Portslade school gains ground but still requires improvement, says Ofsted

Posted On 05 Dec 2014 at 12:51 pm

The Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA) has made progress since its last inspection by Ofsted but still requires improvement, inspectors said.

PACA was deemed to have good leadership and management and the behaviour and safety of pupils was also good.

But the quality of teaching, achievement of pupils and sixth form provision were all graded as areas where the school requires improvement.

Zenna Atkins

Zenna Atkins

The school’s chair of governors Zenna Atkins welcomed the report which was published today (Friday 5 December).

She said: “The report reflects the continued improvements at the school since we became an academy, which have also resulted in the significant rise in our GCSE results.

“However, we need to improve the consistency of our teaching and marking and the way in which we use data to track and monitor the progress of all groups of students in the school.”

“We have clear action plans to tackle the improvements identified in the Ofsted report and continue to embed the good work already under way.

“The report acknowledges that, in some cases, it was simply too early for inspectors to be able to report consistent outcomes from the changes we have made so far.

“We recognise the need to demonstrate more to move our overall grading from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ and then to reach the outstanding grade that we are all determined to achieve.”

Ofsted said: “This is a school that requires improvement. It is not good because

  • The quality of teaching is inconsistent in the academy. This is impacting on the standards in mathematics, history, music, media studies and photography, as expectations are not high enough.
  • Marking is not good enough and does not help students to improve their work.
  • Not all groups of students, such as the disadvantaged and the most able, make enough progress.
  • Progress in mathematics is not good enough
  • The data that the academy uses to monitor the progress of all groups of students is not presented sharply enough. It does not help teachers to plan effectively nor does it show how all students are progressing from their starting points.
  • The sixth form has not provided adequate guidance to students when making their subject choices. This has led to poor standards in academic subjects and students not completing their courses.

“The school has the following strengths

  • The students are keen to learn and want to do their best at all times.
  • The governing body and the academy sponsors are providing effective leadership. Their guidance has supported the rigorous planning and monitoring needed to make the necessary improvements.
  • Standards have improved for students in Years 7 to 10 and Year 12.
  • Attainment and progress in English is good and in line with the national average.
  • The behaviour of all students is good. They are polite and respectful of each other, staff and visitors. They understand the importance of keeping themselves and each other safe and practise this at all times.

“In the past two years, the majority of students have not stayed on into Year 13 and have not completed their study programmes.

“This has impacted adversely on the number of students who are not in education, employment and training.

“The students who study in the sports academies make good progress and stay on to complete their programmes and are well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment.”

The report noted the absence of head James Fox who is currently under investigation and praised changes brought in since he was appointed. It praised the leadership of the executive director Peter Marchant who is in charge during Mr Fox’s absence.

The report also praised the governors and the Aldridge Foundation which runs the school. The foundation is a charity set up by former pupil Sir Rod Aldridge who went on to become a successful businessman.

The foundation also runs the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) in Falmer.

To read the report about PACA, click here.


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