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Outstanding Ofsted Report

Students holding Ofsted Outstanding sign

We are delighted and extremely proud to announce that following a Section 5 inspection by the education watchdog Ofsted in January, we have been judged to be an ‘outstanding’ school in all areas. This represents a jump from our previous judgement of requires improvement, an absolutely amazing achievement having also gone through the pandemic.

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Inspectors noted that pupils excel at this highly ambitious and inclusive school. Staff strive relentlessly to find ways to improve pupils’ lives, including through the delivery of the very carefully planned curriculum. Pupils know that staff care for and respect them. Disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) learn alongside, and in harmony with, their peers.

Jan Saunders, Principal of Frome Vale Academy, said: ‘I am immensely proud of the outstanding Ofsted judgement, which is an endorsement of the hard work and unrelenting approach to developing a broad and engaging curriculum underpinned by a culture of Frome Vale Citizenship. This approach has involved all stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we provide the best life chances for all our pupils. We would like to thank our Frome Vale Citizens, school community, families, and the CLF.”

Ofsted’s report said: “Pupils know that a lot is expected of them. Pupils thrive because of the wide range of extra-curricular experiences on offer. Staff promote equality of opportunity very well. Pupils of all abilities are included fully in school life. They take on various responsibilities. Pupils learn about cultures and beliefs from around the world in lessons and from each other. As a result, pupils understand, appreciate and respect difference.

“Pupils’ behaviour is excellent. Everyone has high expectations of behaviour. Staff promote positive relationships in all aspects of school life. Bullying is very rare and is dealt with effectively if it happens. Pupils’ attitudes to learning are exemplary, especially as they get older. Pupils rightly said that they feel safe and are safe. They truly act as, and value being, Frome Vale Citizens.”
On Leadership they said: “Leaders’ moral purpose underpins the success of this highly effective school. Leaders know their school and its community exceptionally well. They use this to improve the school systematically, and with high ambition. Leaders have secured the support and enthusiasm of all. Staff feel, and are, valued. Leaders develop staff to be highly effective, whatever their role. Consequently, the curriculum meets the pupils’ needs with precision.

“Leaders’ rationale for curriculum design is underpinned by the shared value of preparing pupils as global citizens. They recognise the importance of broadening pupils’ experiences to reduce barriers caused by disadvantage or individual need. To do this, they have planned an ambitious curriculum that goes beyond the expectation of the national curriculum. Curriculum leaders have in-depth knowledge of their subjects, and lead with clarity and gusto. They ensure that planning is logically sequenced and aspiring. This allows teachers to deliver series of lessons that secure rapid and deep learning for pupils, including those with SEND. The diversity of the curriculum engages pupils’ enthusiasm. Pupils learn to be active citizens in their communities and beyond.”

Kate Richardson, CLF Executive Principal said: “The report describes a school at the heart of its community supporting pupils to thrive and excel as global citizens, achieved through exceptional enactment of an ambitious curriculum coupled with a strong offer for children’s personal development. The school and community have a long-standing relationship with the trust; we are delighted with the outcome.”

Ofsted’s report also noted: “Children settle quickly into the highly effective early years provision. Early years leaders continuously look to improve further. They are ambitious for all, but particularly the most disadvantaged. Staff work to deliver the leaders’ vision with enthusiasm. They are knowledgeable about the areas of learning they teach. Staff encourage children to make the most of every moment to learn. Positive relationships underpin the high expectations staff have for children. Effective assessment and careful planning ensure that children’s individual needs are met very well. Children love the chance to learn and explore through well-planned and well-presented learning environments.

“The teaching of reading is very effective. Leaders have ensured that staff teach early reading consistently and effectively. Children learn sounds from the moment they enter Reception. Teachers deliver lessons that are well structured, interesting and exciting. Skilled support staff provide tailored extra sessions for those at risk of falling behind. Consequently, pupils learn their sounds quickly. They can blend sounds to read well. This is reflected in the high proportion of pupils who meet the expected standard in the Year 1 phonics screening checks. Staff work hard to engender a love of reading. Teachers act as storytellers and bring tales to life. Pupils said that teachers make reading fun. They talked about books they have learned to love, such as ‘Esio Trot’ and ‘Skellig’.

“Skilled staff deliver the intended curriculum very effectively. They have strong subject knowledge across all areas of the curriculum. Teachers plan learning with the school’s strong ethos in mind. They use regular and ongoing assessment to successfully adapt the curriculum. Consequently, pupils make rapid gains, often from very low starting points. They remember the curriculum very well. They are exceptionally well prepared for the next stage of their education.

The report noted that members of the academy council, supported by the board of trustees, provide considered support and robust challenge. They have guided senior leaders to be even more effective. For example, curriculum leads benefit from access to national qualifications and trust networks. There are also opportunities to work with curriculum experts from secondary schools in the trust. Furthermore, similar initiatives enhance the leadership of SEND and the early years. Consequently, Inspectors felt leadership at all levels is highly effective.
On safeguarding, Ofsted commented: “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Safeguarding leads are highly visible and known by staff, pupils and their families. Systems and processes are clear and established. Records are kept well. Leaders are tenacious in their interactions with other agencies.

“Staff are aware of the contextual challenges of working in this vibrant community. They access appropriate training. Staff follow policy diligently. All work hard to support pupils and their families. Consequently, pupils are safe.

Safer recruitment processes are well established. Appropriate checks are made on the suitability of staff. Checks are recorded carefully on a single central record.”