupils' learning.
They recommended that the school further strengthen the curriculum "to ensure that it is effective in preparing all pupils for life in modern Britain" and work to identify and close gaps in learning.
Head teacher Jason Beardmore said: “I am thrilled to announce that Winterbourne Academy has been judged to be a Good school in every category, a source of immense pride for everyone at Winterbourne and The Olympus Academy Trust, and marking the culmination of an epic school improvement journey in our climb to success.
"This report is fantastic news for the Winterbourne community and brings the official recognition that we now have a Good school for the local community again.
“The Olympus Academy Trust sponsored Winterbourne Academy in 2018, appointing me, an experienced Headteacher, shortly afterwards, following a period of turbulence which included a very different and challenging inspection outcome in January 2017 when the school was judged to be inadequate.
"The challenge was daunting at times but I always believed we could do this."
He said the report reflected a transformation of the school culture and a "great deal of work by the senior leadership team and staff in the school", adding: "I would like to thank our excellent staff for their efforts during the last four years and to congratulate our students for the way in which they conducted themselves during the inspection."
Mr Beardmore said he was proud that the inspectors had noted pupils take pride in their work.
He said: "I would also like to thank parents and carers for their continued support and contribution to the school and throughout the inspection process."
The Voice reported last month that Mr Beardmore is set to leave the school at the end of term to take on a new role in Devon. His successor, Victoria Boynton, is already working alongside him ready to take charge in September.
Olympus chief executive Dave Baker said: “This recognition from Ofsted is timely and well-deserved.
"Mr Beardmore and his team have shown great qualities in securing this positive outcome and all staff, students, parents, governors and trustees can rightly be proud of Winterbourne Academy.
"They are now poised to push on to further successes, putting the challenges of the last few years firmly behind them.
"My thanks go to everyone involved in this journey of improvement over the last five years."
Picture: Winterbourne Academy head teacher Jason Beardmore with pupils.