Pupils and staff at a York secondary school are celebrating the results of a recent Ofsted inspection which deems the school as ‘Good’.
Vale of York Academy in Clifton (Without), which is part of the Hope Learning Trust, York, has been judged as ‘Good’ at their first inspection since they converted to academy status in 2017. This result comes just four years after Canon Lee (Vale of York’s predecessor) was placed in special measures.
In their report, Ofsted Inspector Dimitris Spiliotis and his team recognise the transformation the school has undergone, stating “Staff and parents are very positive about the way the school has been transformed over the last two years.” The report continues on “Over the last two years the school has improved significantly. School leaders, with the support from the trust, have improved every area of the school.”
Leaders at Vale of York are commended for putting in place “a curriculum that is well thought out. In each subject, curriculum leaders think carefully about what pupils need to learn and when.” The report also praises students on their behaviour, remarking “In lessons pupils get on with their work and work well together. Around the school site, pupils are polite and respectful to each other, staff and visitors.”
The academy is praised for raising pupils’ aspirations, for the high expectations they have of pupils, both in standards and behaviour. The report also states that Vale of York Principal, Mr Toby Eastaugh and his senior leaders are committed and passionate about the school, its staff, and the pupils.
Mr Eastaugh said “For Vale of York to be judged as ‘Good’ just four years after Canon Lee was placed in Special Measures is remarkable – and thoroughly deserved. I am delighted for the students who now know they attend a good school, for parents who have entrusted us with their child’s education and the staff who have worked tirelessly to bring about this transformation.
“Our inspection was the first for any of the York secondary schools under the new Ofsted framework which rightly places greater emphasis on the quality of education overall rather than pure exam results. This inspection is a significant milestone for Vale of York Academy on its journey towards becoming an outstanding provider.”
Chair of Governors, Patrick Looker added: “I am delighted that the inspection has identified Vale of York Academy as a good school in all areas. This outcome is recognition of all the improvements that have been made at the school since converting to an Academy in 2017. The report also rewards the hard work of the staff at the school as well as acknowledging the excellent attitude and work ethic of the students.”
Vale of York Academy joined the Hope Learning Trust in April 2017 and is now one of ten schools within the multi-academy trust. It has been a school on a journey of transformation and has recently seen admission numbers increase.
The report acknowledges that “The trust provides very effective support to the school in many ways, including subject specific training for teachers and leadership training for subject leaders.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Hope Learning Trust, Mr Brian Crosby, is delighted with the outcome of this Ofsted inspection, which has fallen within his final year of service as CEO. He said “The Trust Board and I are all thrilled for Toby and the team at Vale of York Academy, but the pleasure we derive when we receive outcomes such as these, is in the pride it gives the students, their parents and the school community. The staff, governors and students at the school and the Hope team have worked incredibly hard to transform their school into a place where children feel happy, safe and listened to and where they know they have a host of opportunities available to them now and when they leave school.
“There is still work to do, but I have no doubt that the school will continue successfully on its journey. It has been a pleasure to watch the school grow before my eyes – this is probably one of my proudest moments as CEO.”
The report identifies a number of next steps for Vale of York, which include: further strengthening their curriculum; continuing to reduce any variation in the standards and expectations of pupils’ written work, particularly in key stage 3; ensuring that pupils’ attendance continues to improve, especially that of the disadvantaged pupils; and making sure that careers information advice and guidance is as strong in key stage 3 as it is in key stage 4.
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