February 17, 2020
News, events and information from The Northern Education Trust
Northern Education Trust Kirk Balk Academy was visited by Ofsted earlier this term, so that the academy could be inspected.
Principal Dean Buckley would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support with the process, particularly those who responded to the online questionnaires and the numerous parents who e-mailed in to pass on their best wishes; these were really appreciated.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that inspectors judged the overall effectiveness of the school to be ‘good’. In fact, the academy has been judged to be ‘good’ in all areas and this is wonderful news for our entire community.
Principal Buckley said: “We have always believed that effective learning cannot occur without excellent student behaviour and I am so proud that the behaviour and attitudes of our great students have been judged to be ‘good’, with inspectors noting that “Kirk Balk pupils behave well and work hard. Teachers expect pupils to achieve high standards. Learning is rarely disrupted.”
It was also nice to note that the inspection team observed that “pupils feel safe in school” and that “bullying is rare.”
The work that we do on student personal development was also judged to be ‘good’ with inspectors stating that “staff provide lots of activities to boost pupils’ personal development. They also praised the regular celebrations, saying: “pupils are often praised in lessons. Sometimes the whole class applauds a good answer. On ‘Proud Thursdays’, senior leaders praise pupils’ good work and their achievements.” It was also lovely to have acknowledged that “teachers offer pupils lots of extra-curricular activities.”
With respect to the quality of education, which was also judged to be ‘good’, Ofsted recognised the improvements to the curriculum, saying: “The curriculum is ambitious and teachers plan the learning well. The number of pupils choosing subjects such as modern languages has increased, and students are achieving higher standards in these subjects because of the curriculum changes that leaders have made.”
Ofsted also recognised that teachers assessed students’ understanding well, expecting students to try hard and complete tasks to a high standard; that students with SEND are able to access the full curriculum, and are well supported; and that disadvantaged students also achieve well across the curriculum, noting that: “This is because teachers and leaders have high expectations of all students.”
Leadership and management at Kirk Balk Academy was praised, with this area once again being judged to be ‘good’. Inspectors noted that Leaders provide effective support for teachers, making regular checks on how students are behaving in lessons and taking swift action to ensure students can learn in calm classrooms” and that “staff are very positive about the support leaders provide.” In addition, “teachers also appreciate that leaders remove unnecessary tasks. They say that they use the time gained to plan better lessons.”
We are genuinely delighted that the school has been judged to be ‘good’ in all areas. We have always been convinced that the children here are wonderful young people and that they deserve the very best education we can give them. This judgement reflects the ongoing support, commitment and hard work of all involved – from students and staff, to parents, governors and of course, Northern Education Trust.
Our students’ life chances are rapidly improving and impressively, Kirk Balk Academy was the highest performing school in Barnsley last year in terms of the percentage of students who achieved a strong pass in both English and Maths.
Principal Buckley would like to particularly thank all students for their keen and focussed attitudes and enthusiasm for knowledge and learning. In addition, he would also like to thank all parents, governors and staff for the incredible support which is shown to the academy every day. We will never become complacent and will continue to keep on doing all that we can to ensure that we continue to enhance the life chances of the children and young people in our care.