Rising student achievement, and success in putting into practice its ethos of ‘CARE’ (Commitment, Acknowledgement, Respect, Excellence), are among the areas highlighted by inspectors following Attleborough Academy Norfolk’s Ofsted inspection on 20th-21st September.
In its first inspection since becoming an academy (in March 2014), Attleborough Academy Norfolk was rated as ‘Good’ for its overall effectiveness. Part of the Transforming Education in Norfolk (TEN) Group, the academy also received a ‘Good’ rating for each of the 5 key areas on which Ofsted makes inspection judgements.
Underpinning Attleborough Academy Norfolk’s improved results at both GCSE and A Level, the inspection report notes that most teaching “is consistently good, including in the sixth form, with some that is outstanding.”
The report comments on the “purposeful learning environment” that has been created within the academy by the principal, Neil McShane, and his senior leadership team. It states that “Staff and pupils are clear on the high standards that he [Mr McShane] expects” and that “the school is a calm, orderly and welcoming place.”
The academy’s ethos of ‘CARE’ (Commitment, Acknowledgement, Respect, Excellence) is seen to have been effectively embedded throughout the school by the principal and his team. The report states that “Many pupils commented to inspectors about the school’s emphasis on equality, tolerance, respect and kindness to others”. It also notes that “Attleborough pupils are very well prepared to be citizens of modern Britain.”
In relation to behaviour, the inspectors found that “Pupils enjoy school and say that they feel well supported.” Moreover, “Pupils feel that they have a voice in the school community”, with the School Council deemed to be an effective vehicle for students to express their views and make suggestions to the school leadership team.
There is also praise for the academy’s “exemplary support” provided through its Inclusion Centre and its ‘SAFE’ (School and Family Enrichment) Team, “especially for children who are looked after”.
A key development at Attleborough Academy Norfolk is recent work to strengthen links with the local business community, in order to better prepare students for their next steps after school. The report comments that “Leaders ensure that pupils are well prepared for their next stage” and “developing greater links with businesses through their ‘aspiration academy’, which will be designed to give students in the future more access to training and apprenticeships in the workplace.”
The support provided by the TEN Group, and the governance and support structure this brings, is acknowledged to have played a key role in Attleborough Academy Norfolk’s improvement: “The Norfolk Academies Trust has supported the school improvement very effectively. The work of the trust’s central services team for finance, human resources, site support and much more has ensured that leaders can focus on pupils’ achievement fully.”
Neil McShane, Principal, Attleborough Academy Norfolk, commented:
“I am delighted that Ofsted have recognised not only our strong improvements in exam results, but also the caring and supportive ethos we have instilled throughout our school community. Attleborough Academy Norfolk is a school where we seek to educate the whole child, nurturing our students to become well-prepared citizens who are respectful and tolerant, as well as successful individuals. This report provides a fair assessment of where we are currently, which is ‘Good’ with a number of exemplary features, providing confirmation that we are well on the way towards becoming outstanding.”