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Staffordshire University Academy chalks up improved report

By Megan Archer | Hednesford | Ofsted reports | Published:

A secondary school in Hednesford where teaching was rated as 'inadequate' and pupil behaviour was poor is now making strides towards improvement.

Staffordshire University Academy

Staffordshire University Academy, which is sponsored by Staffordshire University, was first rated as 'inadequate' by Ofsted in 2017 and placed into special measures.

A recent report from the education body shows that the school, which has 604 pupils out of a maximum capacity of 900, is now taking 'effective action' towards the removal of the special measures.

Inspector Simon Mosely visited the school again last month – the third monitoring visit since the low rating – and said that leaders and managers were showing positive signs.

He said: "Teaching has continued to improve. Regular monitoring and feedback, coupled with targeted professional development opportunities, are helping staff to improve their practice.

"Lessons take place in a positive climate for learning. Staff and pupils enjoy productive relationships that are used to help pupils to learn. Planning has improved, and staff apply their strong subject knowledge more effectively. Pupils’ behaviour has continued to improve."

Principal of the academy Rowena Hillier said: "We are delighted with our most recent monitoring report which focuses on the rapid improvements across the academy.

"It's really pleasing that the report reflects our relentless focus on improving teaching and learning for our students. We are incredibly proud of Team SUA."

Assessment

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The school was rated as inadequate in April 2017, and has been in special measures ever since.

Lead Ofsted inspector Graham Tyrer said at the time of the rating: "Standards of achievement are too low at this school. Teaching is inadequate and teachers do not use assessment well enough. Too many pupils do not know how well they are doing or how to improve their learning.

"Teachers’ expectations of what lower-ability disadvantaged pupils can achieve are too low. Many lessons are poorly planned and pupils lose interest."

He also noted that disadvantaged pupils in particular were not doing well, and that the sixth form also required improvement.

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He added that the curriculum 'lacked breadth' and very few pupils were able to follow courses in geography, history and languages.

The school has had a number of monitoring visits since it was rated inadequate, the most recent being last month.

While Mr Mosely mentioned that teaching in maths had not improved as quickly as other subjects, and pupils were not challenged to develop their knowledge and skills, he said pupil behaviour was improving.

He added: "Pupils behave well in class and during social time and the number of incidents of inappropriate behaviour have reduced. Staff are taking more responsibility for managing pupils’ behaviour and pupils are responding well to higher expectations of their conduct."

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk.

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