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Walsall school is handed 'requires improvement' rating by Ofsted

A school embroiled in a toilet scandal has been ordered to make corrections to its teaching standards after Ofsted inspectors found it required improvements.

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Walsall Academy, part of the Thomas Telford Multi Academy Trust, was inspected in November by the education watchdog Ofsted, but the report was only published last week.

It found the school 'Good' in all inspection areas apart from 'Quality of Education' in which it was deemed to 'Require Improvement' - which meant an overall finding that the school 'Requires Improvement'.

The report comes after the school received heavy backlash from concerned parents following its decision to install unisex toilets.

After the latest visit, inspectors concluded that the subject leaders at the school have not identified the knowledge pupils are expecting to learn and that Key Stage 3 students do not study a full range of subjects to the end of Year 9.

The report stated: "In some subjects, particularly in Key Stage 3, subject leaders have not clearly identified the knowledge pupils are expected to learn and the order in which it should be taught.

"This means that pupils do not build their knowledge on what they already know well enough. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum in all subjects clearly identifies the key knowledge pupils need to learn and in what order."

In the Ofsted report, inspectors went on to say that the school was operating as "good" in all areas except for the quality of education, which received the "requires improvement" rating.

The report read: "Walsall Academy is a welcoming school where pupils usually get along with one another. They respect the individual differences of their peers and treat each other fairly.

"Pupils enjoy school and work hard. Leaders expect pupils to achieve well. They want every pupil to become a 'happy and employable child with skills and qualifications to succeed in life'."

The report went on to say: "Key Stage 3 pupils do not study the full range of subjects to the end of Year 9. As a result, they do not gain a sufficient depth of knowledge in subjects that they have not chosen to study for GCSE.

"Leaders need to consider how they have designed the curriculum and make sure that it enables pupils to have the opportunity to acquire an appropriate depth of knowledge in all subjects studied at Key Stage 3."

The academy trust that runs the school said in a statement: "The Ofsted inspection report from our inspection on November 22-23 2022 was published on the Ofsted website on May 17, six months after the inspection.

"The reason for this lengthy delay was the number of mistakes and inaccuracies that had to be corrected from the original draft reports. We also made a large number of separate complaints about the inspection process, inspection report and the conduct of inspectors, some of which were upheld by the internal Ofsted complaints process.

"In our report ‘personal development’ was graded ‘good’. We would like to share a quote from the report that we think epitomises the work of the academy in this area: 'Pupils, parents and carers value the wide range of activities offered that broaden pupils’ personal development. These experiences enhance the curriculum and provide pupils with many cultural experiences. Opportunities such as expeditions, residential trips and theatre visits help pupils and students to build their resilience and character. A high number of pupils take advantage of the activities on offer'.

"'Sixth-form provision’ is ‘good’. 'Students in the sixth form benefit from a high-quality curriculum offer. Staff’s strong subject knowledge helps students to achieve well. Students value the quality and precise feedback they receive. Many of them act as role models to their younger peers. For example, some students support younger pupils as reading mentors'.

"Our ‘behaviour and attitudes’ are also ‘good’. 'Staff have positive relationships with pupils. This helps to create an environment that is conducive to learning. Teachers are implementing the school’s recently revised behaviour policy effectively. Lessons are usually free from disruption. When there are concerns around a pupil’s behaviour, staff take a restorative approach to helping pupils to avoid repeating the behaviour. This is working well and has also contributed to a reduction in the number of suspensions'.

"The ‘leadership and management’ of the Academy has been rated ‘good’ as well. 'Leaders expect pupils to achieve well. They want every pupil to become a ‘happy and employable child with the skills and qualifications to succeed in life’.', 'Leaders deal effectively with any incidents of bullying or derogatory language'.”

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