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Ofsted rules Nottingham academy stripped of sponsor 'requires improvement'

Sherwood E-Act Academy Photo: ITV News Central

A Nottinghamshire school, which has lost its sponsorship by one of the UK's biggest chain of academies, has been told by Ofsted it needs to do better.

The education watchdog says Sherwood E-Act Academy in Gedling requires improvement. Last year, 45.5% of pupils gained 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths - in its report, Ofsted said this figure was too low. However inspectors praised the drive of the two co-principals to improve and highlighted the good behaviour and safety of students.

It comes just 24 hours after it emerged that educational charity E-Act is having to hand over control of the school and nine others around the country because of concerns about standards.

School inspectors visited Sherwood E-Act Academy last month - their first visit since conversion in 2012. Before then, Gedling School, as it was known, was under local authority control. At its last Ofsted inspection in 2011, it was judged "satisfactory", under the old system of ratings.

Summary of the Ofsted Report

The report says the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management all require improvement, adding:

  • Standards are below average. Too few students left the academy in 2013 with five good GCSEs including English and Mathematics.
  • Some students are not making any progress in English and Mathematics.
  • There is not enough good teaching to help students catch up quickly on previously lost learning.
  • Not enough teachers plan lessons that enthuse and challenge students of all abilities.
  • Not all subject leaders have been able to improve the quality of teaching.
  • Students behave well overall but are not always fully engaged in lessons because teaching is uninspiring.
  • The quality of marking varies and does not promote improvements to learning.
  • The governing body has not presented sufficient challenge to the leadership of the school until very recently.

The report also praised the academy on a number of strengths, including:

  • The new co-Principals, which are driving a culture of high expectations. Staff are fully committed to improving the academy and morale is high.
  • Students behaving well, both in and out of lessons.
  • The safety of students is good. Exclusions are very low in comparison to national averages.
  • The academy provides effectively for students who have disabilities or have special educational needs.

Ofsted has recommended the following measures to the academy:

  • Improve the quality of teaching.
  • Improve the quality of students’ engagement in lessons.
  • Strengthen leadership and management, including the governance of the academy.
  • An external review of governance to assess how this aspect of leadership may be improved.

The rating is the second worst possible but does not mean it is inadequate. The academy will receive a full inspection by Ofsted within 24 months from the date of the last inspection.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education is now liaising with E-Act to find new sponsors.