23 May 2017

Ofsted praises rapidly-improving school and ‘high impact’ of learning partnership

The rapidly-improving John Willmott School is another step closer to moving out of special measures following a positive monitoring inspection this month by education watchdog, Ofsted.

Inspectors have praised pupils’ ‘positive attitudes to learning’ teachers’ ‘strong subject knowledge’ and the ‘ambitious’ staff. They have commended the school’s progress in teaching and learning, leadership, and student behaviour, concluding that John Willmott is, ‘taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.’

The popular school – which is currently offering year 7 places for September – has been recognised by Ofsted for its work with school improvement partner, the ‘well-regarded’ Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP). Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) appointed the multi-academy trust to support the school and now inspectors have applauded the, ‘strong, successful and beneficial links, forged with other schools in the MAT.’

Experienced ATLP headteacher Tracey Peters, who joined John Willmott in September, has brought an, ‘energy and enthusiasm’ to the school.

Ms. Peters said:

We are delighted that Ofsted can see all the improvements our school has made and that we are well on the way to moving out of special measures as quickly as possible.

It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff, students and our community that we are turning this school around. Ofsted’s finding confirm what we already know – that this is an ambitious school with increased expectations. Students love learning and we are proud of their behaviour.”

The report has highlighted these improvements by confirming that, ‘there are positive attitudes towards learning.’

Ofsted has reported, ‘Pupils now have more pride in the work they produce. Pupils say that teaching has improved and they find lessons in English, science, physical education and art particularly exciting.’

Ofsted has also recognised progress being made by pupils, especially in science, while in years 12 and 13, ‘the proportion of sixth form students expected to achieve higher grades in academic qualifications looks set to improve.’

Portrait of success: John Willmott School celebrates pupil and staff achievements at its awards ceremony earlier this year

Ms. Peters said: “Our students are making real progress and we expect to see improved results this summer in all areas. This is down to a relentless focus on excellence in teaching and learning and the determination of our wonderful students.”

The schools’ improvements in teaching have been welcomed by Ofsted, with inspectors identifying teachers’: ‘strong subject knowledge’. They added that there was a, ‘more consistent approach to teaching and expectations’ through the appointment of specialist teachers in science and maths – which had, ‘a positive impact on pupils’ enjoyment of these subjects, which supports their attainment and leads to an increased interest in these subjects’.

The monitoring inspection has reported favourably on the development, behaviour and welfare of students. ‘Positive relationships between pupils and staff are clearly evident in the classrooms,’ and, ‘pupils are very positive about the praise they now receive from staff,’ Ofsted observed. In addition, pupils feel safe, secure and well cared for, while punctuality and attendance are improving.

The school has made noticeable improvements to its leadership and governance. By collaborating with an ATLP national leader of education (NLE) leaders are showing greater confidence in their roles, as are all staff.

Ofsted has described staff as, ‘enthusiastic and optimistic and excited about the direction the school is taking.’  Tracey Peter’s positive approach has, ‘spread among staff,’ Ofsted found. ‘There is a culture of relishing challenge’…‘Staff are supportive of the changes and the development taking place at the school and are ambitious for the future. Staff are working very hard to bring about change.’

Richard Gill, CEO of the ATLP, is encouraged by the value that staff place on the support of the partnership, while Ofsted stated: ‘colleagues from the multi-academy trust provide effective support, which has had a high impact on the school this year.’

Richard said: “This is fantastic news for everybody in the school community and I congratulate Tracey and her team on making such progress in just a few months.

“Clearly, inspectors saw a different school – one transformed by raised standards and the fantastic attitudes of staff and students. We are pleased that Ofsted also recognised the ‘high impact’ that the ATLP has had in supporting this school on its improvement journey and together, we will make a real difference to the educational outcomes of every child.”