Beaufort Co-operative Academy - Ofsted Site
Questions from Parents Regarding Beaufort’s Ofsted Inspection
What is Special Measures?
Special Measures is an outcome when the provision an academy demonstrates in certain areas is deemed Inadequate. Ofsted inspect 5 areas of an academy’s provision and judge that they are either Outstanding, Good, Require Improvement or are Inadequate. The lowest grade in all the categories is the overall judgement.
Special Measures provides additional support and sometimes resources for academies to drive the rapid improvement required in the areas identified in the report.
How do Ofsted judge schools? Is it compared to other schools/results regionally or nationally?
Ofsted use criteria for every inspection based on the Ofsted Handbook
How do Ofsted provide academy improvement?
Simply put, they don’t. Ofsted inspect standards in schools but do not provide a school improvement service after inspection.
What measures have already been put in place since the inspection? What are the priorities?
Immediately following the inspection an action plan was put in place, which shows how the areas highlighted in the report will be put right quickly. We have also added additional support to the governors, leadership and teaching staff. Timescales are swift and reflect the need to show rapid improvement. Key areas to be addressed quickly relate to:
· Leadership and Governance
· Teaching and Learning
· Student Behaviour
· The Curriculum
What are the immediate improvements to the highlighted areas in the report?
We have already seen a significant improvement in behaviour in areas where there were concerns. We have altered our behaviour management to add extra support where this is required. We have already made staffing changes and are working with teachers where it is identified that teaching must improve. Our curriculum is being reviewed and will ensure that all students receive lessons that challenge them at an appropriate level.
There seems to have been little improvement in some areas since the last inspection. Why is this?
Our own self-evaluation was that some areas were improving well and were good, whilst some areas required more improvement. In a number of areas we have been able to demonstrate good progress and the report demonstrates this. In other areas of our development plan, progress was judged as not quick enough or not having enough impact at the time of the inspection. We recognise the fact that in some areas things are not good enough yet and we are working to improve these areas quickly.
Does the head think he is in a position to lead improvements?
Yes I do. Leadership was judged to be inadequate because the pace of change in some areas was not rapid enough. I recognise that in some areas our practice needs to improve and in some areas is simply not good enough. It is my responsibility to make sure these areas improve in as quick a time as possible with the support of governors, leaders, staff and parents.
What is being done to improve behaviour in classrooms?
We operate a Restorative Practice approach to securing positive behaviour and constantly review this. Since October we have made some changes to our approaches to dealing with students who disturb lessons, to ensure they are dealt with quickly, to allow learning to take place in all lessons. This is showing good results. Positive behaviour is a focus for Heads of Year and if you have any concerns regarding this you should contact your child’s Head of Year in the first instance.
With regard to the speed of this change, this is our first priority and is happening now. We would expect results very quickly.
Like every school, we have some very clear lines on more extreme negative behaviour and regrettably, must sometimes use sanctions such as exclusion to ensure that our expectations in these areas are very clear. We always work with parents in these instances and sometimes, rarely, we inevitably disagree with parents about the stance we take. All decisions are taken in the best interests of the students at Beaufort.
Staff appear not to be implementing new policies and strategies consistently – how is this being addressed? Is poor teaching being challenged?
Consistency is absolutely central to ensuring we make the rapid progress needed in the areas identified in the report. Staff will be supported to make the changes necessary but also challenged to ensure that all provision – every lesson, every day – is of a good standard. Where this is not the case these matters will be challenged robustly.
If the Governing Body are now taking measures for improvement, why could they not see this was needed before?
The governors play a key role in the leadership of the academy and the evaluation of progress. The report highlights a lack of challenge from governors in some areas to drive improvement swiftly enough. The Local Governing Body are working hard to address this area and are receiving more training to do so. The capacity of the governors has been increased by the introduction of and Interim Management Committee, who will monitor the progress of the Ofsted Action Plan
How many Governors have an education background?
The Trust Board has members who are highly skilled in a range of areas that are required to run a trust, such as education, finance, human resources and business management. The Local Governing Body has day today management of Beaufort and contains 5 acting school senior leaders as well as other education professionals and elected parents.
