Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

Inspection Report for Merlin Top is Encouraging

22nd Apr 2015

Inspection Report for Merlin Top is Encouraging

A recent Ofsted inspection of Merlin Top Primary Academy in Keighley has said there is ?tangible evidence? that ?the decisive action taken to tackle under performance is having a positive impact on pupils? achievement, behaviour and enjoyment of learning?.

Although Ofsted?s judgement was that the academy still requires improvement, the report has been well received by the new executive headteacher, Shirley Davison, her senior leadership team, Merlin Top parents and academy sponsor, the Northern Education Trust.

Merlin Top converted to academy status in April 2013 and Ofsted noted that there have been several changes to the board of governors as well as significant staff changes since that time, the most notable of which is the appointment of the new executive headteacher in November 2014, who is a national leader of education.

The report was positive about the impact she has made and noted that she had ?quickly grasped the most important areas to be tackled?, introducing changes which are starting to make a real difference, for example in teaching and assessment. As a result, pupils? achievement is improving.

It also stated that morale is higher and leaders have taken action to improve teaching by using a more thorough approach to performance management and undertaking better staff training, which has been welcomed by all. The academy is successfully keeping children safe, pupils enjoy school and feel safe and parents are also confident that their children are well cared for.

Going forward, the focus will be very much on building from this more positive position to close the gaps in attainment and allow pupils to benefit from a consistently high standard of teaching. Strenuous efforts will also be made to improve further the effectiveness of leaders and managers with the ultimate goal of raising the aspirations of the entire academy community.

Speaking about the report and Merlin Top?s future, Mrs Davison comments:

?I am very pleased with the progress we are already starting to see at Merlin Top but there is still a lot of work to be done. I am determined to ensure that Merlin Top provides an inspirational environment for staff and pupils alike so that everyone achieves their very best work.

?I have received a very warm welcome from everyone ? staff, pupils, parents, the wider community and school governors. We have made a good start and with the high level of expertise available within the Northern Education Trust, it is my intention to take the school forward to a much brighter future where children are confident, get the most out of school life and develop a real passion for learning.?

Ian Kershaw, chief executive of the Northern Education Trust, added: ?Shirley is an outstanding headteacher and is well versed in turning the tide in schools that are underperforming. We have every confidence that she will continue to make a huge difference and provide exactly the right kind of attention to detail plus the strong, visionary leadership that Merlin Top children deserve.?

Governance has recently improved and is increasingly effective according to Ofsted. This will also provide a firmer foundation for the school?s development in the future.