Ofsted recognises impressive progress at Fulwood

Staff and students at Fulwood Academy can prepare for an exciting new year - after being praised by Ofsted for the progress they have made during a recent inspection.

This included particular recognition for the academy’s personal development provision, which was rated “good” by the education watchdog.

During their visit, inspectors noted that “pupils are happy at Fulwood Academy. They value the support that they get from staff. The pupils that inspectors spoke with were unanimous in the view that staff care about their well-being.”

The report continued “pupils said that their teachers want them to achieve well…The personal development curriculum is raising pupils’ aspirations. For example, pupils said that their teachers help them to make links between the subjects that they are studying and possible future careers.”

Leaders were also praised for taking: “appropriate action to increase the breadth and ambition of the curriculum for all pupils,” with the report stating that: “across key stage 3, pupils study a broad range of subjects in line with the national curriculum. More pupils at key stage 4 are choosing subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate. This is because leaders and teachers are raising their expectations of what pupils can and should achieve.”

In addition, as part of their evaluations inspectors found that: “pupils across the school, including those who are disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are making better progress through the curriculum than in the past.” 

Other highlights include:

  • [Pupils] are enthusiastic about the vast array of opportunities available to them through the personal development curriculum. For example, pupils said that they learn how to respect others’ cultures and beliefs.
  • Leaders have ensured that the content of subject curriculums are increasingly demanding.
  • Staff know pupils and their families well…Pupils appreciate how visible and how approachable teachers are during social times. Pupils feel safe at school. They socialise well with their peers.
  • Pupils learn how to stay safe online and in the community through the personal development curriculum. For example, they have recently been learning about self-image. Pupils know that if they have concerns, any member of staff will be willing and able to support them.
  • Trustees’ commitment to supporting leaders is palpable. Parents and carers appreciate leaders’ efforts to improve the culture of the school, including the quality of education.

Taking all of the evidence into account, improvements were recognised across every inspection category. The personal development provision was given a “good” rating by the inspectors, however, due to the historical legacies of the “inadequate” judgement given in 2019, the academy was graded as “requires improvement” overall.

Lee McLinden, who leads the school, said: “This Ofsted is testament to the amazing efforts that our staff and students have gone to over the last few years.

“Despite the pandemic, we have not stood still and have made huge efforts to ensure our students thrive academically and pastorally. It is clear to see that this is a school that is on a positive trajectory. While we know there is still more to do, we now have the foundations in place for a bright future for Fulwood.”

Joan Dean, Chair of Trustees, said: “We are particularly pleased with the many positive comments we received from Ofsted for our personal development provision as well as the broadening of the ‘breadth and ambition’ of our curriculum.

“The judgement mirrors the very positive comments we have had from our community, as now nearly double the amount of our parents say that their child is happy and feels safe at our school.

“These areas of focus have been such an important part of our approach to supporting our students and their families throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on looking after the well-being of each young person while encouraging them to always give their personal best, to believe in themselves and to have the highest aspirations.

“My thanks go to all of the students, parents, staff, trustees and the wider community for their ongoing support.”