Lightcliffe Academy rated inadequate by government inspectors

Lightcliffe Academy has been rated inadequate by government inspectors
Lightcliffe Academy has been rated inadequate by government inspectors

Lightcliffe Academy has been rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors in their latest report.

The Stoney Lane school, which is a member of the Abbey Multi-academy Trust, was inspected in November last year.

The report showed that the proportion of pupils who are excluded from the school was declining, reflecting some improvements in pupils’ behaviour.

However, the school’s own information highlights that there have been 1,512 instances of disruptive behaviour recorded in the last seven weeks. This equates to roughly 43 disruptions to learning per day.

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Lee Elliott, lead Ofsted inspector said in the summary findings of his report: "Pupils’ progress over time and for those pupils currently in the school is weak. From broadly average starting points, pupils in Year 11 achieve much less well than others nationally in a wide range of subjects

"Leaders do not make effective use of additional funding to support disadvantaged pupils. For too long, disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes have been significantly below others nationally.

"Rates of attendance remain stubbornly below average. Over time, levels of persistent absence have increased and, despite a very small improvement in 2018, persistent absence remains above the national average.

"Leaders and governors have been too slow to tackle weaknesses in leadership and teaching since the previous inspection. This has had a detrimental effect on some significant aspects of the school’s provision.

"Although leaders deal with incidents of bullying effectively, their strategies to analyse and act on patterns and trends of bullying are underdeveloped."

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However the report highlighted the number of pupils on the school roll is increasing and support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is improving quickly.

Ofsted inspectors said the headteacher is well respected and he has developed effective links with parents and carers. Leadership in this area is much improved.

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Jon Norden, who has been leading the academy since the middle of November said in a letter to parents:

"My two vice principals and I are determined to achieve the consistency in applying academy policies that Ofsted has said been lacking.

"With the support of Abbey Multi Academy Trust's central team, as well as our governors, we have already begun to rigorously monitor the plans that we have put in place and have arranged for an experienced external secondary adviser to help is to quality assure our action plan.

"We are continuing to work with our teachers to ensure that all lessons are challenging so that students make as much progress as possible and are well prepared for external exams, both at GCSE and A-Level

"Whilst the inspectors were pleased with safeguarding procedures, the effective ways in which instances of bullying are dealt with and the strong parental support for the school, there are improvements to be made to ensure that low level disruption is tackled in a timely and consistent manner has already taken place.

"We are also working closely with the Trust to implement an attendance strategy in order to ensure that all students understand the importance of a good level of attendance.

"We recognise that the findings of the recent inspection are deeply disappointing and of concern to parents with children at the academy.

"Leaders of the Trust and the academy share this appointment and are committed to driving rapid and sustained improvements in the areas identified withing the inspection report."