Academy check says teaching ‘improving’

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TEACHING is improving and truancy falling since one of Doncaster’s largest schools switched to become an academy, say inspectors.

Inspectors from the schools’ watchdog Ofsted completed their first visit to the de Warenne Academy in Conisbrough last month.

The academy replaced the former Northcliffe School the previous year.

Inspector Jan Bennett said: “The academy has been very successful in reducing the high proportion of inadequate teaching and this has been accompanied by a gradual improvement in the amount of good teaching.

“Progress in the lessons observed was mostly good but varied with the quality of teaching. In stronger lessons students participated well and clearly enjoyed their learning but in the weaker lessons students were passive and not always fully engaged.”

“Attendance was low but is now average and improving. The number of persistent absentees has dropped markedly and is in line with the national average.”

The school opened a sixth form for the first time last year and Ofsted said aspirations were rising across the academy and many more students were applying to study in the post-16 centre there.

At present there are 31 pupils in the sixth form.

But the school, which has 640 pupils on its roll, has been told it still needs to improve the quality of lessons its pupils are receiving, with its priorities for improvements described as increasing the proportion of good or better teaching, and making sure all pupils play an active part in their learning.

Principal Gill Pollard is credited in the report as providing strong leadership and steering Northcliffe through the transition to become an academy.

It said students were now proud of being part of the academy’s development and there was a growing confidence and self-belief.

The academy has experienced difficulty attracting mathematics teachers but the department will be fully staffed from next term.