Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

Sustained Improvement for Blyth Academy

28th Oct 2014

Sustained Improvement for Blyth Academy

A local school which converted to an academy in October 2013 is now on course to make sustained and rapid improvement.

Northern Education Trust (NET) took over the running of The Blyth Academy (formerly Blyth Community College) after it had experienced a significant decline in its performance when under the control of the local authority.

An Ofsted inspection in March 2012 highlighted the unsatisfactory standard of student achievement at the school, together with persistent weaknesses in health and safety practice, which led to the intervention of the Department for Education (DfE) and the judgment that the school needed Special Measures.

One year later, Les Walton CBE, NET?s chairman, who was the keynote speaker at the academy?s recent prize-giving ceremony this week, said that the strengthening of its senior leadership team and a clearer focus on governance and accountability had ensured that Blyth Academy was now developing caring, confident and capable children.

He noted that 26 of last year?s sixth form students had secured first choice university places and that there was also growing confidence in the Academy from the local community, borne out by a sharp increase in pupil numbers in year seven and into the sixth form.

He reported that the Academy?s unrelenting drive on planning and teaching had resulted in 50% of this year?s Year 11 students achieving an A*-C in English (14% up on the previous year and the highest it?s been in the last three years) while 47% of this year?s Year 11 achieved an A*-C in maths.

This reflected an improvement of 6% on the previous year, even when the tougher assessment rules were applied.

He reported that there had also been an improvement of 22% in expected progress in English to 60% and expected progress in maths had also been improved by 9% taking it above its best ever level.

Principal, Alison Jobling, took up her role on conversion. She is satisfied that things are heading in the right direction. She said: ?Although not yet still where they need to be because of a five-year legacy of underperformance, the progress measures are particularly pleasing and it is clear from early progress analyses across the curriculum that our drive to improve teaching is beginning to pay dividends.

?Our own assessment of progress merely supports that of Her Majesty?s Inspector earlier in the year who commented that ?significant strides are being taken to improve the academy? and that ?inspection evidence confirms that the improvements noted at the previous monitoring visit continue to be consolidated?.

?The Blyth Academy teaching staff are all very fortunate to have such wide-ranging support from the Northern Education Trust whose trustees bring invaluable experience gained over distinguished teaching careers and who are passionate about creating the very best life opportunities for all children under their care.?

Mr Walton added: ?We now have the best attendance levels at the school, meeting the national targets for the first time ever and as I walk around the school I am really impressed by the high standards of behaviour. The quality of lessons has improved significantly and we are also offering a vast range of extra-curricular activities which include a cycling club, Lego club, a green powered racing car, a business and enterprise club and a number of charitable events.

?As an organisation we are never satisfied that the rate of improvement is fast enough, but throughout all our academies, there is a continuous process of review and reflection to implement changes at all levels of leadership so that we can accelerate further the pace of improvement.?