Northern Education Trust

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred

School Could Be Removed From Special Measures If Current Progress Continues

6th Feb 2018

School Could Be Removed From Special Measures If Current Progress Continues

Ryecroft Primary Academy in Holmewood, Bradford, which was judged by Ofsted to require special measures in November 2016, has been advised that if this pace of progress continues, the school could be removed from special measures in the required timescale.

Following its second monitoring inspection visit since it was placed in a category a year ago, Ofsted inspectors advised that its leaders and managers are now taking effective action after observing whether the various issues identified for improvement at that time, were being effectively addressed.

Northern Education Trust (NET), Ryecroft Academy's sponsor, has made dramatic changes since the 2016 inspection took place.

The appointment of new staff - a principal, Mrs Helen Pearson, and assistant principal together with a range of teachers and teaching assistants - has enabled the school to take a big step forward.

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.

Mr Tarn is making 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.

Aside from its major investment in talented teaching staff, another important factor in the way that the academy is developing, has come from the support NET has brokered via the Northern Alliance from the nearby Delta Academies Trust, which is based in Knottingley, Wakefield. As a result, Ofsted inspectors noted that leadership has improved since the last inspection and because of the increased number of skilled leaders bringing solid experience and expertise, there are more resources available for improvement.

Ofsted commented that the new Principal had 'hit the ground running, making rapid and positive changes and getting to know parents.' They go on to say that her 'hard work, commitment, dedication and fortitude have re-energised the school' and although the school is not as far along in its development as it might otherwise be due to volatility in staffing, 'leaders are taking effective action and it is conceivable, if improvement continues at the current pace, that the school could be removed from special measures in the required timescale.'

Commenting on this latest monitoring inspection, Mrs Pearson said: "Over the last few months I have been encouraged by the pace of change introduced. Everything has moved on - progress tracking of all pupils, which is essential, so we can benchmark success; improvements in teaching and learning are clear to see; teaching staff are more ambitious for their pupils and our pupils have an appetite for learning.

"We have begun to review the use of pupil premium funding, which was raised as an issue a year ago and we have implemented a temporary strategy for improving outcomes for our most disadvantaged pupils.

"We have also implemented a new behaviour policy which teaching staff are applying with increasing consistency. This has already led to improvements and I was personally delighted to learn that Ofsted inspectors detected a 'tangible improvement in the atmosphere around the school' too. We will continue to strengthen our approaches in this regard so that more pupils consistently work hard and are able to sustain better progress.

"Importantly, staff are very positive about the partnership with Delta Academies Trust and although it is early days, I am confident that this relationship will deliver the desired outcomes for us.

"We acknowledge that there is still much to do and we cannot afford to slow down the pace of change for a moment, but I believe that the journey has convincingly begun. We are committed to giving Ryecroft children the education they so richly deserve."

Northern Education Trust was established in 2012 and operates 20 academies - ten primary and ten secondary - throughout North East and North West England.