Ofsted praise new headteacher for improving behaviour and teaching at failing Ormiston Endeavour Academy in Ipswich

Christine Woods is the new headteacher at Ormiston Endeavour Academy in Ipswich.

Christine Woods is the new headteacher at Ormiston Endeavour Academy in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

The headteacher of an Ipswich academy placed in special measures has been praised in a new Ofsted report for quickly instilling a “sharp focus” and “renewed impetus”.

Christine Woods, principal of Ormiston Endeavour Academy, formerly Thurleston High School, is improving standards in pupil behaviour and the quality of teaching, the education watchdog said.

The academy in Defoe Road was rated as inadequate and placed in special measures – the worst possible outcome – by Ofsted in April.

The news came a day after Mrs Woods, 44, replaced Samantha Penn as principal of the academy after being appointed through the government’s Talented Leaders scheme to turn around struggling schools.

After an Ofsted monitoring inspection on June 17, Her Majesty’s Inspector Paul Brooker said: “As principal, you have brought sharp focus and renewed impetus to steering and driving the academy’s improvement.

“There has been appropriate emphasis on the need for clear communication and greater consistency between staff at all levels. Central to this has been the need for greater challenge, with the mantra of ‘excellence is standard’.

“Common expectations have been established for lesson planning, behaviour management and marking.

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“There are signs that staff have embraced these requirements, but recent observations of teaching highlight the wide variation in the quality of pupils’ learning and progress.”

He also warned: “Although you, as principal, are clear about what needs to be done and confident in conveying your expectations, the academy’s senior leadership team does not have this clarity and self-assurance.

“Essential work has started to support the development of middle leaders, particularly subject leaders, so they can lead improvement and be held accountable for this.”

Mrs Woods has previously stated her aim of getting the academy out of special measures by next year.

Mr Brooker said the academy’s timescale to achieve this is “realistic and suitably ambitious” and said “robust action” has been taken to “address weaknesses in governance”. He added the academy trust has “acted swiftly to bolster leadership” and “implement plans for the academy’s recovery”.

Yesterday, Mrs Woods said: “We are delighted to have received such a positive report in such a short period of time. This reflects the hard work staff have put in to the academy and the focus that everyone has on providing our students with the best possible education.

“We are building on the further points made by Ofsted, and working closely with our talented executive board and sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust, to support our journey to outstanding.

“Our mantra of ‘excellence is standard’ challenges us to keep ambitions for our students very high.”

Last year 44% students got five or more A*-C grades, including English and maths – a drop from 50% in 2013.

Professor Toby Salt, chief executive of Ormiston Academies Trust said: “To have received such a positive report is testament to the great effort put in by Christine and her team.

“Their dedication to delivering nothing short of excellence to their students has set the academy on a very positive trajectory.”

Thurleston High School was the second school in Ipswich to become an academy in 2012.

Academies are publicly-funded independent schools, free from local authority and national government control.

It means schools can set their own pay and conditions for staff, decide on the curriculum as well as giving them the opportunity to change the length of their terms and school days.

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