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Willenhall academy told to improve after first inspection

By Jordan Reynolds | Willenhall | Education | Published:

A school where leaders admitted teaching is not good enough has been told to improve by Ofsted inspectors.

Pool Hayes Academy in Willenhall was visited by inspectors who concluded it requires improvement on September 25 and 26.

The academy in Castle Drive was rated 'good' in two out of five areas, and told it requires improvement in the other three, in what was the school's first inspection since it became an academy in 2016.

The report says: "Leaders recognise that outcomes and teaching are not yet good enough, especially in EBacc subjects including English, geography and Spanish.

"They have been unable to address concerns about leadership in some subject areas quickly enough where weaknesses in teaching remain."

But the report adds that senior leaders do know what they need to do to improve.

It also says the principal has brought about improvement in pupils' behaviour, which is now good.

The report says that pupils who would otherwise drop out of school or who risk exclusion are helped to remain in school.

One pupil said: "I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Pool Hayes."

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Pupils have weak literacy skills which impact their learning.

The report adds: "Pupils’ weak literacy skills have a negative impact on their outcomes in a range of subjects.

"Even in more successful subjects, some pupils do not know the meaning of specific key vocabulary that is needed to support their learning."

GCSE results were "very low" in 2017, the inspectors said, and the progress Year 11 pupils made from the end of Key Stage 2 was "broadly average".

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Outcomes for pupils with special educational needs, disabilities and for disadvantaged pupils are not improving quickly enough, according to the inspectors.

But it did say that leadership of the sixth form is strong and leaders have high expectations of students.

"Teaching in the sixth form is good because students are taught by the school’s strongest teachers," the report says. "These teachers are specialists in their subjects."

The school has 1,048 pupils aged from 11 to 18 and was Pool Hayes Arts and Community School before it converted to an academy.

Principal Luke Baker said: "Staff, pupils and governors at Pool Hayes Academy, in Willenhall, are all pleased with the outcome of their recent Ofsted inspection.

"Significant improvements that have taken place in the academy were recognised as being 'good', including the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the students, in addition to Pool Hayes Academy's Post 16 provision.

"Ofsted praised the improving culture in the school, commending the fact that 'the extent of the school’s wrap around care is very thorough'. Inspectors also recognised that I have set out 'a clear vision based on core values' which has resulted in 'the wider school community including staff, pupils and parents being overwhelmingly supportive of the leadership of the school'.

"Teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes were also highlighted as improving areas in the academy. The report commented that 'leaders have tackled much of the previous weak teaching and are driving through improvements'.

“We are pleased to have received public recognition from Ofsted for the hard work and determination that forms everyday life at Pool Hayes from pupils, staff and the wider community. We recognise that we are not there yet, but this report clearly recognises the journey that we are on towards creating something really special at Pool Hayes Academy.”

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star covering Shrewsbury and the surrounding areas.

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