A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 23 November 2017

We are delighted to announce that West Walsall E-ACT Academy has been judged Good following an Ofsted inspection in October.

In just over 19 months the academy has undergone an impressive transformation, moving from their previous Ofsted rating of Inadequate to the first ever Good rating in the academy’s history.

This achievement is all the more impressive when we consider that 69% of the academy’s students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, with over 80% of students eligible for pupil premium in some year groups.

Rated Good overall

Inspected over 31 October and 1 November, West Walsall has been rated Good overall.

Ofsted inspectors describe the academy as ‘a rapidly improving school’ where students flourish socially and academically. The academy curriculum is praised for providing a broad range of experiences, and students are described ‘as safe and happy’. Student achievement is also noted as ‘rapidly improving’ throughout the school.

Effectiveness of leadership and management

West Walsall E-ACT Academy has also been rated Good for the effectiveness of its leadership and management.

Headteacher Qamar Riaz is praised by inspectors for successfully addressing the many deep-seated issues that had previously faced the school, with academy staff described as ‘optimistic about the future’.

Qamar notes that he is proud of the pace and precision with which these historical inadequacies have been addressed.

“The transformation which has occurred since April 2016 is a testament to the efforts of both staff and students at the academy. This is a huge strength and will support us in the next phase of our development.”Qamar Riaz, Headteacher

Rapid improvements in students’ outcomes are in part attributed to a well-planned and organised curriculum. Academy leaders are noted as having high expectations of students, and are praised for frequently checking and evaluating the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Inspectors also praise E-ACT’s governance arrangements, noting that the roles and responsibilities of the trust and AAG are clear, with both working well to challenge and support the academy.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment

Excellent training opportunities for staff have, according to Ofsted inspectors, led to huge improvements in students’ learning.

Teachers are described as having ‘excellent subject knowledge’, delivering interesting and engaging lessons that maintain students’ interest and enable them to make progress. Teachers are also described as having high expectations of what students should know and can do.

As a result, West Walsall E-ACT Academy has also been rated Good for the quality of its teaching, learning and assessment.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Personal development, behaviour and welfare is another area that has received a Good rating.

“We enjoy being with teachers, we like each other’s company.” A student at West Walsall E-ACT Academy

Students are described as ‘increasingly ambitious and aspirational’, demonstrating resilience and perseverance in their learning. According to the Ofsted report, student-teacher relations are very positive, with students commenting on this in conversation with inspectors.

16 to 19 study programmes

Ofsted inspectors have rated the 16-19 offering at the academy as Good, noting that all students who completed their studies at the end of Year 13 in 2017 achieved their target grades, going on to their first choice universities or chosen employment and training.

Sixth form teachers are described as having high expectations of what their students should achieve and excellent subject knowledge. Inspectors also  praise the wide range of opportunities available to sixth formers to develop their leadership skills.

Outcomes for pupils

Whilst inspectors have judged outcomes for pupils as Requires Improvement, they note that improvements in the quality of teaching and a reduction in the number of supply teachers used has resulted in significant improvements in students’ progress from their starting points.

Furthermore, leaders and staff are noted as having successfully addressed students’ writing and numeracy skills, with students from disadvantaged backgrounds also noted as performing particularly well.

“I am hugely positive about the future and look forward to further unlocking the potential of all our students and improving their life chances.”Qamar Riaz, Headteacher

We are proud that West Walsall E-ACT Academy is now among 15 E-ACT academies rated Good by Ofsted, and that almost two-thirds of our academies have now received this rating.

West Walsall E-ACT Academy is clearly in an excellent position to build on the many strengths highlighted by the Ofsted inspectors. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all academy and trust staff, students and parents for their continuing hard work.

You can read the full Ofsted inspection report here.