Education at The Grangefield Academy is underpinned by a strong sense of moral purpose
Northern Education Trust is delighted to announce that The Grangefield Academy has been judged by Ofsted to be an Outstanding school in all categories, following its inspection on 7 and 8 December 2022. This is the third academy in the trust to achieve Outstanding in all categories, under the new Ofsted framework – the others being North Shore Academy in Stockton on Tees and Dyke House Academy in Hartlepool. Previously rated Good, The Grangefield Academy has achieved its Outstanding rating thanks to the relentless dedication and commitment from senior leaders and staff in the academy and the wider Trust and the support of Trustees and governors.
Leaders’ vision of ‘outcomes focused, child centred’ is alive and well in this school
Inspectors were hugely praiseworthy about the academy after their inspection, saying that “leaders have created a community that staff and students are proud to be part of” with recognition and praise being at the heart of the school. They felt that culture of achievement and encouragement was palpable, and they recognised the high expectations that students have of each other’s behaviour and attitudes, and that everyone is treated with respect.
Students do exceptionally well here and leaders value the power of knowledge
Inspectors were extremely pleased to see that students leave the academy having achieved highly, both academically and socially, with staff expecting only the very best from students. A particular contributory factor to this is the wide and ambitious curriculum, with leaders being clear about what they what want students to learn, then using their expertise to precisely plan the curriculum delivery. Inspectors found that teachers have expert subject knowledge enabling them to “deliver the curriculum extremely well … expecting all students to engage actively in lessons” and using various innovative strategies to develop and build students’ knowledge.
The importance leaders place on reading was noted by inspectors, who found an extremely well developed reading curriculum in place which “exposes students to texts that will challenge their views and allow them to experience new genres.” Careful consideration has been given to supporting any students who find reading difficult, whilst inspiring a love of reading for all.
Praise was also given for the support provided to students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), with inspectors commenting that they are “exceptionally well supported to access the ambitious curriculum alongside their peers.” Staff receive regular training about how best to support students with SEND, and most importantly, leaders frequently check the quality of the support in place.
Clear evidence of respect and consideration between staff and students
Inspectors recognised that students conduct themselves with maturity, in the positive climate carefully cultivated by leaders. They observed teachers engaging students in conversation, and role modelling positive interactions, and that staff feel valued and extremely well supported. Leaders are visibly present, which is appreciated by both staff and students, with leaders being closely involved in all aspects of school life. This enables them to have an “exceptionally clear view of the academy’s priorities and strengths.”
Kate Wright, Principal said: “I am over the moon that Ofsted has recognised the amazing work that goes on at The Grangefield Academy. Every single member of staff, all our governors and trustees, and the leaders within trust, have the same aim – to give our students the best possible start in life, encouraging them to be aspirational and aim high. We are all still walking around with huge smiles, knowing that this is acknowledged by our Outstanding judgement, and makes us even more determined to support our wonderful students to achieve their potential.”
Rob Tarn CBE, Chief Executive said: “I am absolutely delighted that Ofsted has judged The Grangefield Academy to be Outstanding in all categories. It is a fitting testament to the incredible hard work by students and staff, and my sincere thanks go to them, trustees and governors, and the families of our students, for their commitment and support. Of the three secondary schools rated Outstanding within the Stockton area, two are now Northern Education Trust academies, the other being Northern Education Trust North Shore Academy, which rose to Outstanding in 2021 from Requires Improvement. We care passionately about the education and welfare of the children and young people in our care, and will continue with our vision to ensure every single one of our academies provides the opportunities for our students to enhance their life chances.”