South Yorkshire school is improving but work still to be done

Barnsley Academy
Barnsley Academy

A South Yorkshire school which was rated inadequate by inspectors is making ‘significant progress’ – but still requires improvement.

Barnsley Academy, at Kendray, was hailed as one of the most improved in Yorkshire less than five years ago and was rated as ‘good’ by education watchdog Ofsted.

But last year inspectors found that standards at the school had slipped and rated it as ‘inadequate.’

Now staff and students are celebrating following the latest report from Ofsted which recognises the school, run by the United Learning Trust, is making significant progress. It has now being given a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

Inspectors highlighted a number of key improvements including the ‘aspirational and dynamic leadership,’ improved teaching, the positive relationships between students and adults and the ‘vastly improved’ behaviour of youngsters.

But they also mention several areas which are still below standard.

The proportion of students achieving five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths, is still too low, overall attendance is not high enough, the quality of teaching is still variable and the achievement gaps between disadvantaged children and others are not closing rapidly enough.

Executive principal Nikki Shaw admitted that there was ‘still a way to go’ at the school.

She said: “Whilst there is still a way to go, this report demonstrates the pace at which we are improving and the real impact that the initiatives we have put in place are beginning to have across our school.

“I have every confidence that this report will spur us on to continue improving and aspiring to be the very best that we can be. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and continued support as we take our next steps as an academy.”

The report also praised the academy’s sponsor, United Learning, for its effective use of experts, advisors and National Leaders of Education to support the improvements.

Janet Woods, director of Northern Academies for United Learning, said: “This report signals that the academy is now on the right track and that, in the capable hands of Nikki Shaw and her leadership team, it is strongly placed to take the next steps to become securely ‘good’.

“I hope this report provides a boost of confidence to all students and staff as it recognises that the work they have done over the last year is already having an impact and, over time, will deliver a genuine transformation. Everyone – students, staff, parents and governors alike – should be proud of this.”