Staff and students celebrate Walsall school's first ever 'Good' Ofsted report

A secondary school in Walsall is celebrating receiving the first ever 'Good' Ofsted report in its history after a two-day inspection in April.

Pool Hayes Academy, Willenhall, is celebrating its  best ever Ofsted report. Pictured at the back is principal Tom McDowall with students.
Pool Hayes Academy, Willenhall, is celebrating its best ever Ofsted report. Pictured at the back is principal Tom McDowall with students.

Pool Hayes Academy, in Willenhall, has never had a 'Good' Ofsted inspection since opening in 1963, and received a 'Requires Improvement' at its last inspection in 2018.

However, the school has turned itself around and the school leaders were praised by Ofsted for "creating a culture of excellence and self-improvement".

The inspection team noted the dedication and support which staff offer pupils, and said: “Teachers take time to get to know each pupil well. Pupils build strong, positive relationships with their teachers.

“Staff act quickly if they have a concern, no matter how small. Leaders are resolute. They follow through all concerns raised and make sure that pupils receive the support they need to stay as safe as possible.”

The education watchdog also described the academy as "a calm and caring school" which had undergone a "period of rapid improvement" and praised pupils for their behaviour and "focus on their learning".

Furthermore, the report praised leaders for "developing an ambitious curriculum that puts pupils’ development at its heart" and “helping pupils develop a love of reading.”

Pool Hayes was also commended for "skilfully" teaching students with special educational needs and disabilities, noting that these students make "strong progress" as a result.

However, the report also found that "in a small number of subjects [...] pupils are not always taught the important things they need to be successful. This means that pupils do not progress as well as they could".

The report added that: "Teachers do not use assessment well enough to check pupils have understood what has been taught in a small number of subjects."

Tom McDowall, Principal of Pool Hayes Academy, said: “I am so proud of our whole academy community. I am delighted that our hard work, determination and resilience has been recognised in this Ofsted report.

“This is a huge achievement and I would like to thank every member of staff for their exceptional work over an incredibly challenging period in our academy’s history.

“We are not resting on our laurels or stopping here and we are more driven than ever to continue to improve the life chances of our young people at Pool Hayes.”

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