Middleton academy worsens as quality of teaching hinders students, says Ofsted report

A Middleton academy has worsened from ‘good’ to ‘requiring improvement’ because of the quality of teaching, according to an Ofsted report.

Inspectors found that St Anne’s Academy requires improvement in three areas: quality of teaching, learning and assessment; outcomes for pupils, and 16 to 19 study programmes.

Academy status has been credited with driving up academic standards, particularly by David Cameron as of late, who announced plans to convert as many schools to academies as possible by 2020.

St Anne’s, which is a voluntary controlled secondary school, was rated ‘good’ across the board when it was inspected in 2013.

In November 2015, however, inspectors found that pupils do not achieve consistently well across the school, with below-average progress in English, mathematics and humanities subjects.

The proportion of pupils at St Anne’s Academy who are known to be eligible for free school meals is over twice the national average.

Inspectors found there is a lack of consistency in teaching, with pupils not receiving work at a difficulty level commensurate with their abilities.

This leaves some of the most able pupils ‘marking time’ rather than being given more challenging work to do, while youngsters are sometimes held back by low teacher expectations.

“As a result of the variable quality of teaching, pupils’ progress is not consistently good across the academy, including in the sixth form,” the report states.

In English and maths, fewer pupils make or exceed the expected progress than is the case nationally, and this is a particular problem for the most able youngsters.

Disadvantaged pupils do not reach the same level of achievement as their peers, and in 2014 their results were approximately a grade below other pupils in both English and maths.

“When compared with non-disadvantaged pupils nationally, the gap was a grade and a half in English and two grades in mathematics,” the inspectors wrote.

Pupils’ progress on academic courses at A and AS level is below average, with too few current learners in year 12 on track to reach their targets.

Inspectors did identify a number of positives, however, including good achievement in science, art and vocational subjects.

Relationships between pupils and staff are strong, which contributes to ‘the sense of harmony around the academy and the pupils’ acceptance of different backgrounds and views’.

The school did not respond to an invitation to comment on the report.

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