Celebration as school declared ‘outstanding’

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By Keynsham People | Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 09:00

STAFF, students and governors at Wellsway School are celebrating after Ofsted declared the Keynsham school to be outstanding.

The 1,350-student school has moved from satisfactory status – an Ofsted grade 3 – to outstanding – Ofsted grade 1 – in three years. It is very rare for a school to move from satisfactory to outstanding so quickly.

Head teacher Andrea Arlidge said the report was “a tribute to the hard work of staff, students and governors” who helped deliver major improvements.

Innovations include all-age tutor groups, a wider choice of subjects and acquiring specialist status in sports and science. The school has also seen a big expansion in its sixth form provision, with a new hi-tech study centre.

Wellsway works closely with other local schools and the wider community, and is planning a new sports hall which will be accessible to all Keynsham residents.

In the January league tables, Wellsway had the best GCSE results in the former Avon region, with 78 per cent of students gaining five good GCSEs including English and Maths.

In their report, the inspectors said: “Since its last inspection the school has been successful in implementing an ambitious plan for improvement focused on its vision of becoming an outstanding school at the heart of its community.

The outcomes over the last three years demonstrate how effective this journey has been but the commitment to improvement at all levels ensures the school continues to innovate and build on its success.

“The head teacher provides outstanding leadership. Since her appointment, she has worked with determination to move the school forward. In this drive for improvement she has nurtured a culture of consultation and involvement by staff, students, governors and parents. Members of the governing body make an exceptional contribution to the work and direction of the school.”

The report said pastoral care and well-being of all students was at the heart of the school’s work.

“Vulnerable students and those with specific difficulties are given outstanding support and thrive in both their academic and personal development. With this very high quality of care, students respond with trust, confidence and enthusiasm.”

It said the sports specialist status was a particular strength, especially the focus on the seven values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, friendship, respect, excellence, determination, inspiration, courage and equality.

“The school has been highly proactive in designing a curriculum that is imaginative, forward looking and matched very well to students’ ambitions and personal goals,” inspectors commented.

They also praised students’ positive attitudes to learning and attendance, describing Wellsway as an “inclusive, well-ordered and harmonious school.”

Mrs Arlidge said: “I am delighted by the report and the praise we have received. We have worked incredibly hard over the last three years and it is fantastic to have our efforts recognised in this way. This is a tribute to the hard work of staff, students and governors and to our parents and the local community for their continued support. Of course, we will continue to work on further improvements to develop the school but this report shows what a difference has already been made.”

Chair of governors Chris Trout said: “This excellent report is a tribute to the substantial improvements that Andrea Arlidge has introduced as head, with the support of staff and the governing body. These changes have made a real difference to students’ achievement and the quality of school life, and it is great to see Ofsted recognising this so strongly.”


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