Northern Education Trust

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Blyth Academy Moves to the Next Level on its Journey Towards Becoming Outstanding

23rd Jun 2015

Blyth Academy Moves to the Next Level on its Journey Towards Becoming Outstanding

Les Walton, chair of Northern Education (left) with Alison Jobling, principal at The Blyth Academy.

The Blyth Academy, which is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, has received judgement by Ofsted which marks the next stage in the school?s journey towards becoming outstanding.

The inspection, which took place over 19-20 May, reported that while Blyth Academy still requires improvement, senior leaders, including governors and Northern Education Trust, have a firm focus on the academy?s improvement priorities and as a result, past underperformance and underachievement are being systematically tackled in the drive to provide a good education for all students.

It noted that recent changes to strengthen and sharpen leadership and management have not yet had time to make a full impact but said that ?ever more confident and skilled leadership in English and mathematics is playing a key role in raising students? achievement. Students? improved attendance and the reduction in exclusions reveal ?tangible improvements? in students? behaviour and attitude to work.

The Blyth Academy, which caters for students aged from 11-18, is smaller than the average-sized secondary school with 828 students on roll, 108 of which are in the sixth form. It has been sponsored by the Northern Education Trust since October 2013.

When its predecessor school, Blyth Community College was last inspected by Ofsted in 2012, it was judged to be in need of special measures, so this latest Ofsted judgement is viewed very positively as a major milestone by Northern Education Trust and the governing body in its journey to becoming an outstanding school.

Since converting to an academy there have been significant changes in staffing at all levels including a whole-academy restructuring, which has taken place during the early part of this year to ensure financial viability, together with a reorganisation of senior leadership.

Commenting on the judgement, Alison Jobling, Principal, said:

?The report reflects that we are on track to continue securing further improvement in all areas ?attendance, better attitudes towards behaviour and learning and, of course improving results. It is testimony to the efforts of staff and students that we have come this far in a relatively short space of time. Naturally, we are delighted, but there is more to be done and even when we get to outstanding we?ll be looking for the next challenge. However, we are already securing a brighter future for all our students."

The report also noted that the ?well-led governing body is totally committed to securing the academy?s improvement at a much faster rate? and mentioned the ?uncompromising level of challenge? that the governing body presents to senior leaders when driving the academy forward. The governing body includes an extensive range of expertise and experience, firmly underpinned by sponsor know-how. This is welcome news for chief executive of the Northern Education Trust, Ian Kershaw. He added:

?I am very pleased to see that Ofsted has mentioned the hugely important role of the governing body and the Trust in helping the academy to move forwards. There has been a great deal of effort made at all levels.

?I would particularly like to thank Alison Jobling for her sterling work in driving the academy forward. She has worked tirelessly with the staff, ourselves as sponsor and the governing body to get the academy on track. I am also delighted to announce that at the start of the new academic year, The Blyth Academy will welcome a new Principal, Sarah Ramsden, from Dyke House Academy (an outstanding school), who will, with Alison and other leaders and staff add further pace to improvement.

"The Northern Education Trust will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure that The Blyth Academy gets the level of support it needs on its journey to becoming outstanding."

The Ofsted report also noted that students feel safe at The Blyth Academy and are provided with good support. The behaviour of students in the sixth form is good and students are helpful, polite and conscientious, playing an active role in academy life, mentoring younger students. Parents and carers too are particularly appreciative of the help and support their families receive.

Last year all 26 students who applied to university were accepted and almost 70 per cent were offered their first choice, which was a marked increase on the year before. Numbers of students choosing to come to The Blyth Academy also continue to increase and are up again significantly on what they were last year and for the second year running.