Hanham Woods Academy earns a Good from Ofsted
Principal Steve Kneller and his students are looking forward to a brighter future after years of uncertainty
THE head of Hanham Woods Academy has welcomed the news that the school has now been judged 'Good' by education watchdog Ofsted.
Principal Steve Kneller says the recent ruling is testament to the hard work put in by staff and to the efforts made by students to improve their grades.
He has pledged to continue to strive for further improvements to achieve even greater success in the future.
The academy, which has 802 students, had been placed in special measures after an 'Inadequate' rating in 2017. This prompted Cabot Learning Federation, which manages the academy, to take action to improve standards.
A recent visit by government inspectors has now seen the academy leap two grades from the 2017 judgement, a rare achievement in schools across the country.
Mr Kneller, who always insisted the academy could turn around, said: “This judgement is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff, both teaching and non-teaching at Hanham Woods Academy.
“The support of Cabot Learning Federation has been invaluable over the last two years and I am also very grateful for the loyalty and support shown by parents throughout our journey to 'Good'.
“Most of all however this judgement is a reflection of our amazing students of whom I am so proud and they can now confidently say they attend a ‘Good’ academy.
“The outcome of the inspection is a reflection of the culture and ethos we have established at Hanham Woods Academy. We will not become complacent however and will work tirelessly to improve the academy further and achieve even greater success in the future.”
Four Ofsted inspectors visited the Memorial Road school for two days in November and found a very different school to the one two years ago.
Their report said: “Pupils are proud of how their school has improved over the last two years. They enjoy coming to school now. They feel safe and they know that behaviour in their lessons will be good.”
On leadership they noted: “Parents recognise that the headteacher has led a revival in the school’s fortunes. Because of the hard work of leaders and teachers, pupils are reaching standards that compare well with those in other schools. This is because teachers ask more of pupils and push them to reach their potential. Teachers check on what pupils understand and can remember regularly. This helps them to set the right work.”
There was also praise for the academy's special educational needs provision: “The school welcomes pupils from all backgrounds and abilities. Leaders know that some will need extra help to succeed and they do their best to provide it. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. Pupils feel cared for by teachers. Pupils get on with each other; the school feels a friendly community.”
They continued: “Teachers make sure that pupils have a wide range of extra opportunities to enjoy, and from which they learn. Many pupils take part in the wide range of sports and arts clubs that teachers offer. The school has a proud history of sporting success.”
The report also recognised pupil behaviour: “Pupils are well behaved in lessons. They listen to the teacher and they get on with their work. Pupils say how much easier it is to learn now that classes are well behaved.”
Inspectors remarked that students are polite and relationships between pupils and teachers are warm.
“Pupils believe they are well cared for and that there is always someone to whom they can go if they have a problem,” the document stated.
Inspectors say a new curriculum put in place has stretched students and is making them think, remarking that students in Year 10 are studying maths at a level that would have been beyond them until recently.
The report ruled that safeguarding at the school was effective with a “skilful and dedicated” team of staff keeping students safe.
It also acknowledgement the role of Cabot Learning Federation in making sure the academy went from strength to strength: “The multi-academy trust (MAT) that sponsors the school has played a significant role in challenging and supporting school leaders. The MAT leaders make sure the curriculum is appropriate. They ensure that staff are given the training they need to deliver it.”
Steve Taylor, CEO of Cabot Learning Federation, said: “There are few schools that are able to go from special measures to 'Good' in just two years. It takes a special blend of determination and focus from the team at the school. Steve Kneller has led the team brilliantly and the whole Hanham community now deserves recognition for this brilliant outcome.”