The schools watchdog inspected Beacon Academy in Crowborough in March. Over two days, a team of inspectors observed over 50 lessons; scrutinised work books and key documents about student attendance, behaviour and academic progress. Inspectors also spoke with governors, a range of teachers, other staff and groups of students.
Last time the school was inspected it was judged as “Outstanding” for the effectiveness of leadership and management. Now four years later, the school has also been rated as “Outstanding” for personal development, behaviour and welfare. In the remaining areas the school was rated as “Good”:The Ofsted report states that:
- The headteacher’s drive, ambition and resilience are successfully harnessing the potential for excellence within the school.
- The headteacher enjoys strong support from parents, pupils and staff alike. Staff are dedicated to doing their very best for the pupils in their care.
- Expertly guided by the headteacher, senior leaders make an outstanding contribution
- Pupils make significantly above-average progress in mathematics and achieve highly in a range of practical and academic subjects.
- Pupils behave exceptionally well in class and around the school. They relish the opportunities the school provides.
- Safeguarding is strong and effective. Pupils are acutely aware of the impact of their language and actions on others’ sense of well-being.
- Governors (trustees) robustly check that improvements benefit all pupils, both academically and pastorally, and that the school performs well compared to others nationally.
- Students’ progress on 16 to 19 study programmes is improving, following effective changes to leadership, the content of study programmes and developments in teaching.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Anna Robinson wrote:
In my numerous discussions with the Lead Inspector, she was fulsome with praise about our school. She fully recognised and acknowledged the rapid and sustained improvements that have been made across the board. She commented particularly on the unwavering and overwhelming support from parents, staff and students and the ambition, determination and resilience from us all to successfully harness the potential for excellence.
Although we have not yet secured an outstanding judgement for our overall effectiveness, this report is a significant improvement on our previous inspection and a fair reflection of where we are as a school currently.
The following areas are highlighted in the report as requirng further attention:
- Teaching is mostly good, and where it is not, it is improving. Some practice is very effective. Nevertheless, teaching, learning and assessment are not yet outstanding because, despite positive changes, there are some areas where teaching is not improving as rapidly as in others. These are most notably in science, and some aspects of English.
- For a small number of pupils, some of whom are disadvantaged, teaching does not enhance their learning and progress well enough. This is because some teachers do not challenge pupils to do better; consequently, the work they produce is not always the best of which they are capable.