UPDATED: ‘The statement of action and improvement plan is not fit for purpose’: Ofsted’s latest verdict on Aylesbury Vale Academy

Aylesbury Vale Academy
Aylesbury Vale Academy

Ofsted has released its report on its first visit to Aylesbury Vale Academy since the school was graded ‘Inadequate’ earlier this year.

During the monitoring inspection in July, the details of which were published yesterday (Tuesday), inspectors found that sponsors and Governors were not taking effective action towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation.

Roger Burman - New head teacher of Aylesbury Vale Academy

Roger Burman - New head teacher of Aylesbury Vale Academy

They did note that the decisive action of leaders was helping towards an improvement in teaching and behaviour, which in turn was benefiting pupils progress.

The previous inspection said that independent reviews of the school’s governance and use of the pupil premium should be carried out.

It said: “The combined statement of action and strategic plan outlines appropriate actions, success criteria and timescales to

address many of the issues raised in the previous inspection report.

“However, arrangements for monitoring progress against the plan are unclear, and the most recent evaluations of impact lack sufficient detail.

“Therefore, the statement of action is not fit for purpose.”

On the issue of ineffective governance inspectors say: “Since the previous inspection, there have been several changes to the composition of the

governing body.

“There are unfilled vacancies, and the attendance of some governors at meetings is patchy.

“The remaining governors, including the recently appointed chair, are committed to the success of the school.

“However, they are few in number and so lack sufficient capacity to carry out their statutory duties effectively.”

However, inspectors say that the ‘tardy’ response of governors is in marked contrast to that of the executive principal and his team.

They write: “Since the previous inspection, the executive principal has established clear expectations, which have helped to foster greater consistency in teaching.

“A rigorous programme of lesson observations has ensured that all teachers receive detailed feedback on their performance.

“Teachers also benefit from regular training, which is often delivered by the school’s most effective teachers.

“Subject leaders, in particular those who have been recently appointed, play an increasingly important role in improving the quality of teaching.

“Where the quality of teaching falls short of the executive principal’s high expectations, teachers are given targets to meet and additional coaching support.

“In many cases, this support has enabled those teachers to improve their performance.”

Inspectors added that they received good feedback from students during the visit in July.

They write: “Pupils say that most of the teaching is better than it was last year.

“They also say that they get helpful feedback on their work and behaviour has improved.

“Teachers and pupils comment favourably on the fact that the executive principal is a highly visible figure in classrooms and in corridors.

“In most lessons, pupils pay attention to their teachers, take pride in their work and try their best.”

Aylesbury Vale Academy’s principal Roger Burman said: “I think the report is a fair assessment of where the school is now.

“There has been a big focus on raising the quality of teaching and learning and we have improved behaviour.

“We are in the process of revamping our governing body and hope to welcome a new chairman and some new Governors at our meeting tomorrow night (Thursday).

“After the inspection in July, I personally rewrote the improvement plan and self-evaluations.

“We have had a big turnover of staff and we are in a much stronger position now.

“Our GCSE results were up on the previous year and I think the future for the school is looking good.”