Ofsted: how the Trust performs

The schools within Ventrus are fully committed to inclusion. The schools have a rich heritage of supporting children moving from other schools with challenging behaviour and special educational needs. The demography of our schools varies as do the communities we serve.

Quotes from Ofsted

South Brent – May 2017

  • The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. You and other senior leaders, including school governors and executive leaders of the multi-academy trust, have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school.
  • You and the executive headteacher have worked effectively to establish a united and skilled middle leadership team. Your continuing ability to bring further improvement is clearly evident in the increasingly rapid progress made by most pupils, with a range of needs and starting points, across the school.

Orchard Vale – March 2017

  • Governors are also very well informed about the school and can talk knowledgeably about the way they exercise their role of strategic oversight. They, too, are playing an important role in the school’s continuous push for improvement. They are well supported by the multi-academy trust, Ventrus (formerly the Primary Academies Trust). The executive headteacher, the chief executive officer and other officers of the trust provide important support in, for example, teacher development and training. Middle leaders spoke appreciatively of the way the trust, in partnership with the school, was helping them to develop their teaching practice and leadership abilities.
  • As a consequence of this highly effective leadership at all levels, the school has addressed the areas for improvement from the previous inspection with great success. Teaching now provides a consistently high level of challenge to pupils across the school, from Reception to Year 6. In addition, the early years foundation stage has improved rapidly.

Sidbury – February 2017

  • The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. Your school is a happy place where pupils chatter down ‘the slope’ and across the playground in high spirits, smiling and excited about the day ahead. Parents, staff and pupils used the words, ‘caring’ and ‘partnership’ to describe the sense of togetherness evident at Sidbury. Everyone reported that pupils work and play together well in a supportive environment. The school is highly regarded and popular within the local community, as reflected by the high number of applications for school places and increasing number of pupils on roll.
  • Changes to leadership and governance have undoubtedly left your school in a much stronger position than in 2012. Your middle leaders play an increasingly influential and important part in securing school improvement. Weak performance has been robustly tackled. Governors are deeply involved in monitoring the school’s performance and continually challenge you for further improvements. You and your team are moving forward confidently in pursuit of consistency in the quality of teaching and pupils’ outcomes. You are drawing well on the wide variety of support networks and training available from the Ventrus Multi-Academy Trust. Research is used to hone and refine teaching well so that the unique needs of each cohort can be fully met. All those spoken to during the inspection understand the collective goals you are striving to achieve and the part they play in that process.

Bickleigh – September 2016

  • All levels of school leadership, including governance, have been strengthened through partnership with leaders across the multi-academy trust.
  • Parents are extremely positive about the school and fully support the head of school’s drive to ensure that standards continue to rise.
  • Strong leadership and good teaching in early years ensure that all children make good progress whatever their starting points.

Hemyock – June 2016

  • The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. You, staff and governors work closely together to create a vibrant school community. All leaders make a strong contribution to checking and evaluating the work of the school. During our visits to classrooms together, senior leaders were quick to identify strong examples of teaching and learning. Your precise approach to the placement of staff has helped those pupils whose progress had slowed to catch up.
  • Leaders and governors have used their checks on the school’s performance to identify and tackle areas of weakness. For example, they recognised that writing lagged behind other areas of learning in the early years foundation stage. In response, leaders have implemented a range of strategies to support pupils’ early writing skills. Close work with the pre-school, including training together, is helping staff to create the circumstances in which children are ready to write. As a result, pupils are showing greater pencil control and are increasingly keen to start writing. Decisions by the trust and governors to invest in the early years environment and to accompany this with staff training have also contributed to children’s higher achievement. Children develop in confidence and ability in this nurturing Reception class.
  • The school is very much at the heart of the local community. Parents’ comments typically identify the ‘great community’ and ’approachable staff’. Leaders and governors have tackled positively issues such as local residents’ concerns with parking. In doing so, strong partnerships have been built which are securing your long-term vision for the school’s building and grounds.

Wilcombe Primary – May 2016

  • “The head of school, with strong support from the executive headteacher and the Primary Academies Trust, is driving the continual improvement of the school. Areas for improvement in the previous inspection have been successfully tackled and previous strengths have developed further.”
  • “Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well. The school’s ‘golden values’ are understood by all. Pupils told the inspector ‘our values are like Jenga blocks, when we work together we can be strong and support each other’. Residential visits with pupils from other schools help pupils to appreciate the similarities and differences between themselves and others. Pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain.”
  • “The academy trust and the local board govern the school effectively. The local governing body is well supported by the systems and protocols of the trust board. This ensures that local governors are skilled in asking challenging questions of leaders to ensure that the school continues to improve.”

The Duchy School – May 2015

  •  “There is outstanding leadership and management. The head of school is supported very well by all staff, who are enthusiastic about driving the school forwards.”
  •  “Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding. They love the school and are excellent ambassadors for it in the wider community.”
  •  “The school, along with other member schools of the Primary Academies Trust, has a strong reputation for its work in supporting other schools on their own paths to improvement.”

Woodwater Academy – February 2015

  • “The Primary Academies Trust (the trust) structure provides an over-arching framework that is enabling rapid and sustained school improvement to the benefit of all pupils.”
  • “The rich network of focus groups across the trust allows staff to share and develop best practice regularly through the year. This, in turn, is supporting rapid improvements in achievement throughout the academy.”
  • “Governance operates at a strategic level across the academy trust and locally through the local governing body. Together, these two groups are highly effective in providing robust challenge and support to all aspects of the academy’s work.”

South Brent Primary School – May 2014

  • “As a result of the recent reorganisation of leadership at the school, and the appointment of a substantive head of school, standards are improving rapidly. Staff, governors and trust directors share a fierce ambition for continual improvement.”
  • “Teachers have placed a great emphasis on improving the standards in writing, which has resulted in improved progress being made across the school. The work that pupils have completed in their books demonstrates the good progress they are making.”
  • “The trust directors provide strong strategic challenge across the trust. Local governors are very supportive of the school and have a good understanding of its strengths and areas where it can improve within the context of the school and the community it serves.”

Wilcombe Primary School – May 2014

  • “The Chief Executive of the Primary Academies Trust provides strategic leadership for the school and has sought opportunities for the school to benefit from being part of the trust. This includes sharing best practice to improve the quality of teaching and sharing resources with other schools in the trust.”
  • “Leaders have improved teaching and pupils’ achievement in Years 5 and 6. Attendance is also improving.”
  • “The school provides good quality support and care for pupils. This leads to rapid development of their social skills and emotional maturity, particularly for young pupils.”
  • “The Directors of the Primary Academies Trust are determined and ambitious. They provide strong governance and additional expertise, and support leaders well.”

Sidbury C of E Primary School – July 2012

  • “The Executive Headteacher and leader of Teaching and Learning are providing the school with clear direction, and their good leadership and management are ensuring the school continues to improve. Leaders manage school performance well and have secured substantial and sustained improvements, especially in achievement.”
  • “Good” with “Outstanding” Behaviour for Learning.

Orchard Vale Community School – November 2011

  • “This is a good school. As a consequence of the strong leadership and management of the headteacher, significant improvements have been made since the last inspection leading to consistently high attainment and outstanding achievement for pupils at the end of Key Stage 2.”
  • “Good with 13 outstanding judgments”

Hemyock Primary – February 2011

  • “There are a number of ways in which the leadership and management of the school have proved outstanding. The headteacher and head of teaching and learning have evaluated the school accurately and have put into place actions that have helped to make rapid improvements.”
  • “Good with 5 outstanding judgments”