A News story by Ellena Schuster-Farrell 8 November 2019


We are delighted to announce that E-ACT Pathways Academy in Sheffield has been judged good following an Ofsted inspection in October 2019. 

This is the first time the academy has received the good rating since becoming an academy in 2013. Having joined E-ACT in January 2015, the academy has undergone an impressive transformation, moving from an Ofsted rating of requires improvement to good. Over 80% of E-ACT academies are now rated good or better by Ofsted. 

This fantastic achievement is all the more impressive given the diversity of our pupils. Half of all pupils at Pathways are supported by pupil premium funding, which is almost double the national average. The proportion of pupils with special educational needs or disabilities is 34%, which is almost two and a half times higher than the national average.  

Rated good overall

Inspected over 2 and 3 October 2019, Pathways has been rated good overall and in each of the five key areas assessed at inspection. 

Ofsted inspectors praise the academy’s curriculum which has been crafted by trust and academy leaders, and Pathway’s ambitious teachers who have received comprehensive training and support from the trust. 

Inspectors also noted that pupils’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is continuously improving and praised the range of opportunities available for personal development. 

Outlined below are just a few of the main highlights from the academy’s positive report. You can read the full report here.  

“Enthusiastic” leaders

Inspectors praise academy leaders for creating “a caring and warm atmosphere in the school.” The report also praises subject leaders, noting that they “are enthusiastic about their roles.” 

According to inspectors, leaders identify the training needs of their staff and provide appropriate professional development. The report also points out that the trust provides “comprehensive training and support to leaders and staff”, which “increases the school’s capacity to improve further.” 

“Teachers make learning interesting.”

Inspectors note that teachers “make learning interesting”, and praise the high expectations that they set for their pupils. According to inspectors, this ensures that pupils “enjoy their lessons and are happy coming to school.” 

The report also praises teachers’ use of assessment, pointing out that they check for gaps in pupils’ knowledge and adapt their teaching accordingly. This means that “pupils’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is continuously improving.” 

An “ambitious curriculum”

The curriculum at Pathways is commended in the report, with inspectors praising academy leaders’ close work with the trust to “plan a curriculum which is coherent across all subjects.” Inspectors point out that teachers “think carefully” about the content they teach to pupils, and note that curriculum plans for each subject are built in a way that “helps pupils to remember more and be able to do more.” 

Promoting a love of reading

In the report, inspectors are incredibly positive about the academy’s work around reading, praising leaders and teachers for their commitment to helping all pupils to develop a love of reading. Inspectors highlight the academy’s structured approach to reading, the extra support given to pupils struggling with reading and “engaging” story time at the end of each day.  

Pupils with SEND “supported very well”

The academy’s provision for pupils with special education needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is highlighted as a strength of the academy, with inspectors noting that pupils “are supported very well.” According to inspectors, this is due to the early identification of learning needs by staff in the Willow classroom, who plan any support required.  

“Polite and respectful” pupils

The pupils at the academy have received a glowing report, with inspectors noting that they are “polite and respectful” to each other and to staff. They mention that pupils hold doors open for visitors and behave well both in lessons and around the academy.  

Inspectors note that pupils try their hardest in lessons, “show positive attitudes to their learning” and “take pride in their work.” 

Supporting pupils’ personal development

Inspectors note that there is “a wide range of opportunities for pupils to get involved in school life, outside lessons.” They highlight the 140 pupils that take part in sports and after-academy clubs every week, as well as a water sports residential fully funded by the trust for every Year 5 pupil at an E-ACT academy. Inspectors also note that pupils are given opportunities to contribute to academy life as school councillors, sports leaders or healthy mind champions.  

“Positive attitudes and resilience” in early years

Inspectors point out that the early years curriculum is planned “coherently”, ensuring that children are well prepared for Year 1. According to inspectors, daily phonics sessions in early years ensure that pupils learn sounds quickly. The report also highlights pupils’ ability to listen, compromise and share, as well as their “positive attitudes and resilience.” 

Headteacher Eleanore Pickard said:

“I am delighted that E-ACT Pathways Academy has been recognised as good in every category by Ofsted, and I am so pleased to have been part of the academy’s amazing journey so far. This achievement is thanks to the hard work of E-ACT regional and academy staff, who always strive to do the very best for our wonderful pupils. I’m proud that Ofsted commented on the strong relationships between staff and the enthusiasm that they bring to their roles, and I feel honoured to be part of the academy. I look forward to working closely with our academy community as we continue on this journey.” Eleanore Pickard, Headteacher

The incredibly positive comments made by Ofsted inspectors about E-ACT Pathways Academy are a testament to the hard work and efforts of our talented academy and trust staff and pupils and our supportive parents, and I take this opportunity to thank them for all they do for our academy. Pathways is now in a fantastic position to build on the many strengths highlighted by Ofsted. We’re proud that over 80% of E-ACT academies are now rated good or better, and we continue to work hard to ensure that all our children can access the best possible educational opportunities.” Jane Millward, Chief Executive

We thank academy and regional staff as well as the wider academy community for their continuing hard work. Most of all, we thank the people who matter most in all of this; our pupils, for continuously inspiring us with their energy, enthusiasm and creativity.