Wisbech academy plan ‘will work’
A Wisbech school has vowed to help poorer students perform better – having successfully tackled behaviour and attendance issues.
The Thomas Clarkson Academy said it has turned its focus to raising the attainment levels of disadvantaged students in order to bridge the achievement gap between them and other pupil groups.
The pledge comes after Ofsted praised the academy’s crackdown on poor behaviour and attendance of disadvantaged students, but found more work was needed to improve attainment.
In a report published last month, following an inspection of the academy in November, the education watchdog said: “Difficulties in recruitment have limited the capacity of senior leaders to make rapid improvements in provision and outcomes.”
Inspector Jason Howard said teaching was not effective enough to ensure good progress in Key Stage 4, and too few pupils are able to benefit from additional one-to-one and small group tuition.
He said feedback does not help students to understand where they need to improve and leaders and governors have limited information about the progress of disadvantaged pupils.
Priorities for improvement include raising the quality of teaching and expanding the number of additional support sessions.
Academy principal Clare Claxton said the academy’s senior leadership team was already putting measures in place to make the necessary improvements.
She said: “We have always recognised that for attainment levels of disadvantaged students to rise, we have to first improve attendance and behaviour.
“Due to the extremely hard work of staff, students, their parents and guardians this has been achieved. The zero tolerance approach to poor behaviour that we introduced 18 months ago has been a huge success and a calm atmosphere now exists which has led to an improved learning environment.
“Our focus now is on improving attainment levels for our disadvantaged students, who nationally do worse than other students.
“We are paying great attention to the inspector’s priorities for improvement and we are confident the measures we are putting in place will have a positive impact on attainment.”