Northern Education Trust

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred

Abbey Park Pleased with Progress

3rd Aug 2015

Abbey Park Pleased with Progress

Abbey Park Academy in Halifax, which is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, has been judged good for both the behaviour and safety of its pupils as well as for its early years provision in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Whilst it was awarded a judgment of 'requires improvement' overall, inspectors said that the Northern Education Trust had provided appropriate and effective professional advice to the school which has helped the new acting principal, Mrs Emme Ford and other colleagues, to raise standards.

Abbey Park, which is a smaller than average-sized primary school, has 211 pupils aged three to eleven years. It has been sponsored by Northern Education Trust since December 2013 and its new acting principal has only been in post since January this year.

The report commented that the actions taken by Mrs Ford have already led to significant improvements in the quality of teaching in all subjects. It stated that 'she is clear about her vision for the school and wants every pupil to have an equal opportunity to succeed and to be free from any form of discrimination ... Staff are clearer about what they need to do to become more effective practitioners. As a result, teaching has improved and there are higher expectations of what pupils can achieve.'

It also noted that good quality provision in the early years is enabling children to learn well, particularly in the nursery, which is allowing them to make good progress and become well prepared for their first year of schooling.

Mrs Ford is delighted with the report given the short time she has had available to make a difference. She said:

"There are some very positive comments made by Ofsted within the report, which give me great satisfaction, but there is still a lot of work to do in the areas of teaching and middle leadership and we are already hard at work looking at our forward plan to address the areas where we can improve.

"Sporting activities are a strong feature of the school, which the inspectors noted and we are keen to encourage all our pupils to be proud of representing their school. I was also pleased to read that the inspectors could see how positive the children's attitudes to learning are, which is all very promising for the future.

"I have had a great deal of support from the Trust, my governing body and my teaching staff, which has been fantastic and has allowed me to make rapid progress. I would like to thank everyone and of course, all Abbey Park children - who continue to be amazing - for all their hard work throughout the year as we near the end of term."

Ian Kershaw, chief executive of the Northern Education Trust, added:

"Emme has made a great start and it is very pleasing to read that Ofsted recognised this too. As a trust, we are absolutely committed to providing every child with the best possible education. The inspectors noted that teaching is improving and standards are rising, particularly in mathematics and commented that significant energy had gone into improving the skills and confidence of teachers. This will continue and I am certain that Abbey Park now has the right foundations in place to become an outstanding school in the near future."

Northern Education Trust places great emphasis on a high standard of governance in all of its academies. The chair of the governing body, John Collings, who was noted by Ofsted as being 'a skilful lead' is working closely with the acting principal and the trust to appoint further high calibre governors who are capable of directing Abbey Park towards a successful future.

Abbey Park is one of 20 academies (ten primary and ten secondary) sponsored by the Northern Education Trust throughout the North West and North East of England. Locally, these include Mount Pellon Primary Academy in Halifax and Merlin Top Primary Academy in Keighley.