The Cabot Learning Federation is extremely pleased to announce that City Academy Bristol has now been graded ‘Good’ by the education watchdog Ofsted. The Academy joined the Federation in 2016 after previously having been placed in special measures. This is the first inspection since 2015. ,
Ofsted said, “The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is strong in a range of subjects, including English and mathematics. Teachers use their good subject knowledge to help them to plan and to provide clear explanations and activities. They develop skilfully pupils’ understanding of key concepts. As a result, pupils make good progress. Work in English and mathematics books is extensive and well presented. Pupils make good progress in all year groups.”
“The City Academy Bristol provides a very safe and nurturing environment. The school works well with local schools and agencies to support the most vulnerable pupils so that they are able to go on to successful further education and worthwhile careers. Pupils and staff are unanimous in their praise for the help, support and guidance they receive when they need it.
Pupils and staff show respect for each other, resulting in the vast majority of pupils having positive attitudes to learning. Teaching proceeds unhindered by disruption, and this underpins the good progress pupils make.”
On Safeguarding they said, “Pupils feel safe in the school. They know who to turn to if they are worried about themselves or their friends. They learn about managing risk, including how to use the internet and social media responsibly. Systems for keeping pupils safe in school are effective. Leaders maintain comprehensive records. Staff are vigilant and know the warning signs that may suggest a pupil is at risk from harm. Staff are clear about what to do if they are concerned about a pupil and they refer concerns quickly and appropriately. Leaders are tenacious in following these up. Leaders have created an ethos which celebrates cultural difference and emphasises values such as tolerance and understanding. Pupils feel safe and they trust staff to take care of them.”
“The City Academy Bristol is at the heart of a complex, yet vibrant community and leaders have a good understanding of the local context of the school. As a result, staff are trained to recognise and support pupils in overcoming any barriers and challenges they face. The most vulnerable pupils, including those with education, health and care plans (EHC plans), are known, cared for and supported well.”
Pupils say that bullying is rare, and that staff deal with it effectively. Checks of bullying records made by inspectors showed that incidents of bullying are followed up and resolved effectively.
Leaders have created a safe and inclusive school community. Leaders promote equality and are quick to stamp out any derogatory language and behaviour. Pupils say they feel safe in the school.
On behaviour they noted, “The behaviour of pupils is good. In lessons and around school, pupils conduct themselves well, and the school is an orderly, well-organised environment for learning. Pupils are polite and show consideration for others. They are punctual to lessons and ready to start learning as soon as they arrive. At breaktimes and lunchtimes, there is a vibrant and energetic atmosphere in the school, but behaviour is still good. Staff commented upon the effectiveness and clarity of the new behaviour policy. The use of fixed-term exclusion has decreased significantly as behaviour has improved.”
On leadership they said, “The principal provides strong leadership. He demands the best of both pupils and staff, and this has led to rapid improvement over the past three years. He is well supported by an effective leadership team that shares his vision for improving the school. Accurate self-evaluation has led to sustained improvement.”
“The dynamic leadership of the principal and senior leaders, well supported by the trust, has ensured that The City Academy Bristol now provides a good education for its pupils. Leaders communicate their high aspirations to pupils, parents, carers and staff. Staff morale is high, and teachers say they feel valued.”
On teaching and learning they said, “Pupils who have very little or no English when they enter the school receive intensive support to improve their reading and writing. Outcomes improved significantly in 2018 and are now good.”
Careers education forms an integral part of pupils’ learning from Year 7 through to Year 11. Pupils experience an increasing range of opportunities to find out more about their own strengths and skills, and leaders are tenacious in seeking out opportunities for them to learn about further and higher education, and the world of work.
On SEND they said, “The leadership of provision for pupils with SEND is strong. Leaders ensure that pupils with SEND receive effective support and challenge. Accurate identification of pupils’ individual needs means that pupils are well supported in their academic learning and personal development.”
Pupils have access to a range of extra-curricular opportunities, many of which take place during the school day to enable all pupils to access them. At the time of the inspection, a group of pupils were improving their language skills in Spain and others were preparing for a production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. A number of Year 10 pupils were involved in ‘Sharp Shotz’, an innovative video competition run in conjunction with Watershed and other local arts organisations.
The school constantly strives to improve communications with parents and to involve them in their children’s education. Frequent evening meetings are arranged to support parents whose first language is not English, and the school arranges events and festivals to celebrate the various ethnic groups and cultures within the community. This means that pupils are well supported in their learning.
On Governance they stated, “Governance is highly effective. Rigorous accountability measures are in place to support and challenge the principal and his senior team. The Trust and school leaders at all levels share an accurate understanding of the strengths of the school, as well as those aspects of the school which could be even better. They hold subject leaders and teachers firmly to account for pupils’ progress. Any weaknesses in the quality of teaching and learning are picked up quickly through rigorous checks on pupils’ progress, and precise training is provided. Leaders’ capacity for further improvement is evident. The school benefits from extensive, high-quality support from the Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) and external partners.”
Jon Angell, principal of City Academy said, “I’d like to thank the staff, parents, students and the local community that have supported the academy in its journey back to being a Good school. Particularly those parents who showed faith in us and chose the school, despite the previous Ofsted judgement, because they could see the improvements that had been made. It’s fantastic to have Ofsted confirm our judgement that City Academy is now a Good school. This inspection marks the end of the beginning, which was to get the academy to good, we now intend to push on and continue to improve the quality and breadth of educational experience that young people can have in our community.”
Steve Taylor, Chief Executive of the Cabot Learning Federation said, “This is an excellent judgement for the school and the community. City Academy was already one of the best performing schools in Bristol and it’s great to finally have that recognised by Ofsted. I know how hard staff and students have worked over the past months and, like all of us in the CLF, I am delighted with the outcome.”