'One of the hardest challenges of my career': Aylesbury Vale Academy principal on taking school out of special measures

The principal of Aylesbury Vale Academy has described how taking the school 'out of special measures' was one of the hardest challenges of his career.

By Neil Shefferd
Thursday, 14th February 2019, 2:29 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 9:35 am
Aylesbury Vale Academy principal Roger Burman outside the school
Aylesbury Vale Academy principal Roger Burman outside the school

Ofsted inspectors rated the school in Paradise Orchard, Berryfields, as 'good' following a visit last month and in a report published earlier this week, praised executive principal Roger Burman's 'inspirational leadership' which has enabled 'a rapid improvement' across all areas of the academy.

Mr Burman said: "I am delighted with the report and the fact that the progress we made has been recognised.

Aylesbury Vale Academy principal Roger Burman outside the school

"It has been hard work, it has not happened overnight, and it has been a major team effort.

"Because of the inadequate rating we received in November 2016 we undertook a 'root and branch' review and we have shown what can be done.

"Parents whose children do not go to grammar schools have the chance to go to an improving school where standards are constantly being driven upwards."

As well as Mr Burman's leadership, inspectors said 'the curriculum is in the process of being expanded' and that 'outcomes have improved because of strong subject leadership.'

The report says that 'primary and secondary teachers know their classes well' and added that 'leaders have improved overall attendance' and that 'behaviour and punctuality have significantly improved.'

Mr Burman added: "As the school has improved, we have seen individual numbers of staff progress which is great.

"It has enabled us to bring in teaching staff where necessary and the school has really lifted off."

Inspectors received plenty of positive feedback from parents who made comments including 'I believe this school has done incredible work to change things' and 'we can’t praise the school more highly - the school is improving and going from strength to strength.'

The school which has 1430 pupils on the roll was given some feedback on how to improve further which included expanding modern foreign language provision, ensuring that attendance continues to improve across all age groups and improving communication with parents to equip with a greater understanding of how pupils are progressing.

Mr Burman added: "I think this is one of the hardest challenges of my career - schools with challenges need leaders.

"I am pleased that we have been able to turn things around in the space of 18 months - but it has not been easy.

"We have a Good rating but that is not the final destination - our next target is to get to 'Outstanding' and I believe we can do that."