Following Ofsted's visit in July we are pleased to report, despite the pandemic slowing down our progress, we have continued on our journey of change and lots of improvements have been made. The inspectors have highlighted positive developments in different aspects of the school:
- Leaders, supported by trustees and the local authority, have begun to make positive changes to the school. The pandemic, however, has slowed a lot of their work.
- Arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Teaching and Learning
- Across the school, reading is a key feature of school life. Pupils read widely in class, experiencing a range of interesting and engaging texts from different genres and cultures.
- Staff know, and use well, appropriate phonics programmes to teach pupils to read.
- Many teachers have good subject knowledge.
- New behaviour routines with higher expectations have led to improvements. Pupils are increasingly being respectful towards their peers and teachers, particularly when in lessons.
- Leaders have raised the bar with regard to what type of behaviour is expected in the school. There is a clear set of rewards and sanctions. Personal Development is good.
Personal Development and Extra-Curricular Activities
- Personal Development is rated "Good".
- There is a growing number of clubs, trips and experiences. ... Pupils that attend clubs, such as ‘robotics’ take part in national competitions.
Vulnerable Students and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
- Leaders have improved aspects of school provision for some of the most vulnerable pupils. There is a clear process to support pupils who find reading tricky.
- Information about pupils with SEND is shared with teachers. Teachers are using this information with increasing effectiveness to improve the support that pupils with SEND receive.
- The Sixth Form provision is rated "Good".
- The Sixth Form is a harmonious community where students support and care for one another. They are excellent role models for younger pupils.
- Students in the Sixth Form are well prepared for their next step in life.
- Pupils and students in the Sixth Form access a well planned personal, health and economic education curriculum. Pupils learn about topics such as finance and relationships. They benefit from clear independent careers advice and guidance.
- The Sixth Form curriculum is clearly designed and implemented well by teachers . Assessment is appropriate and linked clearly to the key knowledge taught. Students progress well.
- Sixth Form students ... enjoy their trips abroad to places such as Italy.
Areas for Improvements and Action Being Taken in Response
Whilst inspectors noted that most students and their families are engaging positively with school life, we still have improvements to make, particularly with some students and families who have found the pandemic most challenging. To that end, we have already launched a number of strategies including:
- A ‘Student Engagement Team’ leader for each year group : These staff, working closely with the Head of Learning, will engage directly with the most vulnerable students and their families during the school day, helping ensure that these students are fully benefiting from school life.
- A free breakfast for students from families in need of assistance to ensure that students are on time and are ready for the school day.
- An expansion of alternative provision opportunities to engage vulnerable students.
- A Parent Teacher Association starting in the Autumn Term 2022 to involve parents more fully in school life.
We are working hard to improve Hertswood Academy and look forward to all students and families working with us to develop a truly cohesive community.