The new year brought our first inspection of 2018, at Caister Academy, deemed by Ofsted to have ‘serious weaknesses’ before it joined Creative Education Trust. The new report glows with praise across all four categories: leadership, teaching and learning, student welfare and outcomes. “Leaders and governors have driven sustained and effective improvements, and changed the culture of the school.” The care and progress of disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils, the transferability of all students’ skills across subjects, and their careful preparation for the next stage of education, with “very effective guidance on future careers”, all receive specific commendation, as do the school leaders and executive colleagues whose “effective support and training” have been “critical to the journey of improvement”.
After Abbeyfield’s success in 2016, Creative Education Trust have seen four Ofsted upgrades, as Thistley Hough, Ash Green, Lynn Grove, Weavers and Woodlands were successively rated as ‘good’. At the close of 2017, Three Peaks had had a full section 5 inspection. It joined the Trust in December 2014 as an inadequate’ grade 4 school and is now firmly grade 2; ‘good’ in all categories, with its head, Richard Penn-Bourton, commended as “unrelenting in is quest to ensure that the school offers pupils experiences that enable them to develop enjoyment in learning”. The long overdue section 5 visit to Queen Eleanor took place in December, with another outcome of grade 2; ‘good’ in all categories. It too has made the journey from ‘inadequate’ over the last four years, with inspectors noting the impact of the “shared vision and high expectations” that Daniel Smith has created.
That the most recent school to join the Trust (Wroughton) is also improving dramatically demonstrates not only the transformative power of talented individuals at all levels, but of knowledge sharing, collaboration and a vision shared across the group. As Chief Executive Marc Jordan commented on Caister’s success: “It is unusual for a report to contain such explicitly favourable wording about senior leaders, governors and trust in its first few paragraphs. I think you can see the level of impact that’s happening.”