Students, staff, parents and governors at Alec Hunter Academy are celebrating after a recent Ofsted inspection gave the school an overall grading of ‘good’. Having researched Ofsted reports from previous inspections as far back as records permit, leaders at the school believe that this is the first time that the school has ever achieved this judgment. Teachers and support staff are justifiably delighted to have made history with this unprecedented success.
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The inspection team, which visited in July just one week before the end of term, adjudged the school to be ‘good’ in the areas of Leadership & Management, Teaching, Learning & Assessment, and Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare, whilst the report states that further improvement is needed in Outcomes for Pupils. The summary of key findings begins by asserting that “School leaders have established a culture where expectations of pupils and teachers are high and improvement is rapid”, and goes on to say that “There are strong relationships between pupils and with adults in the school”. The areas for improvement include accelerating progress made by pupils in key stage 3 and raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
Headteacher Trevor Lawn shared the good news with staff, students and parents this week and said that the response was a mixture of relief and jubilation. He added:
“This outcome is just reward for the hard work we have invested over many years to improve the school. We have faced many challenges since being judged inadequate in 2012, although we did not agree with this grading at the time, and it is extremely pleasing that the rapid progress we have made has now been recognised officially. I should like to thank all the members of our community who kept faith with us throughout this period, many of whom shared their children’s positive experiences with the inspection team. I feel privileged to lead such a wonderful school, with dedicated, caring staff and students who demonstrate fervent pride in being members of Alec Hunter, and we now look forward to building on this success to take the school further forward.”
Mr Lawn also paid tribute to former Headteacher, Andrew Hutchinson, who had provided the initial impetus to turn the school’s fortunes around and who remained an inspiration for many colleagues, as well as to the Saffron Academy Trust, which has sponsored the school since 2013. He said “We have received excellent support from our partner school, Saffron Walden County High, and our productive relationship with them has contributed significantly to the raising of standards at Alec Hunter. I am confident that this outcome will only serve to strengthen the bonds between our schools, for the benefit of all our young people.”