9:22am Thursday 3rd April 2014
SPECIAL measures are needed at the University of Chester Academy, Northwich, to address inadequate leadership, teaching and achievement, say OFSTED inspectors.
The 496-pupil academy is rated inadequate in all but one of the areas it was assessed on during an inspection in February, and requiring improvement for pupils’ behaviour and safety.
It was awarded a rating of four for overall effectiveness, quality of teaching, achievement of pupils and leadership and management.
The rating system ranges from one to four, from outstanding to inadequate, with three representing requiring improvement.
The inspection was the first since the former Rudheath High School became an academy in 2012.
Following publication of the OFSTED report, UCAN principal Matthew Wood pledged that the academy will do all it can to again become one of the most improved schools in the region.
“UCAN’s students achieving at least three Levels of Progress are among the highest throughout University of Chester Academies Trust, with 66 per cent in English, from 38 per cent in 2011/12, and 59 per cent in maths, from 47 per cent in 2011/12,” said Mr Wood.
“Although significant the rate of improvement has been judged to be insufficiently fast. This has resulted in the Academy’s inadequate rating.
“There are a number of measures that have already been put in place since the latest OFSTED inspection, which build upon the many changes introduced over recent months and years.”
These include action plans to address all aspects of the academy’s work and new appointments to the senior leadership team.
“UCAN has already come a long way on its journey, but it takes time to make important changes to the culture of a long-established organisation,” added Mr Wood.
The inspection team found leaders and governors had too generous a view of how well the academy was performing, and teachers generally did not assess students’ work accurately enough.
OFSTED will make recommendations on governance to the authority which is responsible for the academy.
The school said it achieved 56 per cent A* to C in English and 59 per cent A* to C in maths in 2012/13.
“However due to disappointing science results UCAN achieved 39 per cent, which meant its average score fell narrowly under the Government’s threshold by one per cent,” said an academy spokesman.
“Under the new more stringent OFSTED framework no school can be categorised higher than a grade four (inadequate) overall under these circumstances.”
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