'We are delighted' – Positive Ofsted report marks change in fortunes for struggling Ipswich school
PUBLISHED: 15:14 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 29 March 2019
Sarah Lucy brown
An Ipswich high school is celebrating a landmark Ofsted rating after years of struggling to boost performance.
Westbourne Academy in Marlow Road has been rated “good” across the board by Ofsted – in a breakthrough report that rewards years of hard work to get the school’s standards up to scratch.
The academy had previously been assessed as “requires improvement” on two occasions dating back half a decade, with pupils’ progress found to be “significantly below the national average” in December 2016.
However inspectors left their most recent visit impressed by headteacher Garry Trott’s “clear and ambitious vision” for the school – boosting the rating in every category from “requires improvement” to “good”.
Mr Trott said the team were “very proud” of the progress made at Westbourne and “delighted” that their hard work had been acknowledged.
“We began four years on our journey of giving our community a school that they could be proud of and this inspection report celebrates the relentless hard work of staff, students, governors and the trust,” he said.
“We would also like to thank the vast majority of parents who work with us in partnership to secure the best life chances for their children.”
The report, based on the inspection on March 5 and 6, praised “effective action” taken by the school to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the board.
It commended leaders for their “clear understanding of the strengths of the school”, the “broad, balanced and flexible curriculum” and “positive relationships” between pupils and staff which boost engagement.
“Throughout the school, staff are hard-working and committed to ensuring that pupils thrive, feel safe and achieve well,” it said.
“The learning environment provides a secure and stimulating place for pupils to learn and develop.”
The report also praised students for their good behaviour, “both in lessons and around the school site”.
It added: “Typically, parents responding to Ofsted’s online questionnaire, Parent View, think that the school is well led and managed and that leaders respond well to parental concerns.
“One parent, with views similar to others, said: ‘The school is constantly and consistently driving standards up.’”
The outlook was also good for children with special educational needs (SEND), as inspectors noted the school’s dedicated Oasis centre “provides support that is well matched to the needs of vulnerable pupils”.
“Pupils with SEND told inspectors that they are supported well by teachers and the pastoral team,” the report added.
The school, previously known as Westbourne Sports College, converted to an academy in 2013 and received its first inspection in December 2014, where it was judged to require improvement in all areas.
An interim visit by inspectors in March 2015 assessed the school to be taking effective action in a number of areas, but highlighted further improvements were needed in staff skills and homework.
In the most recent report, inspectors recommended the school could improve further if leaders work to boost attendance and reduce persistent absences, especially for disadvantaged pupils.
A spokesman for Academy Transformation Trust (ATT), which runs the school, said: “This is an extremely befitting inspection report and the judgement confirms what we already knew about the sustained improvements that have been made at Westbourne Academy under Garry’s excellent leadership.
“ATT are very proud that they have been able to support the academy on their journey to provide the community with the good school it deserves.”