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Andrew Hemmings Head Teacher Personal Statement

The interim head teacher of a Chelmsford secondary school that was told it 'required improvement' during a recent inspection is confident his team of staff are dedicated and committed to securing the necessary progress.

Hylands School, in Chelmsford Road, Writtle, was scrutinised by staff from the Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) in November last year.

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Inspectors found that not enough had been done to reduce pupil absence or tackle the high number of exclusions.

Between November 7 and 8, five inspectors, led by Andy Hemmings, observed 35 lessons, sometimes accompanied by senior school leaders, to check pupils’ learning and progress.

Ofsted grades

Schools can be awarded one of four grades following an Ofsted inspection;

  • 'Outstanding'
  • 'Good'
  • 'Requires Improvement'
  • 'Inadequate'

They also looked at the school’s behaviour, attendance records and its pupil progress tracking information as well as considering responses on an online survey that was taken by 140 parents.

They also spoke to pupils in groups – and individually – and held meetings with members of the governing body, a representative from the local authority as well as a representative from the trust who is also the new executive headteacher, Christian Cavanagh.

A finalised report that was published on January 4 gave the school an overall effectiveness rating of ‘requires improvement’.

The inspectors referred to a decline in pupil achievement and that school leaders were “slow” to make the necessary improvements.

In all but one area, Hylands was rated as 'Requires Improvement', but were deemed to be 'Inadequate' for students' personal development, behaviour and welfare.

However, the school was also found to have strengths – students were found to be safe, leaders had demonstrated the capacity to improve the school and the quality of the teaching was also getting better.

“The Ofsted report confirmed what we as a leadership team know – that there are areas of development within the school, which we are now focusing on in order to make the improvements, which will reinstate this school as a good school,” said interim head Andrew Parry.

“We have a team of dedicated and committed staff who are now working hard with our students to secure the progress which students should be making.

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“We have put into place more rigorous policies and procedures to ensure that areas such as attendance are improved on with immediate effect.

“We were pleased that the report recognised the work and successes we have been having, with teaching and learning, and this is so important in the development of the staff for the present cohort of students and for the future.”

Hylands School statement in full

In November Ofsted visited Hylands School for a two day inspection and judged it to be a school which “Requires Improvement”.

The report which was published in January stated that: “leaders demonstrate that they have the capacity to improve the school further…leaders have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school and have begun plans for improvement.

“New leaders have consolidated past improvements and built on them. Leaders have raised expectations and have increased staff accountability for the progress pupils make.”

Andrew Parry, the Interim Head, said “The Ofsted report confirmed what we as a leadership team know – that there are areas of development within the school which we are now focusing on in order to make the improvements which will reinstate this school as a good school.

“We have a team of dedicated and committed staff who are now working hard with our students to secure the progress which students should be making. We have put into place more rigorous policies and procedures to ensure that areas such as attendance are improved on with immediate effect.

“We were pleased that the report recognised the work and successes we have been having with teaching and learning and this is so important in the development of the staff for the present cohort of students and for the future.”

Christian Cavanagh, Executive Head of Hylands and the Senior Regional Director for TKAT, said “The most important thing to come out of the Ofsted report is the confirmation that this Leadership Team demonstrated that they have the capacity to improve this school.

“At the heart of all their decision processes are these students and our continual focus on teaching and learning will ensure that the life chances of these students, and all future cohorts, are improved.”

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The Executive Head of Hylands and the Senior Regional Director for the Kemnal Academies Trust, Christian Cavanagh, said: “The most important thing to come out of the Ofsted report is the confirmation that this leadership team demonstrated that they have the capacity to improve this school.

“At the heart of all their decision processes are these students and our continual focus on teaching and learning will ensure that the life chances of these students, and all future cohorts, are improved.”

In October last year, Thomas Thorpe, the school's former head teacher, announced he was stepping down from his position to "focus more time on his three children".

He had initially joined Hylands in January 2013 as assistant head and announced his decision to leave in a heartfelt letter which said it had been "an absolute pleasure to work with so many amazing young people".

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Following Mr Thorpe's decision to step down, Mr Parry was appointed to the role of acting head.

A representative of the school at the time said: "He will be supported by Mr Cavanagh, the Kemnal Academies Trust senior regional executive director.

"Supported by the Governors, TKAT will shortly start the process of appointing the substantive head teacher."

Hylands School, which educates children aged between 11 and 18, currently has 780 pupils and was last inspected in March 2013 where it received a 'Good' rating overall.

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Thomas Gainsborough School near Sudbury achieves ‘good’ Ofsted rating after joining Samuel Ward Academy Trust

PUBLISHED: 16:20 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:20 03 November 2017

Wayne Lloyd, headteacher at Thomas Gainsborough School, with students. The school received a 'Good' rating from Ofsted. Picture: MARCELLE CLAXTON

Thomas Gainsborough School

A large west Suffolk school which converted to academy status has achieved an improved Ofsted rating.

In its first inspection since joining the Samuel Ward Academy Trust in January 2015, the 1,397-pupil Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard was rated ‘good’ by the education inspectorate.

It represents an upgrade from the ‘requires improvement’ rating in 2013 which was effectively banished when the school left local authority control.

The team of six inspectors praised senior leadership, teachers, and the trust, which runs 19 schools.

Andy Hemmings, lead inspector, said leaders and governors are ambitious for pupils and have a “deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school”, resulting in good progress across subjects.

He wrote in his report: “Leaders have tailored the curriculum to meet the individual needs of pupils. The innovative ‘grammar’, ‘broad’ and ‘STEM’ pathways enable pupils to begin to specialise from Year 7.

“As a consequence, pupils are well prepared to make the right choices for key stage 4 study.”

Teachers check the progress that pupils make with other schools across the trust, he said. Lead practitioners for key subjects have been appointed, improving results.

The individual category of personal development, behaviour and welfare was rated ‘outstanding’. The school’s key values of resilience, respect and happiness are embedded daily and pupils benefit from work experience.

Leaders also “understand the barriers to learning that disadvantaged pupils face”.

However, some teachers do not have a clear understanding of pupils’ current ability, meaning some work is either too easy or too difficult, slowing progress.

Headteacher Wayne Lloyd said: “We are all very pleased with this report which recognises the progress the school has made in recent years. It is testimony to the hard work of everyone.

“However, we are in no way resting on our laurels, and will carry on working to improve.”

Tim Coulson, chief executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust, said: “The Ofsted report backs up that Thomas Gainsborough is one of the leading schools in the trust and indeed across Suffolk.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for all the great work.”