Northampton International Academy rated as 'inadequate' in damning Ofsted report

The school has accepted the issues raised in the report and said an 'improvement plan' is already underway

By Logan MacLeod
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 4:59 pm

Northampton International Academy (NIA) has been criticised as 'inadequate' by education watchdog Ofsted in its latest report.

Ofsted published its report of the Barrack Road school on Tuesday (March 22) following its inspection on January 31.

'Inadequate' is the lowest possible result a school can receive. NIA's previous rating, which was issued back in 2019, was 'good'.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Northampton International Academy has been rated 'inadequate' by education watchdog Ofsted in its latest report

In its report, Ofsted said the quality of education 'requires improvement', behaviour and attitudes are 'inadequate', personal development 'requires improvement', leadership and management is 'inadequate', early years provision 'requires improvement', and sixth-form provision 'requires improvement'.

Ofsted inspectors said in the report: "There are some substantial concerns about this school. Many parents and carers, pupils and staff who expressed a view are worried about safety at the school. Many of these pupils say that they are unhappy here.

"Some staff say that they feel overwhelmed by the poor behaviour of the pupils in the secondary phase. They feel that they do not get the help they need from leaders to do their jobs well.

"Many pupils do not feel that school leaders deal with bullying effectively. They say that they report bullying but nothing changes. Some parents are frustrated because they feel that leaders do not listen to their concerns about bullying.

"Leaders, including those from the trust, and governors have failed to act swiftly enough to address poor behaviour. They have not supported staff adequately to help them manage pupils’ behaviour effectively.

"Too many pupils in the secondary phase are late to lessons, behave poorly in lessons or remain in the corridors when they should be in classrooms learning. They disrupt others’ learning. Too many show a lack of respect to staff and to other pupils. Too often, pupils’ behaviour, particularly outside of lessons, makes other pupils feel unsafe.

"Some pupils in the secondary phase are concerned about the lack of equality and the presence of harassment from other pupils. They say that the regular racist and homophobic remarks of some pupils make it hard to be different in the school."

Ofsted presented NIA a list of things it needs to do to improve.

The report reads: "Leaders need to ensure that their actions, systems and procedures work effectively to make sure that staff and pupils are safe and feel safe.

"Leaders should ensure that the necessary change is brought about to the school’s culture, including through engaging with all stakeholders, so that all pupils may be able to engage with learning and be successful.

"Leaders need to ensure that all aspects of the curriculum are coherently planned and sequenced so that pupils can build up their knowledge over time.

"Leaders need to ensure that all pupils benefit from a high-quality and engaging personal development programme, taught by staff who have the necessary knowledge of the topics they deliver.

"Leaders should ensure that all staff have the subject knowledge they need so that there is a consistent approach to the teaching of phonics..

"Leaders must ensure that there is an effective programme of careers advice and guidance in place so that students get the expert support they need."

NIA has responded saying it 'fully accepts' the report and 'work is already underway to turn things around'.

NIA's headteacher Dr Jo Trevenna said they fully accept the report and an 'improvement plan' is already underway.

The headteacher said: “While we are obviously disappointed to receive an inadequate rating, and to receive Ofsted’s feedback about their findings on the day, we fully accept the report and work is already underway to turn things around.

“Many of the comments from Ofsted are in line with our own understanding about what needs to change. In particular it was very useful to hear the feedback Ofsted received from staff and pupils, and we will continue to build on this and listen to the wider school community to ensure that we are moving in the right direction.

“There were some positives identified within the inspection including the work that has started around the curriculum and while this feedback was welcome, it’s clear there is much more to do.

“The past two years have been unprecedented and a hugely challenging time for the school but we want to reassure everyone, including our pupils and their families, that we are not making excuses.

"Instead we acknowledge that significant change needs to be made and our efforts need to continue so that this school can become what it has the potential to be and where our pupils can thrive.”

Joshua Coleman, CEO for the East Midlands Academy Trust, which runs NIA, said the issues raised by Ofsted are 'significant' and 'need to be addressed quickly and effectively'.

Mr Coleman said: “Although we expected this to be a challenging inspection, the issues raised by Ofsted are significant and need to be addressed quickly and effectively.

“That's why the improvement plan is already underway plus we’ve strengthened the school’s leadership team by adding extra capacity and experience. We also invited the Department of Education’s lead behaviour advisor Tom Bennett to come in and spend time at the school and support this improvement journey.

“We would like to see Ofsted return to the school in the next month to be able to see the impact of the changes being made, and look at scheduling another inspection to move the school out of the inadequate rating quickly so we can focus on educating our pupils.

"We are absolutely determined to do everything we can to support the school to make the changes and improvements needed to return to its previous 'good' rating.”

The school's improvement plan is as follows:

• Improve pupils’ behaviour, conduct and attitudes so that all pupils are ready to learn, behave safely and show respect for all.

• Ensure that for all subjects and in all year groups there is a well-planned and sequenced curriculum that is taught consistently well and enables all pupils to achieve well.

• Ensure that reading is taught consistently well so that pupils gain the reading and comprehension skills they need and develop a love of reading.

• Improve the school culture by ensuring all staff effectively promote pupils’ personal development to increase aspiration and pupils understand how to keep safe and the importance of respecting others.

• Ensure systems for recording, communicating and improving attendance are fully effective and help keep pupils safe.

• To further develop the effectiveness of leaders at all levels, including governors, in enabling effective and sustained improvement.

Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “Recognising there’s a problem is the first step to a solution and I’m satisfied the trust has acted promptly, even before the Ofsted findings, to establish an action plan to put this right.

“Their initial plan aligns with the Ofsted recommendations and I have confidence the school and trust leadership are on the way creating the safe and nurturing environment young people in Northampton need and deserve. We have offered our support to help the trust overcome any issues as quickly as possible.”