Northern Education Trust

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred

Ofsted Notes Improvements at Thorp Academy

2nd Feb 2018

Ofsted Notes Improvements at Thorp Academy

Thorp Academy in Ryton, which is sponsored by Northern Education Trust (NET), has received an encouraging monitoring inspection report following a visit to the school just prior to Christmas.

The school was judged to require improvement in November 2016 but following its first inspection visit since then, Ofsted reported that its 'senior leaders, governors and the Trust are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement'.

Central to the changes taking place at the newly constructed academy, which has been undergoing redevelopment for the last three years, is the appointment of several senior, highly experienced staff, including a new Executive principal and a new Principal in January 2017 as well as an additional Vice Principal. The Trust has also appointed a number of specialist subject directors and senior subject directors to work across its portfolio of secondary schools.

NET has also welcomed a new chief executive officer, Mr Rob Tarn, who was appointed in September 2017 from Outwood Grange Academies Trust where he earned a national reputation for his transformational approach to school improvement.

Since his arrival, Mr Tarn has been driving through radical changes across all NET's primary and secondary academies; insisting on a relentless focus on standards, introducing collaborative learning, improving the quality of teaching in the classroom and introducing a common assessment calendar for Year 6 and Year 11. He is behind not only the pace of change, but the noticeable improvements now starting to take place.

The changes were mentioned by Ofsted inspectors who reported that leaders are improving the quality of education at the school; they have overhauled the curriculum and schemes of learning to ensure that pupils aim high; they have implemented improved tracking systems and an assessment calendar across the Trust with a specialist tracking system for vulnerable pupils whose progress is discussed weekly with teaching leaders.

The letter received acknowledges the actions that the Trust and academy leaders are taking to make rapid improvements and goes on to say that 'evidence gathered at this inspection indicates that leaders are implementing and evaluating actions effectively'.

Speaking about the monitoring inspection, executive principal, Andrew Jordon, said: "Overall, we were very pleased with the comments made by Ofsted, because the inspectors picked up on the changes we have implemented such as new strategies for teaching with consistent setting of objectives, applause moments and opportunities for collaborative learning. Our students also said that they liked the new strategies and were able to say how they contribute to their learning and progress.

"The specialist subject directors and senior subject directors who were appointed by the Trust are making a tremendous impact with the support and challenge they are providing to middle leaders in English, Maths and Humanities. One middle leader, when speaking to the inspectors, said that 'the school is more academically ambitious now', which is great news and bodes well for our future success.

"In short, the findings reflect the many changes we have already made, and we are confident that we are well on our way to delivering sustainable improvement across every measure. We are focused on continuing along this path of school improvement to ensure that all students get the very best education possible at Thorp Academy."