Lydiard Park Academy in Grange Park has been ranked as good by Ofsted in 2008 (when it was Greendown School), 2011 and in mid-January.
The inspectors said students achieve well, including those who have special educational needs or are disabled, and make good progress in both their academic and personal development.
Lessons generally provide good opportunities for students to build their knowledge and understanding through interesting and challenging activities. Some teaching is inspiring; teachers use their expertise to enthuse students and drive rapid progress.
Students behave well, both in lessons and with one another. They enjoy school and understand that it is helping them take clear strides towards their future lives.
Leaders and managers ensure the school is a safe, harmonious place where ambition and drive are valued and rewarded.
Clive Zimmerman with Year 7 students holding the report.
The governing body has an excellent understanding of the school and members use their considerable expertise and energy to help and challenge staff and leaders as they build success in the academy.
Headteacher Clive Zimmerman said he was delighted with the report. “Ofsted nowadays gives you less than a day’s notice of the inspection so schools have to be ready to be judged.
“Inspections have become significantly more demanding and I’m glad that Lydiard Park Academy has been judged good at every inspection since 2008. In the past around 25 per cent of schools were judged outstanding, now it’s only 5 to 10 per cent. Inspections are hard work because they pick out every detail, but they always leave us with good guidance on areas for improvement.
“The inspectors were very encouraging about the opening of our Sixth Form which they said is just what the school and the area needs."
The report says the school has to improve student progress in English and to ensure writing is a consistent focus across subjects.
Checks made by leaders on teaching are sometimes not rigorous enough and teachers’ marking needs to be consistently clear and followed up across subjects so that students fully understand how to improve their work.
There have been 120 applications to join the Lydiard Park Academy Sixth Form in September and Mr Zimmerman expects around 100 to start after this summer’s GCSE results are announced. The school hopes to a bid for £300,000 in capital investment will be successful to improve the environment for sixth form students.
The letter to Lydiard Park Academy to parents from Dave Davison, chair of the governing body
You will recall that the school was recently inspected by a team from Ofsted and we have now been given permission to release the final report. A full copy is attached to this letter.
We are very pleased to be able to report that the school has been rated as ‘a good school’ in terms of the overall rating given and the rating for each of the four sections of the report. This is especially pleasing because Ofsted tightened its inspection regime considerably at the start of this school year and made further tightening ‘adjustments’ for the start of January. Consequently, our school was amongst the first to be inspected under the very latest inspection framework.
In spite of the toughened criteria, the Ofsted team were clear that Lydiard Park Academy is a good and improving school. The report details the good progress that pupils make, the good standards of behaviour that pervade the school, and also the sense of ambition that staff, governors and pupils have for what we can go on to achieve in the future. In their verbal feedback the inspectors also made it clear that the school is now in a very strong position from which to aim for ‘outstanding’, even though their new definition of ‘outstanding’ is much tougher to meet than before.
I know that Mr Zimmerman and his team found the inspection a challenging but worthwhile experience. The inspectors agreed with the view of the leadership team as to what is now of the right standard and what remains to be done, and also gave much good advice on how to move further forwards. In their verbal feedback the Ofsted inspectors also made comment on the new sixth form that starts in September, agreeing that it is exactly what the school needs to raise ambition and achievement still further.
As a governing body we are as determined as the school leadership team that Lydiard Park Academy should cement its reputation as the best secondary school in the area. We are delighted that this latest report recognises the many improvements that have been made since becoming an Academy and we look forward to continuing to represent parents and the local community in helping the school to develop even further.