Inspirational school’s ‘remarkable’ transformation

Worle Community School – an Academy (WCSA) has had a remarkable transformation in record time since a damning report plunged it (as Worle School) into OfSTED Special Measures in 2016 – a new report out today says.

The 2020 OfSTED report for Worle Community School – an Academy has praised the school for having taken huge strides in its fast-track improvement journey towards outstanding from a previous catastrophic 2016 report.
Back in 2016 the school was placed into “Special Measures’’ by OfSTED, with the lowest possible ratings on every measure after years of severe decline, council mismanagement and incidents covered by the national media.
But, with new Principal Jacqui Scott and a new set of governors in place, and after joining The Priory Learning Trust in March 2017, WCSA has now moved up to ‘requires improvement’.
Also significantly they received an official ‘good’ rating for the ‘personal development’ of students.
The report was one of the first locally to be carried out under new more rigorous OfSTED rating criteria introduced in September last year, which has seen many schools nationally downgraded.
It comes on the back of increased WCSA popularity with 250 students set to join this year, and the forecast of record GCSE results this summer.
OfSTED declared WCSA now to be a safe, calm, purposeful place of learning, with safeguarding as highly effective, and praised its ability to help students find their talents.
Inspectors acknowledged there had been much to improve and noted that staff and students acknowledge the important changes that leaders have made. This was particularly evident in students’ safety and improved conduct.
They said that ‘students can now learn in a purposeful environment’.
WCSA is now on course for record GCSE results this summer and is already making further improvements to help make it outstanding in every way.
Principal Jacqui Scott said: “These are exciting times for our academy and we have high expectations and a strong plan to become outstanding within five years.
“We were pleased we received a firm ‘good’ for the personal development of students. We are especially pleased to see safeguarding reported as highly effective.
“OfSTED point to areas for improvement, such as student attendance, but rightly note the huge improvement journey over the last 36 months.”
Neville Coles, Executive Principal of The Priory Learning Trust, said: “We are delighted that OfSTED have recognised that Worle Community School – an Academy (WCSA) is no longer in ‘special measures’.
“Huge congratulations to Jacqui Scott and the whole team of staff, students and governors at WCSA.”
“Students are now safe and the school is, ‘a calm place of learning’. What is in no doubt is that there is more work to do but our five-year path to a great academy at Worle is certainly on track.”
The Priory Learning Trust oversees six academies across North Somerset and Somerset.

The report said:

‘The Principal supported by governors and The Priory Learning Trust, has worked with determination to improve the school. There was much to improve.’

‘Staff and pupils acknowledge the important changes that leaders have made. This is particularly evident in pupils’ safety and improved conduct. Pupils can learn in a purposeful environment.’

‘The arrangements for safeguarding are highly effective’.

‘The school has improved greatly in recent years. Pupils, parents and staff acknowledge this. They agree that the school is now a calm and safe place.’

‘Bullying is rare. Pupils know there is someone they can speak with if they are worried about something.’

‘Leaders have brought order into the curriculum. Pupils know they will be able to get on in their lessons.’

‘The school helps pupils to find their talents. Pupils enjoy taking roles in school productions, as journalists in the news centre and representing the school in national sporting competitions.’

‘Pupils say they feel inspired by the alumni who visit the school.’

‘Pupils practise democratic principles in the student council and are raising awareness of environmental issues through the work of the green group.’

‘Leaders have agreed on ways to structure the teaching of the curriculum. This has helped to make classrooms calmer and more purposeful.’

‘Leaders have built regular assessment into the curriculum. This helps to spot gaps in pupils’ knowledge.’

‘Teaching supports many pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) well.’

‘Pupils understand the importance of good physical and mental well-being. Staff and pupils speak highly of the school’s counselling services that support mental health needs.’

‘The school provides effective careers advice that pupils say is very useful. Pupils learn about topics such as healthy relationships, different values and beliefs in society and life in modern Britain.’

‘Leaders have improved safeguarding arrangements so that the school is now a safe and secure environment. Pupils know how to keep themselves safe, including online. Staff are vigilant. Pupils are confident they can speak with a member of staff about any concerns.’

‘The school supports vulnerable pupils well. The safeguarding team works with local services to help families to secure the right support. The school has acted to meet pupils’ needs when external services are unavailable, such as mental health support.’

‘Governors are well trained in safeguarding. They are knowledgeable about risks and how to deal with them.’