I am pleased to be able to share with you the latest Ofsted Inspection Report for The Chalk Hills Academy (Formerly known as West Academy). The Academy was inspected by Ofsted on the 24th and 25th September 2014. I am delighted to convey that Ofsted rated the Academy’s overall effectiveness as Good. Five key areas formed the inspection; they were Achievement of pupils, Quality of teaching, Behaviour and safety of pupils, Leadership and management and Sixth Form provision. All were judged as Good apart from our Sixth Form provision. This aspect does require improvement with respect to attainment, however the report emphasises the many strengths across this provision.
To give you a flavour of the positive comments Ofsted have made we have copied some of the highlights below:
- Ofsted recognised the quality of teaching:
Teachers use a wide variety of effective teaching strategies. Examples include clear explanations regularly interspersed with opportunities for students to apply what they have learned individually. When teachers encourage students to work on their own they are rigorous in identifying expected outcomes.
Teachers help create positive learning environments in their classrooms. Constructive, trusting relationships have been developed throughout the academy and teachers and students share an expectation that learning will begin as soon as each lesson starts. Students are confident to engage actively in lessons and feel safe to venture answers to questions and make mistakes.
The high expectations held by teachers are embodied in challenging targets for attainment which are set for all students. The academy has taken advantage of the opportunity offered by changes to the national curriculum to introduce a new assessment framework. This is helping students to understand the standards they should be aiming to achieve and whether they are on track to achieve them.
- Ofsted recognised the quality of achievement:
Students join the academy in Year 7 with standards that are well below those expected of their age. Most ability groups make very strong progress and finish Key Stage 4 with standards of attainment which are above average.
The proportion of students that attain five or more good GCSE passes including English and mathematics is higher than the national level. When compared to other schools nationally the progress made between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 at the academy overall is extremely high.
Achievement in both English and mathematics at Key Stage 4 is good. Strong teaching in both subjects ensures that students of all abilities learn well and the proportions of students achieving and exceeding nationally expected levels of progress are above average.
- Ofsted recognised the quality of behaviour:
The atmosphere in lessons is calm and studious but this does not stop class discussions being lively and engaging. Students almost always arrive at lessons with the right equipment. Attitudes to learning are routinely positive as students want to learn and these characteristics have a strong impact on their progress.
Students are hugely proud of their academy. They wear their blazers and ties smartly, do not drop litter and look after the modern, purpose-built site impeccably. They stand without instruction when any adult enters a classroom.
There is an all-pervading sense of respect for every member of the culturally diverse community at the academy. Students have a good understanding of intolerance and prejudice, but without exception they state that this is not a feature of life at the academy in any form.
- Ofsted recognised the quality of leadership:
The purposeful and caring leadership of the Principal and his senior team have created a strong academy identity and a positive ethos shared by all members of the community. Leaders successfully achieve the academy’s stated aspiration of providing ‘traditional values in a modern context’. The strength of leadership is recognised without exception by the academy’s staff.
Academy leaders establish explicitly clear expectations, rules and boundaries. These are implemented consistently throughout the academy which results in the students’ positive behaviour and attitudes. The atmosphere created allows teachers to teach effectively and students to learn well.
Academy leaders have worked successfully to ensure that students are effectively prepared for life in modern Britain. Students demonstrate a fascination in learning about the world around them and clearly exhibit a respect for the diversity which is to be found there. They understand the principles of democracy and representation, and participate enthusiastically in the life of the academy, for example through the student leadership group or by organising charity appeals.
- Ofsted recognised the sixth form provision:
Teaching in the sixth form is now good. The improvements in teaching, however, have not had time to have sufficient impact on outcomes.
The achievement of students following vocational courses is good. They make good progress and exceed national attainment levels because they are taught well.
Behaviour in the sixth from is strong. Students’ attitudes to their learning are uniformly positive. They are focused and industrious in lessons. They listen carefully to teachers and readily contribute perceptive answers when discussions are facilitated. They make constructive use of opportunities for independent learning.
A rigorous new framework for OFSTED inspections came into effect in 2012. We are very proud to have earned the rating of Good in this inspection.
Finally I want to express my gratitude to all parents, carers and community members who continually provide feedback. The views you express are very valuable in helping us to know what we are doing well and where we need to improve. I also want to thank the students and staff who made sure that their pride in West Academy was very much in evidence during the inspection.
Thank you for your continuing support for The Chalk Hills Academy. We will continue to drive forward and improve, ensuring that we are doing our best for every student.