Aldworth School is pleased to have had two strong Ofsted monitoring visits over 2021 where the substantial improvements made have been fully recognised. Whilst the overall categorisation cannot be changed until a ‘full’ inspection, there is clear evidence that the school is on track to achieve a ‘good’ rating when Ofsted return.
Following the school’s Ofsted judgement of ‘requires improvement’ in 2019 there has been substantial change in the leadership of the school. Paul Jenkins, the head of the successful Court Moor School was seconded to the school for a period of two years in order to lead the transformational change which was required to make Aldworth the school that the community deserves. Staff, parents and students acknowledge that the school has made huge strides across many areas since that last full Ofsted report, a fact acknowledged by a monitoring visit in March 2021 and reiterated by the latest report in July 2021.
Our latest report (below) was conducted at the end of the summer term and acknowledges the improvements in the school despite the challenges and interruptions from the pandemic and various lockdowns. The school were very pleased with the report which, unusually, contained no areas for additional improvement beyond those planned by the school.
“You and your leadership team are determined to make the changes that are needed to make Aldworth a good school. You are ambitious for all pupils and passionate about promoting the school’s motto of ‘building bright futures’. Increasing numbers of staff share your high aspirations. You have been steadfast in maintaining a rapid pace of improvement, despite the challenges of the last year caused by the national pandemic.”
Leaders’ carefully constructed training is supporting teachers to focus more on improving their planning and meeting the needs of pupils
Pupils were focused on their work, respectful and attentive. Many staff feel that pupils’ behaviour has improved significantly since the previous inspection.
You are ensuring that leaders are building stronger relationships with parents. High proportions of parents are confident that you and your team are leading the school well.
Ofsted’s ParentView allows current parents to rate their school and we have seen significant improvements in the results, parents agreeing with ‘I would recommend this school to another parent’ has moved from just over 60% to 90% between the 2019 inspection and the 2021 inspection. 90% of parents agreed that their child was happy at the school.
The school is working hard to achieve a ‘good’ categorisation for the next full Ofsted inspection which may be expected within the next year or so. The improvements have continued despite the lockdowns and Covid-related issues. The previous interim report in March 2021 was conducted on the second day back after the lockdown and whole-school testing, Ofsted noted:
Leaders are resolute in their drive for improvement in all areas of the school. The positive impact of this work has been recognised by pupils, parents and staff. Parents who responded to Ofsted’s Parent View were very positive. One commented that staff deserve ‘a huge thank you for all they have done’, including the ‘care, passion and hard work they have continued to provide over the last year’. The school’s strong sense of community has continued to flourish during the recent period of remote education
Teachers are beginning to have a much clearer understanding of the purpose and content of the subjects they teach. Some of this work has been slowed by the pandemic. Leaders are aware of this and are working with teachers to establish consistency and quality across all areas of the curriculum.
The governing body shares the headteacher’s drive and determination to improve the education of their pupils. There is clear evidence of robust decision-making and actions to strengthen the leadership of the school. Governors are well informed about the school’s priorities and ask searching questions about the education pupils are receiving at the current time.
The previous full Ofsted reports were accurate at the time but do not reflect the school as it is in 2021. They provided an accurate picture of the school at the time and were a spur to radical change, and should be read within that context. We look forward to our next full Ofsted visit and are proud to show how we have improved on all the major action points and re-built the school’s reputation.