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School in special measures on right track but still failing to meet pupil’s needs

PUBLISHED: 08:57 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:08 08 February 2019

Wayland Academy Norfolk which is in special measures. Picture: TEN Group

Wayland Academy Norfolk which is in special measures. Picture: TEN Group

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A Norfolk school placed in special measures has shown improvements in controlling bullying but pupil progress is still lagging behind.

Wayland Academy in Watton was rated inadequate by Ofsted in April 2017 due to problems with bullying, attendance, and a failure to meed the needs of different pupils.

In the third monitoring visit by Ofsted which took place on January 17 this year, inspectors said the school’s leaders were taking “effective action” towards the removal of special measures.

The report also said the school was once again able to hire newly qualified teachers.

John Mitcheson, lead inspector, said improvements designed to eradicate bullying had been maintained from the previous monitoring inspection in April 2018.

He said: “Pupils told us that they feel safe in school - free from bullying - and that behaviour in lessons is much better now.

“Your actions to reduce incidents of bullying and homophobic language continue to lead to improvement. Pupils also feel that they have a better awareness of the dangers of radicalisation and extremism through the work done in regular assemblies and tutorials.”

The report also noted an improvement in attendance, particularly of disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs.

However, the school was also told it was still struggling to fully meet the needs of all pupils, with attainment in English and maths declining and overall progress rates below national levels.

The report also noted a variance in the quality of teaching, saying it was at times “not good enough”.

Mr Mitcheson wrote: “The achievement of disadvantaged pupils continues to lag behind that of others in the school and other pupils nationally.

“Pupils with SEND did not make enough progress in 2018. Not all of them were sufficiently encouraged and challenged to attend school regularly.”

In response, the Norfolk Academies school has hired more teaching assistants and is undertaking a review of pupil premium funding.

The report also stated: “At the time of the last monitoring inspection, teaching was improving. This continues to be the case. There is clear evidence of secure and - at times - highly effective teaching.”

Principal at Wayland Academy Glenn Allott said the new hires will help meet the needs of SEND and disadvantaged students.

He added: “The feedback from this visit shows that we are addressing the areas for improvement set out by Ofsted and that key improvements are being maintained.”

“With the support of Norfolk Academies, and drawing on expertise from outside the Trust, we are working very hard on the areas we recognise need to be strengthened further.”

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