The Cabot Learning Federation is delighted and proud to announce that after a recent visit by the education watchdog Ofsted, Hanham Woods Academy has been judged to be a ‘Good’ school. This represents a jump of two grades from its previous judgement of ‘inadequate in 2017, a rare achievement in schools across the country.

Ofsted said, “Pupils are proud of how their school has improved over the last two years. They enjoy coming to school now. They feel safe and they know that behaviour in their lessons will be good.”

On leadership they noted, “Parents recognise that the Headteacher has led a revival in the school’s fortunes. Because of the hard work of leaders and teachers, pupils are reaching standards that compare well with those in other schools. This is because teachers ask more of pupils and push them to reach their potential. Teachers check on what pupils understand and can remember regularly. This helps them to set the right work.”

On special educational needs Ofsted commented, “The school welcomes pupils from all backgrounds and abilities. Leaders know that some will need extra help to succeed and they do their best to provide it. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. Pupils feel cared for by teachers. Pupils get on with each other; the school feels a friendly community.”

They continued, “Teachers make sure that pupils have a wide range of extra opportunities to enjoy, and from which they learn. Many pupils take part in the wide range of sports and arts clubs that teachers offer. The school has a proud history of sporting success.”

The report also recognised pupil behaviour they said, “Pupils are well behaved in lessons. They listen to the teacher and they get on with their work. Pupils say how much easier it is to learn now that classes are well behaved. They are polite as they move around the school during the day. Relationships between pupils and teachers are warm. Pupils believe they are well cared for and that there is always someone to whom they can go if they have a problem.”

On the topic of curriculum the inspectors said, “Pupils are following a new curriculum that stretches them and makes them think. Teachers make sure pupils learn things in an order that helps them make sense of their work.

Teachers check pupils’ knowledge and understanding regularly and go back to topics with which pupils have struggled.

Pupils are increasingly successful in reaching their potential. Pupils in Year 10, for example, are studying mathematics at a level that would have been beyond them until recently. Staff support pupils with SEND well in their classes. These pupils are improving all the time.

Teachers work hard to improve pupils’ writing skills. They are having some success but there is more to do so pupils can express themselves well.”

The great majority of pupils come to school regularly.

They went on to say that, “Leaders provide a broad range of experiences for pupils to grow as individuals and understand their place in the modern world. Most recently, the whole school community came to a halt to respectfully commemorate Remembrance Day.

School leaders have an ambitious vision for the school. They have led its improvement with determination, and they expect to improve it further. Parents, pupils and teachers comment enthusiastically on how the school has improved. Teachers feel that leaders are considerate of their welfare. They appreciate that leaders give them enough time to concentrate on their teaching.”

With regard to the role of the Cabot Learning Federation they said, “The multi-academy trust (MAT) that sponsors the school has played a significant role in challenging and supporting school leaders. The MAT leaders make sure the curriculum is appropriate. They ensure that staff are given the training they need to deliver it.”

On the topic of student safeguarding they noted, “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. A skilful and dedicated team of staff protect pupils and keep them safe. The team know which pupils are vulnerable and check on them regularly; they do not wait for things to go wrong. They work with parents to make sure pupils are safe.

The safeguarding team works well with other agencies, such as social workers and the police, to protect pupils.

School leaders make sure that teachers report any concerns they have about pupils who may be in danger. The school has good systems for recording and sharing safeguarding information.”

Steve Kneller principal of Hanham Woods Academy said, “This judgement is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff, both teaching and non-teaching at Hanham Woods Academy. The support of Cabot Learning Federation has been invaluable over the last 2 years and I am also very grateful for the loyalty and support shown by parents throughout our journey to ‘Good.’ Most of all however this judgement is a reflection of our amazing students of whom I am so proud and they can now confidently say they attend a ‘Good’ academy. ‘The outcome of the inspection is a reflection of the culture and ethos we have established at Hanham Woods Academy. We will not become complacent however and will work tirelessly to improve the academy further and achieve even greater success in the future.”

Steve Taylor CEO of the Cabot Learning Federation said, “There are few schools that are able to go from special measures to Good in just two years. It takes a special blend of determination and focus from the team at the school. Steve Kneller has led the team brilliantly and the whole Hanham community now deserves recognition for this brilliant outcome.”