A News story by Humayon Pramanik 12 December 2017

Ofsted inspectors have concluded that Willenhall E-ACT Academy is making good progress and that the academy and trust leaders are “taking effective action” following their recent unannounced inspection of the academy on 21 – 22 November.

Monitoring inspections are conducted as part of standard procedure when a school or academy is placed in special measures at their last full inspection.

Overall, Ofsted inspectors have concluded that the academy’s leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of Special Measures, with both the trust’s and academy’s action plans described as ‘fit for purpose’ by inspectors.

E-ACT has overseen significant and positive change at the academy since before Willenhall was placed in Ofsted Special Measures in March 2017. Headteacher Kirsty Jones was appointed shortly before March 2017 as were many new senior leaders in key positions at the academy. Under Ms Jones’ strong leadership, the academy has shown significant progress in a short period of time.

Furthermore, the academy has successfully filled a large number of vacancies with talented teaching and non-teaching staff, and leaders have restructured the academy’s pastoral system. The trust has also continued to closely monitor progress at the academy.

As part of the monitoring inspection, Ofsted inspectors spent time observing and interacting with academy students in and out of lessons, and they met with and observed academy teaching staff.

Summary of findings from the monitoring inspection

  • Academy and trust leaders have acted quickly to address the areas for improvement since the previous inspection
  • The energy and enthusiasm of the new headteacher and other leaders to tackle the issues the academy faces are clearly apparent
  • There have been marked improvements in students’ behaviour and safety. Students told inspectors that behaviour at the academy has improved greatly
  • There are improvements in the quality of teaching. Students recognise and appreciate that the quality of teaching has improved
  • Improvements in school systems, including the structure of the academy day, monitoring the academy site and approaches to manage students’ behaviour, have been highly successful
  • Students arrive, leave and move around the academy in a calm and orderly manner, supported by effective and vigilant staff supervision
  • There are positive relationships between students and their teachers
  • There is evidence that results for students are set to improve this year. Monitoring information suggests that students currently in Year 11 are now making better rates of progress than they did previously
  • Recent assessment information suggests that rates of progress for disadvantaged students currently in Year 11 are improving as a result of better teaching
  • The trust has prioritised the academy for additional support in a number of key areas and has provided effective behaviour management training for teaching staff

There is undoubtedly much more important work to be done, but Ofsted’s findings show that Willenhall E-ACT Academy students and staff can together look forward to a bright future.