Outwood Academy Newbold in Chesterfield has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Outwood Academy Newbold is a smaller than average secondary Academy with1076 students on its roll including 180 students accessing Post 16 provision and a 16-place Enhanced Resource Provision for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other complex needs. The Academy is situated in an old coal mining area and its community is predominantly white British, with 30.8% meeting the criteria for Pupil Premium whilst 3.35% of students use English as an Additional Language (EAL). The Academy currently has 19.4% of students on the SEND register and 4.1% has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Being the Best They Can Be
‘Students first: raising standards and transforming lives’ is at the heart of Outwood Academy Newbold. All staff are committed to ensuring that the Academy supports achievement and aspiration, regardless of need, within an ethos of high expectations and nurture. From the initial welcome by senior leaders each morning to the high levels of engagement with enrichment activities after the school day ends, all students are supported to be the best they can be.
Behaviour and Standards Have Been Transformed
The previous school converted to Outwood Grange Academy Trust (OGAT) in January 2015. The introduction of clear expectations and supportive structures has transformed both behaviour and standards, as confirmed by staff, governors and parents. Described as “unrecognisable” by the Chair of Governors, staff agree that everything that has been introduced has made the Academy better. This was reinforced by Ofsted in November 2017, when the Academy was rated ‘Good with Outstanding leadership’. The Academy is building a new reputation within the community and is proud of the increased numbers of parents applying for year 7 places in addition to the rising numbers of students who choose to continue in the Post 16 provision.
Improvements in Student Achievement
Levels of student achievement continues to improve. Ofsted noted the significant increase in year 11 students achieving 4 or more GCSE passes at Grade 4 or higher in 2017. The Head of School is looking forward to student passes at GCSE to be well above the national average by July 2022. It is clear that each student, however, is valued for their achievements and progress beyond academic scores. As the Head of School emphasised, “We are not data-driven. It’s about the children. The Academy is always open to educating everyone and children with EHCPs are encouraged to benefit from our excellent provision”. This is clearly in evidence as soon as you step into the Academy and experience the inclusive ethos and provision on offer.
Supporting During the Pandemic
Determined to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, senior leaders continued to focus on raising standards, ensuring that all students had access to IT resources or were supplied with paper copies if unable to cope with technology due to their specific needs. During the lockdown students were regularly contacted by phone whilst staff were proactive about having students back in the Academy if they were struggling. The continued use of Google Classroom now ensures lessons are available online when students are at home or accessing different areas in the Academy, for example, the Personal Learning Centre and the Bridge.
Excellent Enrichment Opportunities
To enable students to raise their aspirations whilst developing a wide range of skills and knowledge, the Academy offers an excellent programme of enrichment opportunities after the school day. The high level of engagement with clubs including chess, art, photography and the recent LGBTQ+ club, demonstrates the lengths to which staff are prepared to go to support the students, equalled by the enthusiastic response of the students themselves. Governors unanimously praised the commitment of staff in providing “A safe environment where young people thrive at their own level. We don’t put the grades before the person.”
No One is Left Behind
The aim of the Academy is to ensure that no one gets left behind and has the opportunity to succeed academically and according to personal strengths. Teachers are supported to learn from each other in finding the most effective strategies to deliver the highest quality of education. A parent declared the Academy as “brilliant” for both the academic support and the levels of nurture.
A Warm and Cheerful Atmosphere
The warm and cheerful atmosphere around the Academy shows how staff really care about their school. The Head of School acknowledged that “if the staff are happy, it projects onto the children”. Impressive artwork is displayed centrally and also around the art department. A wide range of work from all curriculum areas is proudly displayed along corridors, demonstrating the high standards achieved. Large screens display the achievements of past and present students for everyone to see as they move around the building.
Pride and Enthusiasm
Senior leaders and all the staff I met during the visit displayed both pride and enthusiasm for the students and each other. Following initial misgivings when joining Outwood Grange Academy Trust, staff spoke of their appreciation of the benefits, ranging from improved behaviour and progress of students to opportunities to engage in high quality professional development and receive advice and support from extended teams across the Trust.
Best Chances for Most Vulnerable
Working towards the IQM Inclusive School Award has enabled senior leaders to fully recognise the extent of its inclusive practice. According to the IQM Lead, the award demonstrates the “commitment to providing the best educational and lifestyle chances for the most vulnerable in society”. It will also support the Academy’s further development by encouraging external assessment and the opportunity to improve practice.
Inclusive Values and Practice
The values and practice of Outwood Academy Newbold are centred around inclusion and meet all the standards required by the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award. Students are known as individuals; staff support each other and the whole Academy community recognises the care and support which is part of everyday practice.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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