DYSON Perrins CofE Academy is making ‘rapid progress’ in response to disappointing exam results and Ofsted inspection last year, an independent report has found.
Stuart Wetson was appointed permanent headteacher at the Yates Hay Road School in January and welcomed inspectors from Incyte to conduct a two day review following a previous visit.
They concluded there were now a greater number of ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ lessons, students were more motivated and there was a ‘marked’ improvement in staff morale and confidence.
The report said: “Staff have responded to address the key points raised in the initial Incyte Review with enthusiasm and professional determination.
“The school now has a positive ‘can do’ approach and confidence to develop all aspects of its work.”
Speaking to the Observer, Mr Wetson explained some of the changes which he had overseen at Dyson Perrins while being in temporary charge since September.
He said a new tracking system had helped teachers use pupil data they already had in a more user friendly way, to identify students who were doing well, underperforming and those where there was cause for alarm.
A major benefit of this is teachers can now make more accurate predictions on pupils’ expected grades.
Mr Wetson said the school was working to ‘considerably improve’ on the 41 per cent of students who achieved five A to C GCSE grades last year and had also completely revised predictions for this year’s results in a bid to reduce the ‘disparity’ between expectations and actual results.
The school now also exercises ‘less tolerance’ to bad pupil behaviour, although Ofsted inspectors recognised the area as ‘good’ when grading the school as ‘requiring improvement’ overall in February last year.
The staffing structure has been ‘stripped back’ and simplified to a more traditional model, removing heads of faculty and having single heads of subject and heads of year which has provided greater clarity over teacher’s responsibilities and made it more effective to troubleshoot any problem areas.
Mr Weston said the new approach addressed the previous lack of understanding of the different needs of different learning groups.
Although he admitted it was a less cost effective structure in the short term, he added it was his ‘daily conundrum’ to ensure the school was sustainable going forward while showing improved performance.
Central to that is an investment in the development of current teaching staff at the school in a bid to ensure high quality standards for years to come.
Mr Weston welcomed the positive feedback from Incyte but warned the school would still be vulnerable to an Ofsted inspection due to last year’s results.
However he added the new positive attitude at Dyson Perrins had already seen significant improvement.
“There has been a huge push on raising expectations in the school. We’ve had a bit of a reputation locally for caring for pupils from a pastoral perspective, which is great and we want to continue, but we also want children to feel they can actually achieve here