‘We’re a school on the march’: Aylesbury Vale Academy principal reacts to Ofsted report which grades it as inadequate

Roger Burman - New head teacher of Aylesbury Vale Academy
Roger Burman - New head teacher of Aylesbury Vale Academy
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Aylesbury Vale Academy principal Roger Burman says he is pleased with the progress he has made at the school despite inspectors grading it as inadequate in a report published today (Monday).

Mr Burman said the report said ‘what he expected’ adding: “We are a school on the march.

“We made huge improvements since I took over and once we can show the inspectors that we will get better results.”

Following a visit to the school in November, a team from Ofsted rated the school as inadequate because they found:

> Pupils were not making adequate enough progress

> Weak standards in the past were not addressed quickly enough

> Until recently, pupils missed too much time or were too late to lessons

> Pupil behaviour was frequently unacceptable and disrupted learning

Inspectors said that Mr Burman, who took over in April 2016, has been ‘highly-effective’, saying that he understood the scale of the school’s problems and that he has already tackled poor attendance, punctuality and unacceptable behaviour.

They also noted that: “Sponsors have been fortunate to appoint someone with the executive principal’s track record of excellence and successful school improvement.”

Mr Burman added: “The positives are that we have improved attendance, behaviour, uniform, teaching and learning.

“I have worked at many challenging schools in the past and this one has been the challenge that I expected.

“Ninety per cent of parents now say they would recommend the school to someone and I don’t think that has happened before.

“I have come here to be effective, not popular, and I think most of the pupils are grateful for what I’ve done even if they won’t admit it.

“This is an ongoing journey though - we want to continue improving standards so our students have enhanced life chances.”

Inspectors say that the most notable improvement since Mr Burman took over has been in behaviour which is ‘significantly better’ because persistent trouble-makers have been dealt with firmly.

The report described the governance as weak and criticised governors for treating the school as two schools.

Teaching was described as inadequate because ‘over time it has failed to provide the vast majority of pupils with the knowledge, skills and understanding to take the next steps in their education.’

Although the area of behaviour and welfare is graded as requires improvement in the report, inspectors say: “The new leadership team has raised expectations about behaviour.

“As a result, the school is an increasingly calm and ordered environment where pupils are more cooperative with staff and each other.”

Inspectors graded outcomes for pupils as inadequate saying: “Too many pupils do not achieve the standards of which they are capable.”

The report added that early years provision and study programmes for 16 to 19-year-olds required improvement.