Arlesey head pledges ‘rapid action plan’ after Ofsted report

Etonbury Academy principal Alex Prior. Picture: Danny Loo

Etonbury Academy principal Alex Prior. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

The head of Arlesey’s Etonbury Academy has pledged a “rapid action plan” for the school after inspectors gave it an overall ‘requires improvement’ rating.

The findings of the Ofsted report were based on visits in November, five years after the last Ofsted inspection in 2012 – which resulted in an overall ‘good’ score.

Etonbury, which has more than twice as many pupils as six years ago, has this time been adjudged to require improvement in three out of four fields. Personal development is still rated ‘good’.

Principal Alex Prior said in response: “Although the report contained many positive comments we were disappointed to receive this judgement as we have done much to improve our provision in the last few years, including achieving the best SATs results in the school’s history in 2017. We have already started to address the areas where the inspectors felt that improvements needed to be made. The rapid action plan that we have put in place is robust and will lead to significant improvements in each of these areas.

“All of us at Etonbury are dedicated to delivering an improved Ofsted outcome at our next inspection and we are confident this will be the case.”

Four inspectors concluded that Etonbury, run by the Bedfordshire Schools Trust, should improve its leadership, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils.

In their report, the inspectors wrote: “Leaders and governors have an overgenerous view of the quality of the provision in the school. Their plans do not sufficiently address the key priorities for improvement.

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“Pupils across the school do not make consistently good progress from their various starting points. In 2017, pupils’ progress in writing was significantly below the national average.”

Ofsted praised the pupils’ good behaviour, the planning of the curriculum, the stress put on pupils’ needs and aspirations, and the help given to pupils who need help with literacy.

In Shefford, Samuel Whitbread Academy and Shefford Lower School have each received ‘good’ ratings from Ofsted.

At Samuel Whitbread – also run by the Bedfordshire Schools Trust – inspectors found that “new leadership has halted a decline in the school’s overall performance since the previous inspection”.

Shefford Lower School’s leaders were reported to “maintain a good quality of education and take effective action to ensure that pupils are well taught and cared for and make good progress”.