15th June 2017
New leadership at Balby Carr Community Academy is taking “decisive action” to turn it around, Ofsted inspectors have concluded.
Headteacher Tom Ashley was appointed permanent head teacher at the school last month (April) after a short period as interim head.
Ofsted inspectors, who visited the academy on April 25 and 26 and placed the academy in special measures, praised his immediate impact.
“The new headteacher has an accurate understanding of the work of the school,” the report says.
“He has identified what needs to be done to strengthen the school and is taking decisive action to implement his plans.
“He is training and supporting senior and middle leaders to become more effective in their work and is starting to make changes to the poor curriculum which has hindered pupils’ opportunities to reach their full potential.”
Mr Ashley has started to reorganise roles to strengthen leadership across the school and “some improvements are beginning to show,” inspectors said.
Mr Ashley said the report supported what he had found in his short time in post.
“Fundamental changes need to be made to give the community a school it deserves,” he said.
“It’s a huge challenge but I would not have taken the permanent role as headteacher if I did not think the school had the potential to improve rapidly over the coming months.
“There are some good students and staff here and what we are doing is ensuring those hard working and dedicated individuals are supported.”
Plans to tackle poor behaviour, lateness and the numbers of supply teachers were laid out by Mr Ashley in a recent letter to parents.
An instant rewards scheme, the Balby Baffle, has been launched to promote positive behaviour and a new marking scheme will ensure greater consistency.
He was also optimistic he would have a full staffing cohort in September and new safeguarding policies were being implemented. Curriculum issues highlighted in the report were also being tackled.
Volunteers are being sought to join a new parents’ focus group and members of the community were also being invited to join a local governing body that will be re-established after the previous one was criticised by Ofsted.
“Our new behaviour policy will address inspectors’ concerns about low level disruption and we’ve also made immediate changes around safeguarding,” said Mr Ashley.
“There is a lot going on but there needs to be. I’m determined this school is going to change. When inspectors return in a few months’ time, they will see the academy transformed from the one I inherited.”
Poor exam results last summer saw sponsor Wakefield City Academies Trust reassess its views of the school and Mr Ashley was appointed earlier this year.
“The multi-academy trust has increased its support for the school and is working closely with the new headteacher to strengthen effectiveness,” the Ofsted report says.
WCAT has also undergone significant change. New Chief Executive Officer Chris Pickering is an experienced leader in education with a proven track record of turning around struggling schools.
He said: “It is clear to me that this Ofsted report has been a long-time coming.
“The academy and Trust accept the report’s findings. What we need to do now is ensure the school and its new leadership team has the capacity and support they need to move on.
“We will not accept low expectations of our children among staff.
“Every child is entitled to a good or outstanding education and Balby has fallen short in this respect.
“The focus now is on improving the quality of education and the changes students and parents are experiencing will hopefully reassure them we are determined to turn things around.”