What measures are to be taken to improve the safety of all children?
Ofsted always inspect safeguarding throughout the inspection and look for key indicators, such as the checking procedures for appointing staff, but also a ‘culture of safeguarding’. Ofsted found all our safeguarding processes to be strong and robust.
As a parent, how can I support my child and the school during this time?
Supportive parents play an absolutely crucial role in a child’s education and progress. Speak to your child about how they are getting on, what work they are doing, how much homework they are getting and if they feel stretched and challenged. If there are concerns, please tell us and we can address these. Please ensure that your child attends every day and has the equipment they will need for the day to access all lessons effectively. Encourage the completion of homework and if there is no homework (this should be rare) there is always the chance to do so reading or some revision leading up to exams.
What happened to the ‘OUR’ program for year 7 that chose Beaufort over grammar schools? How do you support the most able?
The OUR Pathway is in place. Children on the accelerated pathway are in lessons together for some subjects where their progress can be accelerated at a rate suitable to their ability. Additional opportunities outside of lesson time are also planned.
The most able students should be challenged to achieve the highest grades at all levels and in all subjects. We do this by making sure that our procedures for setting are correct, that lessons are planned at the correct level to challenge learners, that homework plays a key role in this process and that our career guidance clearly points out progression routes after school. Our success at sixth form level and increased students going to university and gaining apprenticeships are good signs.
How will pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs) be supported to attain good progress in KS4, can financial provision be made to have adequate support staff in place?
We have a very strong SEND department who work with students with identified needs, both in the classroom and in small groups or one to one. Most subjects at key stage four are now heavily loaded towards an end of course exam and so the focus for these students is to prepare effectively to be successful in these. Sometimes students need alternative courses or different pathways and the SEN team will identify and direct towards these.
Funding for SEN is an issue across the county, not just at Beaufort, and is likely to become a significant issue in the near future.
How can a clear vision that I understand as a parent not be understood by all teaching staff?
The vision for all of us remains the same – to provide the best possible education and support for all students to enable them to achieve the highest possible outcomes for themselves. To our students, I say “be the best version of yourself you can be”. We need to work to ensure that all staff live this through their actions and dealings with students every day and are united in delivering this.
How are you tackling bullying? Sometimes some pupils who are bullied say they don’t feel supported by teachers – why?
Bullying is always dealt with when we know about it – it is nevertolerated. A small number of students still find it hard to tell us – we need to work on this as a priority.
Bullying is often complex and every case is different – our skilled pastoral staff will use a range of techniques to resolve issues. Sometimes we do not get it right straight away and need to re-visit what we have done. We should always tell you the outcome of what we have done.
The message to students is - if you tell us, we can do something about it.
As parents, you are understandably keen to have good communication with the academy when such incidents happen. We need to work to ensure that we do this effectively every time and I am keen to make sure that parents who have experienced less than good communication do not experience this again.
What are you doing to improve teaching (within core subjects)?
Ensuring the quality of teaching in all subjects, where this is required, is a priority. Students spend a significant proportion of time working on the ‘core’ of English, mathematics and science and these are therefore crucial areas. We have recruited well in these areas and this term there are some new staff in core subjects, working well with our students.
All teaching is monitored closely in a range of ways by managers. Where standards are not good enough, in areas of classroom practice, setting homework or student progress steps are put in place swiftly to support colleagues in improving their practice. Special Measures will mean we will have additional capacity to do this and timescales for improvement will be very short, with week by week review.
Do you only employ qualified teachers and do you employ unqualified teachers?
We are fully staffed. All teachers who work with groups of students are qualified to do so. Some staff who work with much smaller groups hold a different qualification to the QTS but all are qualified.
Why are there quite a few supply teachers?
This year, since September, we have taken a clear decision not to use supply teachers, as they do not provide the continuity and consistency students need. Very rarely, where a member of staff is away for a prolonged period, we may draft in a replacement for the same reasons of continuity. This should be very rare.