One of Doncaster’s new academies ‘improving rapidly’

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INSPECTORS have praised the speed of improvement in their first ever Ofsted of one of Doncaster’s new academies.

Officials who visited de Warenne Academy, in Conisbrough, said it provides a satisfactory education and was improving very quickly - but cannot yet be classed as ‘good’ because there is not enough outstanding and good teaching, and low-level disruption hinders learning in a few lessons.

Inspector Jan Bennet’s report said achievement had been very low in the predecessor school, Northcliffe School, but has increased rapidly since the academy opened.

Improvements were continuing across all year groups, especially in mathematics, where achievement had been slow to get better.

De Warenne is one of Doncaster’s biggest schools, with 750 pupils on the roll at the Garden Lane site.

The academy opened in September 2009 replacing Northcliffe in the existing buildings. The sixth form opened in September 2010. A new building is scheduled to open in 2013.

The academy is sponsored by the School Partnership Trust.

Principal Gill Pollard’s leadership at the school was described as good by inspectors.

Mrs Pollard said: “We are very pleased. The inspectors said they saw no inadequate teaching, and 65 per cent was good or better.

“We have come a long way in a short space of time and we’re pleased to have that recognised in terms of teaching and leadership and management. You can’t make those sort of improvements without everyone pulling together. You always need somewhere to go next and we want to increase the amount of outstanding teaching.”

The report said that, in weaker lessons, poor behaviour was not challenged effectively. But it said behaviour and attendance had improved considerably.

Most students felt safe in the academy and behaviour in lessons was often good but there was low-level disruption in a few classes.