WOA refuses to let the pandemic slow it down

Wodensborough Ormiston Academy (WOA) has been praised by Ofsted in its latest report for an "unremitting determination to move the school forward" on its positive trajectory, a vision reflected by staff, students and the wider school community.

The report commended the academy's "refusal to let the pandemic slow [its] work in improving the education that pupils receive" and noted that leaders have focused on the key areas for improvement, have high expectations of their students and celebrate their successes. This vision is shared by its local governing body and the academy’s sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), both of which are similarly ambitious for its students.

The inspection was conducted remotely, and Ofsted spoke to many staff and students, as well as gathering responses from parents. Inspectors looked into the action the academy had taken to provide education to all students, taking into account the remote learning provision.

Ofsted concluded

As a result of their inspection, which confirmed that WOA had taken effective action to deliver the expected standard of education, Ofsted concluded that:

  • Staff were in regular contact with students during remote learning, with more than 15,000 calls made to support and encourage students. As a result, engagement in remote learning rose steadily and leaders’ actions strengthened the relationship between school, home and the wider community, helping students return to school successfully.
  • Students value the care that staff have shown them and told the inspectors that staff have communicated clearly with them throughout the pandemic, ensuring that they were appropriately supported and that their education could continue at the expected standard.
  • Year 11s are given the information and support they need to make informed choices about their future, for example, through the ‘smart start’ tutorial programme and an online careers classroom.
  • Staff members continued efforts to develop the inclusive ethos of the school which shone through, and leaders supported students with the most complex needs well, successfully taking steps to support those with worries about returning to school. They are strengthening the provision further for pupils with SEND and have improved systems for identifying pupils who need extra help.
  • Leaders prioritise reading and want all pupils to be able to read confidently and fluently. During the latest lockdown, well-trained adults continued to support pupils well who needed help to read. As all pupils returned, leaders checked carefully to identify any other pupil who needed extra help. As a result of this support, pupils are becoming better readers, which means that they can learn well in all of their lessons.
  • Leaders introduced a new curriculum as planned in September 2020, working hard to ensure it was ambitious and broad. The academy is continuing to develop the curriculum and embed plans, which is recommended by Ofsted.
  • The Trust provides effective support to the academy, ranging from practical support to continued professional development of staff, with leaders using the network of professionals across the Trust well, to benefit the academy’s provision.

A nurturing environment during difficult times

Over the past year, students and staff as well as the wider community at Wodensborough Ormiston Academy have worked exceptionally hard to support each other and to be a nurturing environment during difficult times. Despite the challenges, students continued to engage with learning and improve their skills. Now they're back in the classroom, everyone is keen to build on what they have learnt and have hit the ground running this term, as the academy continues on its clear journey of improvement.

"As we look towards the future, we’re more determined than ever to continue to build on the progress we’ve made so far, and I know I speak for everyone at WOA when I say we’re very excited about the positive opportunities that lie ahead for our academy, students, staff and wider school community. Our students are ambitious, determined and hard-working, and every one of them has the potential to go on to great things, so it is brilliant that our recognition of this has been noted by Ofsted."

Leigh Moore, Principal