Flagship academy acts fast after Ofsted blow

Published on: 01 Aug 2016

JOHN Cabot Academy, the flagship school in the Cabot Learning Federation, has been hit by a sharp decline in its Ofsted rating.

It follows a snap inspection in June when the watchdog uncovered a number of concerns, particularly over the behaviour of students.

The Ofsted team said boisterous older boys made some younger students feel unsafe in outdoor areas of the school.

As a result, although teaching and learning and exam results were still found to be good, JCA's overall rating was reduced to the third level of Requires Improvement. In its last inspection in 2009, it was judged at the highest grade of Outstanding.

Leaders at the school in Woodside Road, Kingswood, which takes in students from a wide area of east Bristol and South Gloucestershire, said rapid action had been taken since the inspection to tackle the behaviour issues.

Parents were invited to meetings at the school before the end of the academic year to update them on what had been done and what is planned for next year.

Simon White, who is joining the school as principal in September, said in a letter to families that his priority was ensuring that the overall quality of experience of children and young people at JCA was of the quality they deserved.

He praised the strong leadership of the interim principal Lis Jolley in taking swift and effective  measures in response to Ofsted's findings.

Steve Taylor, chief executive of the CLF, which educates thousands of young people in its 13 schools, said: “We have undertaken decisive action since the inspection took place to address the immediate concerns about behaviour. This has included a review of systems and a re-clarification of behavioural expectations for all, which has led to swift improvements in the short term.

“As the inspection report notes, the academy leadership has been proactive in recent months in revising and implementing improvement plans both in the main school and in Post 16, and these are having a demonstrable impact.”

He said Mr White was set to “hit the ground running” in September but admitted that the inspection outcome had been a blow.

“The inspection outcome is hugely disappointing for all concerned,” he said.

“There is a great deal of passion for John Cabot Academy among the staff that work there, who have high expectations for their school.

“GCSE outcomes for this summer are projected to remain positive and Post 16 outcomes are likely to improve.  Nevertheless, for current pupils and those about to join in Year 7, we are confident that the excellent standards for which John Cabot Academy has become known will be re-established quickly and that the academy will emerge from this difficult period even stronger.”

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