Rainham school makes further progress towards removal of Inadequate rating

The Brittons Academy

The school was given an 'inadequate' label after its last full Ofsted inspection in July 2019. - Credit: Empower Learning Academy Trust

A Rainham school has been praised by inspectors for having a “clear vision” for improvement to remove its current Inadequate Ofsted rating.

In June, the Brittons Academy had its first Ofsted monitoring inspection since the pandemic began, with the outcome published last month.  

This follows it being judged to have “serious weaknesses” which saw it labelled with an Inadequate rating in 2019, dropping a level from its 2017 Requires Improvement rating.  

In a letter disclosing the findings of the recent inspection, addressed to the school’s principal Will Thompson, Ofsted found the school were taking “effective actions” towards the removal of the serious weakness designation.  

Mr Thompson said he "certainly believes" the school is taking the necessary steps, and inspectors concluded that "effective action" was being taken to provide education during lockdown. 

He added: "This conclusion is echoed by both our students and parents. We are confident that we have the leadership capacity to secure the further rapid progress required."

Within the letter, the education regulator confirmed that the trust’s - Empower Learning Academy (ELA) - “statement of action” and the school’s “improvement plan” is “fit for purpose”.  

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The monitoring inspection found the school had “strong capacity for further improvement” adding that “clear focus on provision of education for pupils” has been maintained ,and despite the challenges of the pandemic, progress has been made towards addressing the serious weaknesses.  

Mr Thompson said ELA have "supported and challenged" the school to "provide the best education possible" for Brittons students. 

As part of this he confirmed ELA has injected additional leadership, teaching and other resources into the school. 

"Brittons is part of a family of schools that understand what quality education is. The trust has recent experience of overseeing rapid improvement with Bower Park Academy and the trust's other two schools, Hall Mead and Hacton Primary are both graded Outstanding by Ofsted," said Mr Thompson. 

The school's noted improvements included some “significant changes” to the curriculum and how it is delivered including the frequency of computer science lessons increasing and pupils now having access to a triple science qualification.  

Mr Thompson said he is pleased to also see Ofsted recognised the school's strengths curriculum strengths included maths and English.  

Further improvements included a full range of national curriculum subjects now offered in key stage three and leaders checking with primary schools to ensure work from key stage two is not repeated in Year Seven.  

However, the report pointed out that “not all subject leaders have planned and sequenced specific knowledge carefully so that pupils know and remember more”.  

According to the report, a highlighted case involved Year Eight, "where pupils were chiselling across the grain but could not explain why they needed to work from the middle of the wood". 

The report also highlights a “priority” for senior leaders is to ensure content taught in all subject areas is “at least as ambitious as that set out in the national curriculum”.  

Following the Covid restrictions affecting pupils’ access to extra-curricular opportunities, Brittons is starting to gradually introduce clubs again.  

The report also said leaders have taken “effective action” to improve behaviour and pupil’s behaviour and attitude towards learning is “positive”.  

Staff were also praised for “developing positive working relationships” with students and showing concern for their mental health and wellbeing.  

Mr Thompson said he is glad to see Ofsted has acknowledged the school's "bold decision" to bring into place a "second post Ofsted action plan", which he said has proved to be "entirely the correct one in order to build upon the achievement of the first one". 

He added: "The new action plan sets up the next stage of our journey to ensure our pupils receive the first class education they deserve." 

This follows the school receiving praise as an inspection on January 27 and 28 found it to be making good progress to counter its “inadequate” rating.