Leadership – The Key to Success at WintonWinton Community Academy’s most recent visit from OFSTED has gone well, with positive comments on the leadership of the academy as well as good comments on the behaviour of students and the improving quality of teaching.

The OFSTED team visited in April and the report is due to be published to the OFSTED website this weekend. The report reinforced the Department for Education’s findings from their visit in March which observed that, the Principal, Nathan Thomas, is moving the academy forward rapidly with support from a strong leadership team. Challenges remain, but the academy is in a very different place to a year ago. The OFSTED report states, “The Principal has continued the drive for improvement with vigour. His very clear sense of direction and purpose has motivated the staff at all levels and he has given them a renewed sense of confidence. He continues to make his expectations very explicit and does not allow weak teaching to go unchallenged.”

The behaviour of students and the excellent pastoral systems remain a strength of Winton. “The ethos of the academy is very purposeful. There is a calm and orderly atmosphere. Relationships between staff and students are very cordial and mutual respect is apparent. The students show pride in the academy and those who have been there for some time articulate that there is a changed culture and that hard work is the expected norm.” In this visit and the previous visit in November, the OFSTED teams have commented positively on how safe the students feel and how well they behave in lessons and around the academy. Students feel safe at the academy and are confident that any issues will be dealt with quickly.

Nathan Thomas, Principal, stated, “I am delighted that the OFSTED team recognised the progress we have made since September. To hear an OFSTED inspector say that we have made immense progress in her verbal feedback was a fitting reward for the hard work my staff and I have put in to the academy over the past two terms.”

“We have fabulous students and staff at Winton and there is a very different feel around the academy; the quality of teaching in classrooms has improved and we know what we need to do to improve it further.”

Marcia Headon the lead inspector on the visit wrote in her report that, “Improving the quality of teaching has continued correctly to be a major focus for the academy. Since the last monitoring inspection, there has been an improvement in teaching. This is reflected in improved achievement. Lessons are now more interesting than before as there is a wider variety of activities being demanded of students. Teachers’ questioning skills have improved and the majority of teachers check for understanding and misconceptions before moving on to a new area of work. The quality of marking has improved. It is undertaken regularly and teachers are ensuring that students follow up on the comments.”

Mr Thomas said, “These are exciting times for Winton, the systems are now in place to ensure we can make sustainable improvements over the next few years to ensure all students receive excellent teaching in all classrooms. The passion and commitment of the staff at the academy has brought about significant changes for the students and Winton is making the rapid progress the community deserve. Over the summer term we will continue to focus on improving teaching so that there is consistency across the school, as well as planning for our new year seven’s arrival and the implementation of our plan for them all to start in September with a personal computing device”. The governing body who are also praised in the report commented “We commend the hard work put in by the whole staff team, driven forward by Senior Leaders, whilst understanding the challenges we still face, we are delighted with the progress the academy has made this year.”

For more information about Winton or next year’s Year 7s contact jlusk@wintoncommunityacademy.org. The full OFSTED report is available on the OFSTED website.

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