Failing Sunderland academy is turning a corner, say inspectors

Redby Primary Academy, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.
Redby Primary Academy, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.
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A FAILING Wearside academy is finally turning a corner say Ofsted inspectors.

Formerly a good school with outstanding features, Redby Academy was plunged into special measures in November 2013, when inspectors deemed it inadequate.

The inspectors demanded urgent action be taken to improve the primary school, including better leadership, progress of children and quality of teaching.

In May 2014, when inspectors carried out a monitoring visit at the school, in Fulwell Road, they found it to be still struggling and the action plan was still not fit for purpose.

However, following the most recent visit in December, inspectors say the school is now on the road to having the special measures removed.

In a letter after the visit, inspectors said: “The work of the recently-appointed leader of the Early Years Foundation Stage is beginning to bear fruit.

“Information about the children’s current attainment is now accurate and the children’s learning journals (and in the reception class workbooks) show accelerated progress.”

They said progress in Key Stage 1 is improving and there is a growing understanding of the standards the pupils are capable of achieving, and the progress they are making is being more accurately assessed.

They went on to say that pupils with special educational needs are making better progress, because they are receiving support that focuses carefully on their needs.

Also, disadvantaged pupils are making progress similar to that of their peers, but more still needs to be done to ensure that the gap closes more quickly.

However, the inspectors said although there have been improvements in the quality of teaching at the academy since the last inspection, it is still too variable. They said: “The quality of the marking of pupils’ work is still not providing all pupils with the information they need to improve.

“A consistent approach to the marking of spelling is urgently needed. Leaders need to show greater urgency in tackling the academy’s weaknesses.”

Attendance, including that of disadvantaged pupils, continues to improve and is now above national average.