Huge turnaround at Halifax school rated inadequate by Ofsted

Mount Pellon Vice-principal Ruth Collyer, left, and Principal Chris Walton, right, celebrating success with pupils
Mount Pellon Vice-principal Ruth Collyer, left, and Principal Chris Walton, right, celebrating success with pupils

A Halifax primary school rated as inadequate by Ofsted just over two years ago has turned around its fortune and is now rated “good” across the board.

Ofsted visited Mount Pellon Academy, Battinson Road, over two days in January, and found progress and attainment had improved significantly

The inspection reports said: “Since the last inspection, the trust’s and school leaders’ vision, ambition and drive have brought about rapid improvement in outcomes at all key stages, including for disadvantaged pupils.

"The principal, senior leaders and trust leaders have worked together effectively to improve the quality of leadership and management and of teaching.

"Accurate self-evaluation and strong systems of accountability have led to effective action.

"Pupils behave well. They have positive attitudes to learning. They cooperate with each other and staff.

"At the last inspection attainment was low. In 2018, attainment was much closer to the national averages in the early years, at key stage 1 and key stage 2."

Before it was converted to an academy which is sponsored by the Northern Education Trust, Mount Pellon – previously Mount Pellon Junior and Infants School – had been a source of concern to Ofsted, Calderdale Council and the local community.

But improvements in leadership, management and quality of teaching means pupils are receiving good outcomes, says the three-strong inspection team led by Bernard Campbell.

Rated overall as “good”, each category – effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for pupils and the academy’s early years provision were all also rated as “good”.

Academy Principal Mr Chris Walton said the school was proud of the “good” rating which recognised the hard work of children, staff and the trust.

“I am very pleased that now, after so many years, the school can be the school of choice in our community.

“We are really making a difference to the life chances of our children.”

To improve further as the academy looks to reach the top “outstanding” status, Mount Pellon needs to strengthen consistency of good teaching and assessment to continue raising standards in reading, writing and maths, improve the the leadership and management of the provision for pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) to ensure support meets identified needs more consistently, further develop early years provision by developing a high-quality outdoor environment and improve the teaching and learning of knowledge and skills in subjects other than

Ofsted recognised the crucial support from the trust stating: “The trust’s vision and its management systems give strong direction and support for school leadership, management and accountability.

“The trust knows the school well and understands the strengths and weaknesses in performance.”

The trust’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Jane Wilson, said: “The impact of the implementation of the Northern model of school improvement is evidenced in this dramatic improvement in performance.”