Castleford Academy has had an exceptional start to the academic year celebrating being the first secondary school in the country to receive an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rating under the new and more challenging framework!
From September 2019, Ofsted has refocused its inspections of schools, to make sure that learners are receiving a high-quality education that puts them on a path to future success. The new framework is designed to focus on the whole quality of a pupil’s education with a greater recognition of education providers’ work to support the personal development of pupils and a greater emphasis on behaviour. The new exacting standard expects that outstanding schools are exceptional in all areas of the framework both consistently and securely.
Sean Harford, National Director Education OFSTED, said “Inspections will focus on the real substance of education: the curriculum. Inspectors will spend less time looking at test data, and more time looking at what is taught and how it is taught. They will consider how a nursery, school, college or other education provider has achieved their results. We want to make sure that good results come from teaching a broad, rich curriculum. We want to reflect real learning, not just intensive preparation for a test or to move up to the next ‘stage’. Ofsted grades will reflect the areas that matter most to parents: quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.”
Following a rigorous two day inspection on the 9th and 10th October 2019, the academy has been judged outstanding across all aspects of the new Ofsted framework. During the inspection, inspectors judged the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management and sixth form provision. All areas received an outstanding judgement, leading to an overall effectiveness judgement of outstanding.
Headteacher George Panayiotou said “I am delighted Ofsted have agreed with our assessment of Castleford Academy and its sixth form. The positive comments in the report show that our hard work and high expectations have resulted in exceptional academic outcomes, whilst maintaining a nurturing and highly supportive environment where the well-being of both pupils and staff are a priority. I would personally like to thank all staff, pupils, parents, carers and governors for their ongoing hard work and dedication. We are extremely proud of our outstanding achievements and to be the first secondary school in the country makes this even more special.”
Throughout the inspection, inspectors noted that the quality of education provide by the academy is exceptional. ‘Castleford Academy is an exciting place to learn. Pupils follow a fulfilling curriculum. They gain deep knowledge and understanding across a wide range of subjects. Effective teaching helps all pupils to make exceptional progress across the curriculum.’
Inspectors were particularly impressed with the curriculum offered by the academy. ‘Senior Leaders want pupils to secure deep knowledge and skills across many subjects. Staff share this aim. Leaders map out carefully what pupils need to know and remember. This is done across key stage 3 and 4.’ In addition, inspectors noted that ‘this strong knowledge is reflected in pupils’ work and their exceptional progress at GCSE’.
Inspectors also commented on the quality of teaching. ‘Teachers ensure that all pupils benefit from the quality of education they provide. Teachers support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) very well. Pupils with particular needs, such as those with hearing impairments, access a full curriculum.’
The inspectors were keen to highlight the academy vision for Castleford pupils. ‘The Headteacher provides a clear vision for staff and pupils. He is supported by a very strong team that has provided an exceptional quality of education for pupils’.
The support that the academy provides for pupils across all aspects of their life was also noticed by inspectors. ‘Leaders support pupils’ development as responsible young people. Pupils value equality and the rights of others. Leaders prepare pupils thoughtfully for their next steps in life.’ This included the range of enrichment and wider curriculum opportunities offered to pupils at the academy. ‘Leaders plan memorable experiences for all pupils. Teachers inspire pupils with the opportunities on offer. Such experiences widen pupils’ horizons and develop their confidence.’
Throughout the inspection, the behaviour and attitude of all pupils was exceptional and very much reflected day to day life at the academy. ‘Pupils’ value learning, they listen carefully to their teachers and to one another. Leaders and teachers help pupils to behave well.’
The academy were particularly proud of the outstanding judgment for our post 16 provision where it was noted that ‘leaders have built a curriculum to meet students’ needs. These needs were not being met elsewhere. Students achieve highly in all subjects. They are very well prepared for future education and employment.’
Delighted Chair of Governors John McNichol commented ‘The governing body are immensely proud of all the pupils and staff who have enabled us to be recognised with such high praise from Ofsted for our day to day work. We also want to thank parents and our community for their on-going support and championing of Castleford Academy’.
The academy also took time to remember their late chair of governors who sadly passed away last year. ‘We would also like to take this opportunity to remember how proud our late Chair of Governors, Bill Clift MBE, would have been and the contribution he made over many years to the success of the academy.’
© Castleford Academy Trust 2021