Positive steps for Colchester Academy after serious weaknesses identified last summer

Colchester Academy

Colchester Academy - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Ofsted inspectors have given encouraging feedback to Colchester Academy, which had been identified by the watchdog as having “serious weaknesses” in July.

Following a monitoring visit on November 11 inspectors have praised the impact of new teachers, the leadership at the school and the input of governors as they try to make the required improvements.

This is being led by an action plan prepared by the academy and a statement of action produced by the academy’s sponsors.

In their report, published this week, the inspectors said: “Your (action) plan is focused on improving teaching so that achievement rises across the academy. Senior leaders have a clear understanding of the strengths within the academy, and where challenges remain. For example, the variation in quality of teaching between departments is reducing because leaders are channelling their support more precisely.

“This support is increasingly tailored to the needs of individual teachers and is having a considerable impact on departments such as English, where GCSE results in 2014 were low.”

The inspectors confirmed that they had found both the academy’s action plan and the sponsor’s statement of action to be fit for purpose.

Principal Barry Hersom said that after a “bad year” he was confident that things were already improving, thanks in part to a large number of new recruits that had helped make up the academy’s strongest team of teachers in its four-year history.

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He said: “We are very pleased. It confirms that we are on the right track and making progress. We have been going for four years now as Colchester Academy and we have had three really good years but we had a bad year last year. Regrettably, we are not the only ones to have had a bad year.”

He said that since moving to its current site, the school had “not found it easy” to recruit good teachers but that the quality of the teaching staff was now “probably the strongest position it’s ever been”.

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