Pupils’ education ‘requires improvement’ at Lincoln secondary school

The headteacher and chair of governors of a North Hykeham secondary school have vowed to continue addressing the issues that are “not yet good” after an Ofsted report rated it as ‘requires improvement’.

NK Academy on Moor Lane in North Hykeham, which has around 780 pupils, had been rated as good in a full inspection in 2015. A few weeks before Jo Tunnicliffe was appointed as the new headteacher in September 2018, a short inspection was carried out by Ofsted after which some priorities for improvement were identified, but the rating was kept as good.

However, after an inspection on March 15 and 16 this year the school was told it requires improvement in the areas of ‘quality of education’ and ‘behavior and attitudes’. However, it scored good in ‘personal development’, ‘leadership and management’, and ‘sixth-form provision’.

North Kesteven Academy. | Photo: Google Street View

Ofsted published the findings in a report, which was published on May 12 – read the full report here.

Headteacher Mrs Tunnicliffe and chair of governors Mr Sloan recently sent a letter to parents saying: “There are 60 sub criteria used by Ofsted to judge schools, across five different categories. In our recent inspection, 55 of these were considered to fulfill the criteria for good.

“In five sub criteria, we were assessed as requiring improvement, and therefore, disappointingly, the overall rating given to the academy this time was that we require improvement.

“The leadership team had already identified that improvements needed to be made in these areas and work was, and will continue to be, ongoing to address these issues that are not yet good. The key areas which require improvement have been highlighted by inspectors in the attached report.

“There were many aspects of the academy that were seen as strengths by the Ofsted team, and we must celebrate this as evidence that the changes made so far are working. We have come a long way in less than four years, whilst managing a pandemic situation very well. “

The letter added the school will be refining its action plans “on the aspects identified within our staff” and an open parents’ meeting was held for people to ask questions.

The report states the leaders have “high expectations for pupils’ behavior” but that “this is not managed consistently across the school”.

Although leaders and governors are “ambitious for pupils to succeed” the report says the “quality of education is inconsistent”.

Ofsted said: “Subjects are planned well. However, the teaching of the curriculum does not help pupils to know and remember more in all subjects.

“Pupils with special educational needs and / or disabilities (SEND) are not supported as effectively as they could be.”

Leaders have ensured systems are in place to help teachers to manage behavior. However, the report says that some staff do not apply these systems consistently, which means there are times when pupils’ learning is disrupted by the behavior of others.

In terms of pupils with SEND, the report states leaders have ensured the systems to identify the needs of those students are effective. However, they are not always supported well enough in class and teachers do not always use guidance on how to adapt the curriculum for them effectively.

The report did also praise the school though saying “teachers work hard to promote an inclusive culture” and “work in promoting pupils’ personal development is a strength.”

Ofsted said the school does need to do better in some areas, including teachers “not using the assessment information consistently well to inform their teaching”.

What does the school need to do to improve?

Ofsted said leaders should ensure teachers know how best to use assessment strategies to check pupils know and remember more over time.

It was also noted in the report leaders and governors should ensure support for pupils with SEND is strengthened across the curriculum.

Ofsted said leaders should ensure staff understand how and why to apply the school’s behavior policy consistently, both in lessons and around the school.

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