Blackpool academy improving but ‘still more to do’

Ofsted blast Academy
Ofsted blast Academy
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The leadership team at a Blackpool academy have pledged to do better after Ofsted inspectors ruled the school must improve.

Following a visit earlier this month, inspectors said Unity Academy must improve its leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils.

Leaders have not yet ensured that all pupils have sufficient support to help them stay safe online, as curriculum coverage is not yet sufficient to meet the needs of pupils who join during the school year

The Ofsted team also added there must be a consistent approach to developing pupils’ literacy skills, improving students’ knowledge of how to stay safe online and monitoring students’ behaviour outside the classroom

But inspectors did praise the academy’s early years provision, rating it as good, its work with disabled pupils, as well as praising the fast rate of improvement under principal Chris Lickiss.

Rebecca Lawton, lead inspector, said: “While leaders have demonstrated their ability to drive improvement, there is still more to do. Behaviour outside lessons, the quality of teaching and pupils’ achievement, mainly in Key Stage 3, still require further improvement.

“Leaders have not yet ensured that all pupils have sufficient support to help them stay safe online, as curriculum coverage is not yet sufficient to meet the needs of pupils who join during the school year.”

The school was originally an all-boys institution named Warbreck High School. In 2000 it became co-educational and was renamed Beacon Hill School.

Under the Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010 it was planned to merge with nearby Bispham High School, but this was cancelled and in March 2010 the school was renamed Unity College, achieving academy status three years later.

Mr Lickiss said he was pleased the report recognised improvement, but pledged to continue to strengthen leadership.

He added: “We now have two years to move the school to at least good.

“Parents, pupils and staff recognise that a ‘fast pace of improvement has been established’ and this will enable us to drive standards further. The report states that ‘in classes, behaviour is good and low-level disruption is rare.’ We need to ensure we continue to develop young people’s behaviour outside of the classroom as well.”

Felicity Greeves, chief executive officer of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust said: “I firmly believe that Unity Academy will go from strength to strength under its current leadership”.