Following recent praise from Ofsted after both The Cooper School and Glory Farm Primary School received fantastic inspection reports, the Academy has been featured in recent press realeases. Please see the articles below or click here to view the Bicester Advertiser website!
An Academy Trust in Bicester is celebrating the outcome of recent Ofsted inspections. The Cooper School and Glory Farm Primary School are currently the two schools in The Bicester Learning Academy Trust that was formed in 2014. Both schools were inspected at the same time in early June by two different inspection teams. The final reports have just come out. The Cooper School retains its Ofsted ‘good’ grade that was achieved the last time the school was inspected in 2013. The most noteworthy news is that Glory Farm is also judged to be a ‘good’ school following its two day Section 5 Inspection, moving from the ‘Requiring Improvement’ judgement it was given in October 2013.
Ben Baxter, Executive Headteacher of the Trust said, ‘This is a significant event for our Bicester schools. It endorses the view that collaboration between primary and secondary schools benefits the pupils in both phases of education and that our Multi Academy Trust is significantly improving the educational outcomes of the young people of Bicester who attend our schools.’ This partnership features very clearly in both schools’ inspection reports with Inspectors agreeing that both schools have benefitted equally: ‘The partnership with Glory Farm Primary School, as part of the Bicester Learning Academy, is having a positive impact on pupils’ progress overall. Staff across the two schools often share their expertise and a member of The Cooper School regularly provides reading support to pupils at Glory Farm. These strategies are ensuring that pupils make the transfer from school to school with much greater confidence. In addition, teachers at The Cooper School are more aware of what pupils already know and can do when they arrive in Year 7. As a result, work is not repeated unnecessarily and pupils are making better progress over time.’
Ian Elkington, Headteacher of Glory Farm Primary school commented, “ We are absolutely delighted with this report. Inspectors have stated that Glory Farm is, ‘ambitious for pupils and staff and have a shared vision for the education (we) want to provide.’ We are particularly proud of the fact that we have been judged to be ‘relentless’ in our ‘efforts to keep improving outcomes for all groups of pupils’, with ‘pupils making good progress overall.’ Indeed, inspectors noted that the pupil’s progress has, ‘improved since the school joined the multi-academy trust.’”
Mr. Elkington added that that inspectors credited the good behaviour of pupils around the school, commenting on their positive attitudes to learning. “We are extremely proud of our children, staff and parents”, he said. “This has been a real team effort”.
In terms of The Cooper School, Lead Inspector Paula Sargent, highlighted that, ‘There is a caring, nurturing and inclusive ethos that permeates the school. Inspectors were impressed by the calm and purposeful attitude and the strong relationships between staff and pupils and among pupils themselves.’
The report also highlighted the very effective in-house professional development of staff that the school has prioritised in the last few years, noting that the school, ‘…have placed high importance on the development of staff and there is a rich and varied programme of professional training, which is helping teachers to improve their practice.’
During the one day visit on 6th June Inspectors visited some thirty lessons across a range of subjects and year groups to observe pupils’ learning as well as carrying out a scrutiny of the work in pupils’ books and looking at a range of school documentation. Inspectors’ reported that, ‘During our visits to lessons, we saw a wide variety of learning activities which were well planned by staff using their excellent subject knowledge. The climate for learning is very positive and the level of pupil engagement is high. Pupils are confident, articulate and collaborate well with their peers.’
Mr Baxter went on to say that, ‘School Improvement is at the heart of what it means to be a Multi Academy Trust. Our MAT is all about building and developing the systems and structures that enable leaders and teachers across schools to plan, collaborate and coach in order to improve the quality of the classroom experience for pupils. We have always made clear our desire to expand our MAT to include other Bicester schools. We have achieved so much already but recognise the need to grow and develop our MAT so that we can be sustainable moving forward. We are currently in discussions with other MATs and schools in both Buckingham and Aylesbury looking to merge into a single larger MAT in order to provide peer support for both primary and secondary schools in the local area, to enhance continuous learning opportunities for staff in all schools and to provide bespoke school improvement services for both primary and secondary phases. We would very much like, once again, to invite other schools in Bicester to join us in our vision for educational excellence in the town. This vision is to place school improvement and excellence at the heart of our Multi Academy Trust.’
Brian Brown, a Director of the Trust stated that: ‘These two Ofsted reports clearly show that the Directors of the Trust are passionate advocates of giving every child and young person the opportunity to make the best of their learning and lives. By joining the Trust members of other governing bodies would have the opportunity to become Directors, to fulfil the Trust’s role as “guardian angels”, protecting the interests of all pupils across this geographical area.’