Students at Freebrough Academy receive an exceptional education
Northern Education Trust is delighted to announce that Freebrough Academy has been judged by Ofsted to be an Outstanding school, following its inspection on 10 and 11 January. This is the academy’s first graded inspection since joining the trust in September 2019 and is the fourth NET secondary academy to receive an Outstanding rating alongside Dyke House, North Shore and The Grangefield Academy. This Outstanding rating could not have been achieved without the relentless hard work, commitment and determination from senior leaders and staff in the academy and the wider Trust, and the support of Trustees and governors.
Leaders set high expectations for everyone at the school
Inspectors found that leaders at all levels share an ambitious vision and are passionate about school improvement. Trustees and governors share a wide range of skills and experiences which are used to support and challenge school leaders well. This has led to a rapid, positive transformation which was well recognised by inspectors “Leaders and staff have transformed the school. Since joining the multi-academy trust the quality of education students receive has improved significantly. Furthermore, student’s personal development is a stand-out feature across the school.” Leaders have also created a strong culture of safeguarding across the academy.
The curriculum and subject content from which students learn is exceptional
Inspectors were pleased to find that leaders have established a curriculum that is ambitious and creates great opportunities for all students, regardless of background or ability. They noted how the curriculum has been devised with careful consideration and ensures students leave the academy with a wide range of knowledge and skills.
Praise was also given to the high quality of teaching provided to students, commenting that “Staff are passionate, skilled and knowledgeable…. Teachers adapt their lessons to meet the needs of all pupils well, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).” Inspectors acknowledged how staff effectively shape their lessons to ensure that students develop their knowledge and understanding, addressing any gaps in knowledge quickly.
Pupils exhibit positive attitudes to their education
Inspectors were particularly impressed by the exceptional student conduct and behaviour that exists at Freebrough Academy. Inspectors saw how students share common values of respect, tolerance and kindness towards everyone in the school community, creating a culture of support and a strong community feel, “Leaders’ commitment and success in developing students’ character and personal values are first class. Students appreciate the values of good manners, respect and putting other first. They take part in food hamper collections, fundraising and volunteering.” Students also commented to inspectors how their opinions are valued by leaders “Everyone has a voice and an opportunity to do their very best at this school.”
Inspectors were hugely praiseworthy of the academy’s success in creating a wide, rich set of experiences for students both academically and socially, commenting on the broad range of extra-curricular activities available “The opportunities to learn beyond the classroom are vast… “Students participate in wider school life with enthusiasm.”
Gemma Knox, Principal said “I am over the moon that Ofsted have recognised the incredible efforts that have been made to transform our academy. Our Outstanding rating is a true testament to the hard work of our talented and dedicated staff, students, trustees and governors who have made this possible. We have high aspirations for every single one of our students, regardless of background and ability and our wonderful staff are fully committed to improving the life chances of our formidable students. I am so pleased that Ofsted have recognised a culture of inclusivity and support at Freebrough, and the high quality of education we provide. It is an exciting time to be part of Freebrough Academy and I believe we will continue to go from strength to strength.”
Michael Robson, Senior Executive Principal said “Freebrough’s Outstanding rating is incredible. I am immensely proud of our staff and students and thrilled that the hard work and dedication made to transforming the academy has been recognised by Ofsted. Well done Freebrough Academy!”
Rob Tarn CBE, Chief Executive said “I am absolutely delighted that Ofsted has judged Freebrough Academy to be Outstanding on their first graded inspection since its inception in 2019. In 2018 Freebrough Academy was subject to special measures. A 2019 monitoring visit indicated that behaviour was often unsafe and that in some ways the school had regressed. In 2019 only 26% of children attained a grade 5 in English and maths and progress 8 was almost -1. The school joined our trust that same year. This year 60% of children attained 5+ in both, with a positive P8 and dramatically improving outcomes in all subjects, forecast to rise even further this year. As one of the country’s most improved schools we are immensely proud of all involved as Freebrough becomes the fourth trust secondary academy in the Tees valley to be judged Outstanding in the last two years! I would also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our phenomenal staff, students and their families, trustees, governors for their continuous commitment and support, which have all contributed to this magnificent achievement.”