Sunderland's Farringdon Community Academy wins Ofsted praise for progress - but further improvement still required
Farringdon Community Academy remains classified as requiring improvement following a recent Ofsted monitoring inspection, but has been praised for the progress made.
The academy was judged as requiring improvement following a full inspection in 2019 and this was the third subsequent monitoring inspection to assess the progress made.
Following the visit, inspector James Duncan stated: “Leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action in order for the school to become a good school."
A key area of progress was in curriculum provision and behaviour of pupils.
The report stated: “New subjects, such as music and engineering, have been introduced. The pathways that pupils follow in Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to 9) have been amended to ensure all pupils access a broad range of subjects.
“Subject leaders have improved their curriculum plans."
On the assessment of behaviour, the report added: “Work to improve pupils’ behaviour is having some success. The number of fixed term exclusions has fallen year-on-year. However, you are aiming for exclusions to reduce further.
"You are confident the introduction of the new subjects will help to engage some of the pupils whose behaviour is most challenging. Older pupils recognise the improvements to standards of behaviour over time.
"Pupils feel safe at school and know where to get help if needed.”
The inspection team also highlighted developments in the support of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Mr Duncan stated: “You’ve made several changes to how pupils with SEND are supported in school. Two special educational needs coordinators work closely with the autism spectrum provision leader.
"They’re knowledgeable about the needs of individual pupils who require additional support."
However the report identified the need for “strategies supporting the needs of pupils with SEND to be deployed by all teachers” and to ensure that “assessment procedures allow teachers to check precisely what pupils know and can remember from the taught curriculum in all subjects”.
As the school continues to work towards a good judgement, other areas identified for improvement include attendance and the “commitment” of some students to learning.
The report has been welcomed by headteacher Neal Holder who feels it reflects the progress made over a “difficult 18 months”.
He said: “From my point of view I’m happy with the report which was generally positive and reflects what we’ve done over a challenging period, particularly with the pandemic.
“The report has picked up on the progress we have made in terms of attendance and behaviour and Ofsted also praised us for our remote provision during lockdown.
"I’m pleased with the parental survey in which parents said we provide safe provision for their children and have high expectations. We know the areas identified in the report which we have to work on and we are already doing so.”
Mr Holder is confident the school will soon be categorised as good.
He added: “We will be due another full inspection in the next 12 months and I’m very hopeful this will confirm us as a good school. I’ve no doubt we are in the right place to get good.”
While the report was published this month (October) the inspection took place at the end of the summer term when the ongoing impact of the pandemic meant the majority of children were still being taught remotely.