Academy praised by Ofsted for 'effective action'

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Mick Howes

Inspectors have praised the "effective action" being taken to improve a Lowestoft-area high school judged ‘inadequate’ in its previous Ofsted report.  

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft was subject to a remote Ofsted monitoring inspection, which was carried out last month.

It follows a full Ofsted inspection in June 2019 where the academy on Yarmouth Road was ranked inadequate in three out of the five areas.

The latest inspection, which was carried out remotely due to the pandemic, praised leaders and staff for driving improvements.

With it largely assessing the academy’s online learning provision at the time, as a result of partial school closures, inspectors recognised the effective action driven by interim principal Jim Nixon, the academy’s senior leadership team and the academy’s sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT).

In a report to Mr Nixon, Ofsted inspector Liz Smith said: "Having considered all the evidence and taking into account the impact of Covid-19 on the school, I am of the opinion that at this time leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances."

The effectiveness of partnerships with the 'outstanding' rated Ormiston Venture Academy and OAT were praised - enabling the school to draw on “a wide range of expertise” to secure the strong improvements made.

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To support the academy’s ongoing improvement, inspectors noted two areas that would benefit from further work, including around further adapting the curriculum and support for students struggling to read, as well as undertaking a further review to improve quality of provision for students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities.

An academy spokesman said work was already under way to drive further improvements for all students.

Jim Nixon, who is to become the new principal of Ormiston Denes Academy. Pic: Ormiston Denes Academy

Jim Nixon, the interim principal of Ormiston Denes Academy. Picture: Ormiston Denes Academy - Credit: Ormiston Denes Academy

Mr Nixon, interim principal, said: “I am incredibly proud of how staff, students and parents worked together during lockdown to ensure that all our students were cared for whilst receiving high quality education.

"In particular, it was especially pleasing to get so much positive feedback from parents who had witnessed our live remote lessons and greatly valued our support and ongoing communications with home.

"It was a community effort and a very successful one at that.”

Last week the academy unveiled a new senior leadership team for the 2021-22 academic year.

A new permanent principal was appointed, and Kate Williams will take over from Mr Nixon at the end of the academic year.