Sunderland academy told it must do better for most-able pupils

St Aidan's Catholic Academy.
St Aidan's Catholic Academy.
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A Wearside academy has missed the mark, say Ofsted chiefs.

After a recent inspection, the education watchdogs said St Aidan’s Catholic Academy requires improvement.

They said although personal development and behaviour is good, the school, in Willow Bank Road, needs to do better in all other areas.

The inspectors said: “Pupils do not make consistently good progress across all-year groups and subjects, particularly in science and humanities because the quality of teaching is variable.

“Too often teachers’ expectations of what pupils can and should do are too low and they set work which is not challenging enough. This is especially apparent for most-able pupils and those with special educational needs.”

The inspectors said teachers do not follow the academy’s marking policy properly, so pupils can be unclear of how they can improve.

In relation to St Aidan’s sixth form, the report also said teaching is not consistently good enough and leaders do not check teaching and progress enough.

Inspectors said not all subject leaders are confident or skilled enough to hold their teams to account and governors have not been rigorous enough.

They added: “The academy has not made effective use of pupil premium funding to improve the progress and attendance of disadvantaged pupils.”

However, Ofsted bosses acknowledged: “The newly-appointed acting headteacher has a clear and ambitious vision and is moving swiftly and methodically to get the academy back on track.”

Inspectors said pupils feel safe and are happy at the academy, are polite and sensitive to the needs of others and there is a wide range of after-school activities.

Kevin Shepherd, headteacher at St Aidan’s, said: “We are disappointed with the outcome, but are pleased that Ofsted recognised that we have already taken actions to address the issues.

“Ofsted reinforced the fact that student welfare is a high priority and all safeguarding procedures are robust and effective. The plans we have in place to improve our Ofsted judgement are thorough and were commended during the inspection.”