It's official - Ormiston Chadwick Academy are 'Outstanding!'

Students and staff at Ormiston Chadwick Academy are celebrating after undergoing a remarkable journey of school improvement that has seen it transformed to ‘Outstanding.’

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The academy opened in September 2014 as Ormiston Chadwick Academy, under the new sponsorship of Ormiston Academies Trust – the predecessor school was in special measures but today Ofsted gave the school the top rating. It is the first school in Halton to achieve this grading under the new inspection framework introduced in September.

Inspectors said in their report: The principal, executive principal, interim executive board and sponsor have created a culture of very high expectations among staff and pupils, which has led to rapid and sustained progress.

The Ofsted rating is matched by Ormiston Chadwick’s results. Last summer students achieved record GCSE results, with 69% achieving A*-C grades in English and maths, well above the national average, and a Progress 8 score of 0.61, which means students achieve more than half a grade than similar students nationally. The results made the academy top in Halton for progress and attainment, fifth in the North West region, and in the top 100 schools nationally for progress.

Teaching at the academy was also a subject of high praise, with the report saying: The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is outstanding. Teachers have very high expectations and deliver well-planned learning so that pupils are challenged and develop their skills rapidly. It added: All staff are totally committed to improving outcomes for young people.

This was a point echoed by former Ormiston Chadwick head girl Emily Brow, who said:

"The teachers at OCA exude confidence in their subjects, they are great role models and really tailor the lessons to our individual strengths. But more importantly, every single one of my teachers last year would go out of their way to help me...before school, lunchtimes, after school, Saturday's...nothing was too much trouble. They just really believed in us and wanted us to do well. I think it was just natural that we stepped up to their expectations - we didn't want to let them down."

Inspectors also acknowledged that pupils’ personal development and welfare are outstanding, praising the careers guidance and support on offer to pupils as well as the wide range of extra-curricular activities available which enable the development of pupils as individuals.

Kieran Ray, a current Year 10 student, said:

"I think that does make us quite special. There is something to do every night, whether you're sporty, arty or just want to do your homework in peace. “The school are really keen that we get this wide range of experiences whilst we are at OCA, like watching live professional sport. I think that's a great idea and loved going to Wimbledon with the school. Last year I even got to work with a PHD tutor from Cambridge. I know these opportunities are special. We never had them before."

The number of students at Year 11 going into Sixth Form College or employment is higher than national averages, with inspectors saying, school leaders go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure that all pupils have access to impartial careers advice.

Ormiston Chadwick’s in-house careers guidance officer, Jayne Hayes, said:

"They don't go off our radar when they leave in July. We do ring arounds twice a year, pay home visits where necessary...for all our past students. If they have dropped out, we help put them back on their feet and back to college, an apprenticeship or work. It can be hard for some students to make that next step, we understand that...and once an OCA student, always one. We will always look out for them."

Ormiston Chadwick Principal Tuesday Humby said:

"I think the Class of 2015 and 2016 should be fully recognised in this success, they were behind me every step of the way. The students didn't resist change, in fact they spurred us on to move faster, to aim even higher. The mutual respect between the staff and students is a key feature to our success here. “The students know full well our staff go above and beyond to help them - we are always looking for what more we can do and this means we really are improving life chances - that's not empty rhetoric. It's a deeply rewarding place to work.

"I'd also like to thank the loyal parents who have been so supportive. I have stood up three times now at Open Evenings and asked parents to put their trust in OCA. I made them some pretty big promises about we would deliver. For those parents who did take a chance on us in those early years when we had no track record of results or an Ofsted judgement - well I hope they are feeling pretty chuffed right now about the choice they made. Their faith in us made all the difference."

Toby Salt, CEO of Ormiston Academies Trust, said:

"I am delighted that Ofsted have recognised the fantastic progress and inspiring achievements at Ormiston Chadwick Academy. "Since joining Ormiston Academies Trust, Ormiston Chadwick Academy has gone from strength to strength, securing excellent outcomes and providing quality provision. This report highlights the work that the Principal, staff, students and families have put in to build an academy the community can be proud of."

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

"Under our reforms there are 1.8 million more children being taught in schools that are rated good or outstanding since 2010. "This achievement by Ormiston Chadwick Academy is a great example of how hard-working teachers, students, and excellent school leaders – backed by a supportive academy trust – can instigate prompt and sustained improvement. I would like to congratulate all those from Ormiston Academies Trust involved in this success."