4 April, 2022
A school has achieved its best ever inspection grade after Ofsted found staff were “galvanised” by the principal’s “ambitious vision”.
Ormiston NEW Academy, in Fordhouses, has now been rated as good in every area, from the quality of education in the classroom through to student’s behaviour and sixth form.
The latest inspection report praises the school’s leaders for creating a “culture where positive behaviour and discipline are celebrated”. It says that Ormiston NEW Academy is a “vibrant school” that students “enjoy coming to” and where they are “safe”
“Students understand that they must try their best and strive for excellence at all times,” adds the report. As one student told inspectors, “I know that today will not be my best, because tomorrow will be better.”
The school was taken over by Ormiston Academies Trust and turned into an academy in 2017. Its predecessor, North East Wolverhampton Academy, had been rated as requires improvement twice.
Craig Cooling, who has been principal since 2019, has said that he is immensely proud of the Ofsted findings.
He added: “Magic happens in classrooms up and down the country every day but it doesn’t happen enough. I’m driven to create a school environment where magic happens in every corner of the school, it’ll continue when students go home and it’ll mature when they leave us and become fantastic, loved, happy members of society.
“This report shows that the personal development of students at NEW Academy is a strength. It is. We’ve worked hard all through the pandemic to ensure the best outcomes for our students in everything they do. This is the magic we create.
“The report also says that leaders are tenacious; we’re creating an environment where that tenacity flows through everyone. I have an incredible staffing body here at Ormiston NEW Academy and we aren’t settling for good, we continue to plan, evolve, grow and provide our young people with the best opportunities.”
The next focus will be on expanding football and basketball academy with trials happening at Easter as well as further developing and embedding whole-school initiatives to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion. Ofsted found that “diversity is celebrated” mentioning the steel drum and Caribbean food workshops as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month.
A-level student Brandon who has recently received an offer from Oxford University to study history said: “There’s been a huge change here in such a short amount of time from behaviour to a focus on reading. Things are so much better and I am proud to be an Ormiston NEW Academy student.”
A culture of reading was noted throughout the school and the report mentions that “pupils are developing a love of reading.” The school provides lots of reading opportunities including the recent Get Caught Reading initiative.
Pia, who is fourteen, is taking options this year and ultimately wants to study law said: “I come to a school where I am looked after, kept safe and my education won’t go to waste. Teachers care deeply. Everyone is helped, work is differentiated and teachers give us their very best – I’m really grateful for that.”
Ofsted found leaders are “quick to identify pupils who have additional needs such as those with special educational and or disabilities.” The report highlights the support these pupils get and the strong progress they make.
Fourteen-year-old student Madison isn’t surprised at the good rating. She said: “I joined the school in Year 7 and Mr Cooling has our back. There have been big changes. We trust our teachers and each other. We are one big family. To know that, I feel joy.
“The biggest change is to the way we learn, we listen to our teachers and their expertise and I think the four-part lesson structure helps everyone. I’m so happy that the school is what it is now.”
“Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum,” says the report. “The knowledge that pupils learn builds effectively upon the things they already know” and there is a good use of assessment to check pupils have understood what they have been taught.
The school, in Marsh Lane, has 768 pupils on roll including 101 sixth-formers.
The regional director for Ormiston Academies Trust, Paula Jones, said: “Ormiston NEW Academy is a great school with wonderful students, supportive families, talented leaders and dedicated teachers and support staff. It is fantastic to see the school get the recognition it deserves following significant improvements.”
Click here for the latest Ofsted report.